This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through March 26)

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Meta’s Yann LeCun Strives for Human-Level AI
Ben Dickson | VentureBeat
“What is the next step toward bridging the gap between natural and artificial intelligence? …[Chief AI scientist at Meta, Yann LeCun], has been thinking and talking about self-supervised and unsupervised learning for years. But as his research and the fields of AI and neuroscience have progressed, his vision has converged around several promising concepts and trends. In a recent event held by Meta AI, LeCun discussed possible paths toward human-level AI, challenges that remain and the impact of advances in AI.”


A Locked-in Man Has Been Able to Communicate in Sentences by Thought Alone
Jessica Hamzelou | MIT Technology Review
“A completely paralyzed man has been able to communicate entire sentences using a device that records his brain activity. The man was able to train his mind to use the device, which was implanted in his brain, to ask for massages, soup, and beer, and to watch films with his son. It is the first time a completely locked-in person—someone who is conscious and cognitively able but completely paralyzed—has been able to communicate in this way, say the researchers behind the work.”


Unity’s Impressive New ‘Enemies’ Short Shows Off a Remarkably Realistic Digital Human
Jay Peters | The Verge
“The video opens in an ornate and stunningly realistic room before zooming in on a mysterious woman sitting in front of a chessboard. The woman is rendered in remarkable detail—her hair shifts in subtle ways as she moves her head, her eyes look around the room and then at a chess bishop in a surprisingly natural way, and the final close-up shot of her face looks almost as if it’s one of an actual human being.”


Snap Buys Brain-Computer Interface Startup for Future AR Glasses
Alex Heath | The Verge
“Snap said on Wednesday that it has acquired NextMind, the Paris-based neurotech startup behind a headband that lets the wearer control aspects of a computer—like aiming a gun in a video game or unlocking the lock screen of an iPad—with their thoughts. The idea is that NextMind’s technology will eventually be incorporated into future versions of Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses.”


Puzzling Out the Drone War Over Ukraine
Vikram Mittal | IEEE Spectrum
“To date, Russia has had little to show for a $9 billion investment in UAVs. …There are even signs that in the drone war, the Ukrainians have an edge over the Russians. How could the drone capabilities of these two militaries have experienced such differing fortunes over the same period? The answer lies in a combination of trade embargoes, tech development, and the rising importance of countermeasures.”


Nvidia Shows Off AI Model That Turns a Few Dozen Snapshots Into a 3D-Rendered Scene
James Vincent | The Verge
“Researchers have been improving this sort of 2D-to-3D model for a couple of years now, adding more detail to finished renders and increasing rendering speed. Nvidia says its new Instant NeRF model is one of the fastest yet developed and reduces rendering time from a few minutes to a process that is finished ‘almost instantly.’i


A Birth Control Pill for Men Could Start Human Trials This Year
Ed Cara | Gizmodo
“Scientists are still racing to create the first male contraceptive that isn’t a condom or surgery. In new preliminary research, a team says they’ve developed a non-hormonal form of male birth control, one that kept lab mice sterile for four to six weeks with seemingly no side effects. Early human trials of the pill are expected to begin by the end of the year.”


MIT’s New Simulation Reveals Crucial Insights Into the Birth of the Universe
Andrew Tarantola | Engadget
“It boasts higher detail at a larger volume than any previous simulation thanks to a novel algorithm tracking light’s interaction with gas that dovetails with separate galaxy formation and cosmic dust behavior models. …Powering this simulation is the SuperMUC-NG supercomputer in Garching, Germany. Its 60,000 computing cores run the equivalent of 30 million CPU hours in parallel to crunch the numbers needed by Thesan.”


How Shame Defines Our Digital Lives
Cathy O’Neil | Wired
“In the pre-internet age, an embarrassing moment like a fall in the soda aisle might have generated some jokes among friends and neighbors. But today a single slip can send the networked shame machinery into overdrive, turning it into a global event. Egged on by algorithms, millions of us participate in these dramas, providing the tech giants with free labor. The activity they market has an outsize role in defining the lives we lead and the society we create.”

Image Credit: Erik Škof / Unsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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