Functional 3D Brain Tissue Successfully Grown From Stem Cells The ultimate goal of stem cell research is to create functional replica tissues and organs for use as replacements in times of injury or disease, or for use in the development of drugs and other therapeutic techniques. Getting tissues to grow in the lab in three dimensions has been challenging across the board, but this is especially problematic for structures in the nervous system. Beyond getting the neurons to grow at all, they must be connected in a very particular manner in order to function. A major step forward has been taken on this front by a team from RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan, who state in Cell Reports that they have successfully grown 3D functional brain tissue that has even grown with proper patterning. The brain tissues were grown from human embryonic stem cells, and growth factors were added in series throughout development.
Designer Psychologies: Moving beyond neurotypicality Designer psychologies, or customized cognitive processing modalities, describes the potential for future individuals to selectively alter the specific and unique ways in which they take in, analyze and perceive the world. Cognitive modalities are the psychological frameworks that allow for person-to-person variances in subjectivity, including such things as emotional responses, social engagement, aesthetics and prioritization. The day is coming when we'll be able to decide for ourselves how it is exactly that we want to process our world. Most of us have the so-called neurotypical cognitive response. We know, however, mostly through our interactions with those outside of the cognitive norm, that neurotypicality is not the be-all and end-all of psychological experience.
Toyota robot can pick up after people, help the sick Toyota's new robot that glides around like R2-D2 is devoted to a single task: picking things up. HSR, short for "human support robot," comes with a single mechanical arm that can grasp objects of various shapes and sizes and also pick up smaller items with a tiny suction cup. It doesn't have other tricks in its repertoire, except for a computer panel on its head for surfing the Internet.
DARPA Program Seeks to Use Brain Implants to Control Mental Illness Researcher Jose Carmena has worked for years training macaque monkeys to move computer cursors and robotic limbs with their minds. He does so by implanting electrodes into their brains to monitor neural activity. Now, as part of a sweeping $70 million program funded by the U.S. military, Carmena has a new goal: to use brain implants to read, and then control, the emotions of mentally ill people. This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, awarded two large contracts to Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, to create electrical brain implants capable of treating seven psychiatric conditions, including addiction, depression, and borderline personality disorder. The project builds on expanding knowledge about how the brain works; the development of microlectronic systems that can fit in the body; and substantial evidence that thoughts and actions can be altered with well-placed electrical impulses to the brain.
9 Ways Humanity Could Bring About Its Own Destruction It all started with David Chalmer's various thought experiments concerning qualia and something called philosophical zombies: A p-zombie is essentially a creature that in all ways appears to be conscious, but isn't really conscious. Chalmers proposed a thought experiment where the inputs an outputs of a growing number of neurons in a person's skull are gradually routed into a growing collection of artificial neurons. The person is given a switch that allows them a to switch back and forth between their natural neurons and the synthetic ones. The person can then try switching back and forth at any level of replacement. Less than 1 percent, 10 percent, 20, percent, 50, 70, 90, whatever.
A robot has just passed a classic self-awareness test for the first time A researcher at Ransselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US has given three Nao robots an updated version of the classic 'wise men puzzle' self-awareness test... and one of them has managed to pass. In the classic test, a hypothetical King calls forward the three wisest men in the country and puts either a white or a blue hat on their heads. They can all see each other's hats, but not their own, and they're not allowed to talk to each other. The King promises that at least one of them is wearing a blue hat, and that the contest is fair, meaning that none of them have access to any information that the others don't. Whoever is smart enough to work out which colour hat they're wearing using that limited information will become the King's new advisor. In this updated AI version, the robots are each given a 'pill' (which is actually a tap on the head, because, you know, robots can't swallow).
Tiny Scallop-Like Robots Designed To Deliver Drugs Through The Bloodstream To Treat Diseases - Futurism Synopsis Researchers in Germany have developed a "scallop-inspired" tiny robot small enough to travel through the bloodstream, and it doesn't require an engine or batteries Summary The idea for the new robot was inspired by the scallop, which moves around by opening and closing a pair of shells. The robot moves through a non-Newtonian fluid by performing what looks like horizontal jumping jacksThe tiny bots can be printed on a 3D printer, and many of them could be directed at once with a single magnetThe team doesn’t have any particular applications in mind for their robots, but it’s clear that they could be used to send medication to single spot, such as to kill tumors
25 years later: Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto" It has been 25 years since Donna Haraway published her seminal essay, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century."While largely intended as metaphorical discourse, a number of feminists and futurists, including myself, were inspired by a more literal and technoprogressive interpretation of Haraway's message. The piece was a major influence on my conception of postgenderist theory, inspiring such articles as "Overcoming Gender" and "Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary" (PDF) (the latter of which I co-authored with James Hughes).
Computer-human hybrids could be best at scanning for danger Humans are good at spotting anomalies (Image: Dado Ruvic / Reuters) IN A world of algorithms, there are still a few places where humans reign supreme. At a US government lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico, researchers aren’t interested in replacing our brains with fancy neural networks or machine learning software. Instead, they are using eye-tracking and brain analysis to create a system that lets our natural intelligence shine. “It’s a human and machine data system that collectively makes everything better,” says Laura McNamara, an organisational anthropologist at Sandia National Laboratories. “Human beings are supremely good at pattern recognition, but what overwhelms that is having way too much data.” Cover Charge: New Spray-On Battery Could Convert Any Object into an Electricity Storage Device Perhaps someday you'll need to go to the store because you ran out of cathode paint. A team of researchers has just announced a new paint-on battery design. The technique could change the way batteries are produced and eliminate restrictions on the surfaces used for energy storage. The paint-on battery, like all lithium ion batteries, consists of five layers: a positive current collector, a cathode that attracts positively charged ions, an ion-conducting separator, an anode to attract negative ions, and a negative current collector. For each layer, the challenge was to find a way to mix the electrically conductive material with various polymers to create a paint that could be sprayed onto surfaces. Neelam Singh, a member of the team of materials scientists and chemists from Rice University in Houston and Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and lead author of the paper, says, "It was really exciting to find out.
We're Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction - Ross Andersen Unthinkable as it may be, humanity, every last person, could someday be wiped from the face of the Earth. We have learned to worry about asteroids and supervolcanoes, but the more-likely scenario, according to Nick Bostrom, a professor of philosophy at Oxford, is that we humans will destroy ourselves. Bostrom, who directs Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, has argued over the course of several papers that human extinction risks are poorly understood and, worse still, severely underestimated by society. Some of these existential risks are fairly well known, especially the natural ones. But others are obscure or even exotic.