history
How a US Military Contractor Wanted to Use Jetpacks in the Vietnam War

When you think of jetpacks, your first thought is probably an image of some fun, carefree piece of pop culture like The Jetsons or James Bond. But jetpacks were serious business for the US military in the 1960s. And, believe it or not, there were plenty of futuristic ideas that involved deploying jetpacks on the battlefield in Vietnam. Read More >>

robots
Boston Dynamics Says It Can Build 1,000 Robot Dogs a Year By Mid-2019

Boston Dynamics is preparing to build its terrifying army of robot dogs, according to a Saturday report in Inverse that the company has set a target date of July 2019 as the time it will be ready to manufacture 1,000 of its compact SpotMini models annually. Read More >>

science
My 15 Favourite Science and Tech Books for Smart Beach Reading

Summer is upon us, which means it’s time to put together a reading list, whether it’s for the beach, your cottage, or the hammock in your garden. Here are 15 science and technology books that will keep your nerdy brains engaged and titillated. Read More >>

science
‘Electronic Skin’ Allows User of Prosthetic Hand to Feel Pain

Current prosthetic limbs aren’t yet capable of transmitting complex sensations like texture or pain to the user, but a recent breakthrough by scientists at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in which a synthetic layer of skin on an artificial hand transmitted feelings of pain directly to the user, takes us one step closer to that goal. Read More >>

robots
Boston Dynamics Wants to Sell You a Piece of The Impending Robot Apocalypse

Boston Dynamics, the makers of the very GIFable robots that will inevitably turn on us all, is preparing to unleash the first horseman of the robot apocalypse on the public. Starting in 2019, the company will make its SpotMini robot commercially available, the company revealed Friday. Read More >>

robots
Oh Great, Boston Dynamics Has Unleashed Its Atlas Robot to the Great Outdoors

Boston Dynamics, the company voted most likely to spawn the Robopocalypse, has released a pair of new videos showcasing the latest abilities of its synthetic creations. Read More >>

science
Artificial Genome Scientists Want to Build Human Cells That Are Impervious to Viruses

Two years ago, a consortium of scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs announced a plan to synthesise an artificial human genome from scratch—an extremely ambitious endeavour that’s struggled to secure funding. Project organisers have now disclosed details of a scaled-down version of the venture, but with a goal that’s still quite audacious: creating human cells that are invulnerable to infections. Read More >>

science
Scientists Kept Disembodied Pig Brains ‘Alive’ for 36 Hours – and It’s Testing Our Conceptions of Death

A neuroscientist from Yale University is claiming to have developed a technique that preserves the brain tissue of pigs for an extended period following decapitation. The brains are apparently not conscious, but the new technique is raising a number of important ethical issues. Read More >>

futurism
China’s Ambitious New Rain-Making System Would Be as Big as Alaska

China’s state-owned aerospace corporation is embarking on a plan that would see tens of thousands of fuel-burning, cloud-seeding chambers dispersed across the Tibetan Plateau in an attempt to increase rainfall in the region. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
AI Could Dramatically Increase Risk of Nuclear War by 2040, Says New Report

The common conception of a technologically enabled apocalypse foresees a powerful artificial intelligence that, either deliberately or by accident, destroys human civilisation. But as a new report from the RAND Corporation points out, the reality may be far subtler: As AI slowly erodes the foundations that made the Cold War possible, we may find ourselves hurtling towards all-out nuclear war. Read More >>

robots
Watch Two Robots Nimbly—and Very Calmly–Assemble an Ikea Chair

Having to assemble furniture from Ikea is an endless exercise in frustration, so how cool would it be to have robots that could do the job? Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have now taken us a significant step closer to achieving that dream. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
Government Proposes Five Basic Principles to Keep Humans Safe From AI

A new report by the Lords Select Committee claims that Britain is in a strong position to be a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence. But to get there—and to keep AI safe and ethical—tech firms should follow the Committee’s newly proposed “AI Code.” Read More >>

robots
Experts Sign Open Letter Slamming Europe’s Proposal to Recognise Robots as Legal Persons

Over 150 experts in AI, robotics, commerce, law, and ethics from 14 countries have signed an open letter denouncing the European Parliament’s proposal to grant personhood status to intelligent machines. The EU says the measure will make it easier to figure out who’s liable when robots screw up or go rogue, but critics say it’s too early to consider robots as persons—and that the law will let manufacturers off the liability hook. Read More >>

facebook
Mark Zuckerberg Is Deluded If He Thinks AI Can Solve Facebook’s Hate Speech Problem

Artificial intelligence is all the rage these days, so naturally we want to throw it at all of our problems. Mark Zuckerberg’s recent comment that Facebook won’t have effective tools to filter hate speech for another “five to 10 years” seemed both dismissive and uninspiring. No doubt, it was classic Silicon Valley speak for “we haven’t got a clue,” but Zuck wasn’t being completely unreasonable. Read More >>

futurism
New Brain Preservation Technique Could Be a Path to Mind Uploading

Using a technique developed three years ago, researchers from MIT and 21st Century Medicine have shown that it’s possible to preserve the microscopic structures contained within a large mammalian brain. The breakthrough means scientists now have the means to store and study samples of the human brain over longer timescales—but the method could eventually, maybe, be used to resurrect the dead. Read More >>