ROBOTICS: How Emotion Research Is Pulling Robots Out of the Uncanny Valley and Into Our Lives
Selena Larson | The Daily Dot
"There are a number of reasons why the uncanny valley exists, ranging from media portrayal of anthropomorphic robots, to the simple fact that they often remind us of our own mortality. And then there's the idea that the lack of emotions and empathy in humanoid robots serve as a reminder that despite looking like a living thing, they are not one."
SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: CRISPR Is Going to Revolutionize Our Food System—and Start a New War Over GMOs
Adele Peters | Fast Company
"At DuPont, researchers are working on CRISPR/Cas9-edited versions of commodity crops such as corn, soybeans, canola, rice, and wheat, which they expect to have on the market in 5 to 10 years. The plants have new traits like drought resistance and higher yields—both critical features for farmers trying to deal with a changing climate and the fact that the world population is growing faster than our food supply."
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: In Two Moves, AlphaGo and Lee Sedol Redefined the Future
Cade Meltz | Wired
"This isn’t human versus machine. It’s human and machine. Move 37 was beyond what any of us could fathom. But then came Move 78. And we have to ask: If Lee Sedol hadn’t played those first three games against AlphaGo, would he have found God’s Touch? The machine that defeated him had also helped him find the way."
SPACE: Growing Up With the Space Race
Roger Easton Jr. | Motherboard
"Vanguard made scientific history too—besides being the first satellite to generate electrical power from the Sun via solar cells, tracking of its orbit led to the discovery of an asymmetry in the shape of the Earth, which was often described as 'pear shaped.'”
INTERNET OF THINGS: Why the Internet of Things Might Never Speak a Common Language
Jared Newman | Fast Company
"The ambitious goal of a common Internet of Things language is starting to seem like a Tower of Babel. Over the last year, tech titans like Apple, Google, and Amazon have built up their own ways of connecting to vast numbers of smart home products...As these platforms gain traction, is it too late for a unified language to take hold?"
FUTURE OF LEARNING: Learn Different: Silicon Valley Disrupts Education
Rebecca Mead | The New Yorker
"Students at AltSchool are issued a tablet in pre-K and switch to a laptop in later years. (For now, AltSchool ends at the equivalent of eighth grade.) When I visited a mixed classroom for second and third graders, most of the children were sunk into their laptops. All were engaged in bespoke activities that had been assigned to them through a 'playlist'—software that displays a series of digital 'cards' containing instructions for a task to be completed."
VIRTUAL REALITY: Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine
Industrial Light and Magic's xLab VR project
Image credit: Shutterstock.com