This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through July 2)

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We Asked GPT-3 to Write an Academic Paper About Itself—Then We Tried to Get It Published
Almira Osmanovic Thunström | Scientific American
“On a rainy afternoon earlier this year, I logged in to my OpenAI account and typed a simple instruction for the company’s artificial intelligence algorithm, GPT-3: Write an academic thesis in 500 words about GPT-3 and add scientific references and citations inside the text. As it started to generate text, I stood in awe. Here was novel content written in academic language, with well-grounded references cited in the right places and in relation to the right context. It looked like any other introduction to a fairly good scientific publication.”


We’re Training AI Twice as Fast This Year as Last
Samuel K. Moore | IEEE Spectrum
“According to the best measures we’ve got, a set of benchmarks called MLPerf, machine-learning systems can be trained nearly twice as quickly as they could last year. It’s a figure that outstrips Moore’s Law, but also one we’ve come to expect. Most of the gain is thanks to software and systems innovations, but this year also gave the first peek at what some new processors, notably from Graphcore and Intel subsidiary Habana Labs, can do.”


Mojo’s Smart Contact Lenses Begin In-Eye Testing
Scott Stein | CNET
“The lenses enable eye-controlled head-up displays to appear to hover in-air, approaching a type of monochromatic Google Glass-like AR interface without glasses. The company’s only doing tests with one lens in one eye for the moment, although the next goal is to have two lenses worn at once for 3D visual overlays.”


CRISPR, 10 Years On: Learning to Rewrite the Code of Life
Carl Zimmer | The New York Times
i‘I remember thinking very clearly, when we publish this paper, it’s like firing the starting gun at a race,’ she said. In just a decade, CRISPR has become one of the most celebrated inventions in modern biology. It is swiftly changing how medical researchers study diseases: Cancer biologists are using the method to discover hidden vulnerabilities of tumor cells. Doctors are using CRISPR to edit genes that cause hereditary diseases. ‘The era of human gene editing isn’t coming,’ said David Liu, a biologist at Harvard University. ‘It’s here.’i


Protein Blobs Linked to Alzheimer’s Affect Aging in All Cells
Vivianne Callier | Quanta Magazine
“The aging brains of people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are suffused with telltale aggregates of proteins in or around their neurons. …But a recent study by a team of Stanford University researchers suggests that protein aggregation may be a universal phenomenon in aging cells and could be involved in many more diseases of aging than was suspected.”


Cruise Robotaxis Blocked Traffic for Hours on This San Francisco Street
Rebecca Bellan | TechCrunch
“More than a half dozen Cruise robotaxis stopped operating and sat in a street in San Francisco late Tuesday night, blocking traffic for a couple of hours until employees arrived and manually moved the autonomous vehicles. …The mishap comes less than a week after Cruise launched its first fully driverless, commercial robotaxi service in the city.”


NASA’s DART Mission Will Totally Deform Dimorphos Asteroid
Passant Rabie | Gizmodo
“NASA’s DART spacecraft is currently on its way to a binary asteroid system known as Didymos and will essentially crash into one tiny asteroid to test out a deflection method. But rather than leaving behind an impact crater as initially intended, the DART spacecraft may actually deform the mini-moon, making it nearly unrecognizable.”


The Government Is Developing a Solar Geoengineering Research Plan
James Temple | MIT Technology Review
“The White House is developing a research plan that would guide and set standards for how scientists study one of the more controversial ways of  counteracting climate change: solar geoengineering. The basic idea is that we might be able to deliberately tweak the climate system in ways that release more heat into space, cooling an otherwise warming planet. The move, which has not been previously reported on, marks the first federally coordinated US effort of this kind.”


This Warehouse Robot Reads Human Body Language to Be a Better Coworker
Will Knight | Wired
“Rodney Brooks knows a fair bit about robots. Besides being a pioneer of academic robotics research, he has founded companies that have given the world the robot vacuum cleaner, the bomb disposal bot, and a factory robot anyone can program. Now Brooks wants to introduce another revolutionary type of robot helper—a mobile warehouse robot with the ability to read human body language to tell what workers around it are doing.”


World’s Oldest Trees Reveal the Largest Solar Storm in History
Ethan Siegel | Big Think
“One of the greatest threats to all of humanity’s electronic and electrified infrastructure is a solar storm, which has the potential to cause a multi-trillion dollar disaster. Currently, we have no sufficient protections in place to defend against an event such as the great storm of 1859: known as the Carrington event. But in the years 774-775, an even larger cosmic event occurred, striking Earth with a fury never seen before. After a 10 year investigation, we’ve found that the Sun is even more violent—and more threatening—than we’d ever imagined.”


By Exploring Virtual Worlds, AI Learns in New Ways
Allison Whitten | Quanta Magazine
“Whether they exist in simulations or the real world, embodied AI agents are learning more like us, on tasks that are more like the ones we do every day. …’I see a convergence of deep learning, robotic learning, vision and also even language,’ [Fei-Fei] Li said. ‘And now I think through this moonshot or North Star towards embodied AI, we’re going to learn the foundational technology of intelligence, or AI, that can really lead to major breakthroughs.’i

Image Credit: Maxim Berg / Unsplash

* This article was originally published at Singularity Hub

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