What caught my attention this week – 02.01.19

Evolution hasn’t stopped now that we’re here. We’re entering an era where we may take evolution into our own hands and steer it the way we’d like it to go.

This is the reality of the transhuman technologies being developed all around us. Brain-computer interfaces, implantable RFID chips, and exoskeletons are just a few transhuman terms that evoke this fear of the unknown.

I’ll admit, even Boy Future gets anxiety thinking about transhumanism, but I find comfort and solace in knowing that other people feel the exact same way as I do.

In a way, it’s no different than the people who hack their diets to achieve extreme physical results. We augment our bodies in many ways. Merging technology with the human form is just going to be another option.

This is what caught my attention in technology:

Beyond bionics: how prosthetics are redefining humanity

Evolution hasn’t stopped just because we are here. We are probably becoming the first species that can influence its own evolution. Modern advances in the world of prosthetics are changing lives across the globe. Where once there was a stigma, amputees are now empowered and enhanced. What further advances are around the corner? What ethical battles lie ahead?

Watch the full video on the future of augmented humans below:

AI will soon decode people’s thoughts

Neural networks have been used to turn words that a human has heard into intelligible, recognizable speech. It could be a step toward technology that can one day decode people’s thoughts. Thanks to fMRI scanning, we’ve known for decades that when people speak, or hear others, it activates specific parts of their brain. However, it’s proved hugely challenging to translate thoughts into words. A team from Columbia University has developed a system that combines deep learning with a speech synthesizer to do just that.

Read the experiment results here

Fighting loneliness: Why isn’t there a pill for that?

Millions of years of evolution have shaped us into creatures who need social bonds in the same way that we need food and water. Today, loneliness elevates our risk of developing a range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cognitive decline, and metastatic cancer. It also weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections. If there are pharmacological treatments for other social pains like depression and anxiety, why not loneliness?

Read the rest of the story here

Prisons are quietly building databases of voice prints

Roughly six months ago at New York’s Sing Sing prison, John Dukes says he was brought out with cellmates to meet a corrections counselor. He recalls her giving him a paper with some phrases and offering him a strange choice: He could go up to the phone and utter the phrases that an automated voice would ask him to read, or he could choose not to and lose his phone access altogether… His audio sample was being “enrolled” into a new voice surveillance system.

Read the full story on voice print databases here

What is quantum computing and where will it take us?

One of the most promising applications of quantum computers is for simulating the behavior of matter down to the molecular level. Pharmaceutical companies are leveraging them to analyze and compare compounds that could lead to the creation of new drugs. Some researchers also think the machines could be used to accelerate artificial intelligence.

Read the entire article here

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What caught my attention this week – 01.25.19

What caught my attention this week – 01.25.19