This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Oct 10)

ROBOTICS: Honda Using Experimental New ASIMO for Disaster Response Research
Evan Ackerman and Erico Guizzo | IEEE Spectrum
“During the Fukushima crisis in Japan, the lack of Japanese robots that were available to help out was notable. There was some question as to why Honda didn’t just send ASIMO (arguably one of the most sophisticated and capable humanoid robots in existence) to help out. The simple answer is that ASIMO wouldn’t be able to handle that kind (or any kind) of extreme environment.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: The Next 10 Years Of Automation And What It Might Mean For The Job Market
Daniel Faggella | TechCrunch
“Though it may be possible that machine learning will aid in the detection of cancer or other maladies in medical imaging, these technologies don’t seem likely to put doctors out of a job. Long story short, if a large portion of your time at work involves tinkering with spreadsheets, there is likely to be software that will perform your job faster and cheaper than human labor.”

MEDICINE: DARPA Wants to Jolt the Nervous System with Electricity, Lasers, Sound Waves, and Magnets
Eliza Strickland | IEEE Spectrum
“DARPA announced the first seven grants under the ElectRx program. The scientists chosen are doing fairly fundamental research, because we’re still in the early days of electric medicine; they’ll investigate mechanisms by which to stimulate the nerves, and map nerve pathways that respond to that stimulation.”

NANOTECHNOLOGY: How Humans Could Become ‘Our Own Walking Hard Drives’
Gabe Stutman | Motherboard
“‘I think that humans and machines are going to become increasingly linked over time, to the point where it’s difficult to distinguish an organic organism from a synthetic one,’ Watson said during an interview with biohacker Teemu Arina. ‘Where it really doesn’t matter whether one organism is synthetic or organic at all, we just treat them all the same.'”

GENETICS: Boom in gene-editing studies amid ethics debate over its use
Lauran Neergaard |
“If ever deemed safe enough to try in pregnancy, that type of gene change could be passed on to later generations. Then there are questions about designer babies, altered for other reasons than preventing disease.”

3D PRINTING: What 3D Printing Can’t Do
Tina Amirtha | Fast Company
“Outside of the prototyping phase, only certain industries, like medical and aerospace, have been able to derive value from 3-D printed products; they thrive on customized, one-off parts. Consumer electronics businesses, on the other hand, are confronting 3-D printing’s limits now that they are transitioning from prototyping and beginning to use the technology for on-demand production.”

FOOD is the Global Grand Challenge
for the Month of October

“Access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life for all people at all times.”
from Singularity University’s 2015 Impact Report

AUTOMATION: The World’s First Robot Farm Requires No (Human) Farmers At All
Dan Nosowitz | Modern Farmer
“The systems are capable of monitoring growth, checking humidity and temperature, raising and lowering lights, and adjusting nutrient levels. It is, or will be soon, a pretty remarkable thing: a seed to a mature crop with nothing more than the press of a button.”

INNOVATION: The State of Agtech—Then and Now
Robyn Metcalfe | TechCrunch
“We have reached a tipping point of sorts, and there is a new sense of urgency. Arable land and water are in short supply. Climate change is having a big impact on crop variability and yield. The global food system will need to be capable of producing food for a projected 9 billion people by 2050. That’s no small mandate.”

ALTERNATIVE SOURCES: The Most Sustainable Way To Raise Seafood Might Be On Land
Lois Parshley | Popular Science
“Brown raises her Pacific white shrimp indoors in large recirculating plastic tanks that rely on bacteria to consume waste. The closed-loop system is surprisingly low-tech: The tanks are essentially swimming pools with air pumped in to keep the bacteria in suspension…The tanks don’t require filters to keep the water clean, and that clean water removes the need for costly antibiotics.”

Read more at Popular Science, which is featuring a great series this month on the Future of Food

Image Credit: Shutterstock

David J. Hill
David J. Hill
David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.
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