The ethical consequences of immortality technology

From Immortality has gone secular. Unhooked from the realm of gods and angels, it’s now the subject of serious investment – both intellectual and financial – by philosophers, scientists and the Silicon Valley set. Several hundred people have already chosen to be ‘cryopreserved’ in preference to simply dying, as they wait for science to catch up and give them a second shot at life. But if we treat death as a problem, what are the ethical implications of the highly speculative ‘solutions’ being mooted?

Why has North Korea suddenly shown success in its missile tests?

From New York Times: Why has North Korea suddenly shown success in its missile tests? We discuss a surprising discovery. The United States recently noticed something unusual in North Korea’s weapons program: Its missiles started to work. That alarming development has been well documented. But little has been said about why.

Tesla is bleeding talent from its Autopilot division

From Self-driving cars are coming, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been pushing his engineers hard to make sure that Tesla stays on the cutting edge. Indeed, in October 2016 he promised that the latest version of the Model S and Model X—cars with Tesla's new "Hardware 2" suite of cameras and radar—would become capable of full self-driving in the future with just a software update.

But according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, some Tesla engineers are skeptical that Tesla can keep this promise any time soon. Disagreement about deadlines—as well as "design and marketing decisions"—has caused turmoil on the Autopilot team.
"In recent months," the Journal reports, the Autopilot team "has lost at least 10 engineers and four top managers." That included the director of the Autopilot team, "who lasted less than six months before leaving in June."

After its breakup with MobileEye, Tesla developed its own "Hardware 2" sensor package for use on the Model X and Model S. The big question is whether Tesla can keep its promise to enable full self-driving capabilities with these vehicles—and if these vehicles will actually be safer than human drivers.

That could be challenging because Tesla is attempting to develop self-driving technology that relies only on cameras and radar. Other companies, including Waymo, have built their self-driving technology around a lidar sensor. Lidar provides high-resolution 3D information about the surrounding environment, but a single lidar sensor can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The emerging science of computational psychiatry

The emerging science of computational psychiatry

From MIT Tech Review: Psychiatry, the study and prevention of mental disorders, is currently undergoing a quiet revolution. For decades, even centuries, this discipline has been based largely on subjective observation. Large-scale studies have been hampered by the difficulty of objectively assessing human behavior and comparing it with a well-established norm. Just as tricky, there are few well-founded models of neural circuitry or brain biochemistry, and it is difficult to link this science with real-world behavior. That has begun to change thanks to the emerging discipline of computational psychiatry, which uses powerful data analysis, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to tease apart the underlying factors behind extreme and unusual behaviors.

Read more here.

An interview with Trevor Hastie

From Trevor Hastie is one of the world's leading statisticians best known for his contributions in the area of applied statistics, including machine learning, data mining, and bioinformatics.

His main research concerns statistical learning and data mining, statistical computing and bioinformatics. He has made numerous contributions to these disciplines, many with longtime collaborator Robert Tibshirani and also with John Chambers. His many books include the bestsellers, The Elements of Statistical Learning with Robert Tibshirani and Jerome Friedman and Statistical Models in S with John Chambers.

First annual report on DeepMind Health

First annual report on DeepMind Health

From : Today, a panel of Independent Reviewers has published its first annual report into DeepMind Health. As I wrote in the foreword to their report (written, I add, before I’d read it): “We chose people who had specific expertise but also reputations for integrity, who did not hold back, who could be angry and critical… That’s good for us and makes us better.” The panel is made up of experts in their fields who were given full access to our work to carry out their review - a very unusual process for a tech company, but one that we hope will significantly increase scrutiny of our work and ultimately help us get it right. We are grateful for their and honesty, thoughtfulness, and the time they have spent on this complex task. You can read their full report here.

Toyota’s robotic home helper

From MIT Tech review: : A machine that can fetch a drink of water and open doors has made one paralyzed man’s life a little easier. Romulo Camargo is a U.S. Army veteran who was paralyzed below the neck during an ambush in Afghanistan. Unable to perform everyday tasks for himself, he’s recently received a little help from a robot. As The Verge notes, Toyota’s Human Support Robot has already been tested in hospitals in Japan, where the company plans to build and sell machines to help care for an aging population. But Camargo is the first person in North America to have one of the firm’s devices roam about his private home, which is a challenging environment for a robot tasked with handling everyday objects.


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