This Week’s Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through November 5)


Having AIs Train Robot Dogs to Balance Makes Them a Lot Cheaper
Jeremy Tsu | New Scientist
“An AI has been used to train a small robot dog to perform cleaning tasks. The hardware cost a total of $6300, which is less than a tenth of the price tag of the well-known robot dogs built by US tech firm Boston Dynamics. This type of self-taught robotic body coordination relies on an AI training regimen that could pave the way for affordable robot dogs and possibly even humanoid robots that could be used as helpers in homes and workplaces.”


Google Plans Giant AI Language Model Supporting World’s 1,000 Most Spoken Languages
James Vincent | The Verge
i‘The way we get to 1,000 languages is not by building 1,000 different models. Languages are like organisms, they’ve evolved from one another and they have certain similarities. And we can find some pretty spectacular advances in what we call zero-shot learning when we incorporate data from a new language into our 1,000 language model and get the ability to translate [what it’s learned] from a high-resource language to a low-resource language,’ says [Zoubin Ghahramani, vice president of research at Google AI].


Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Cut the Insect’s Number by 96 Percent
Miriam Fauzia | New Scientist
“Although not a permanent fix, periodically releasing such mosquitoes could reduce the burden of infections including dengue, malaria, and Zika. …Using traps to monitor the mosquitoes, the researchers saw the gene persisted in around half of the surviving male offspring of the modified mosquitoes, but disappeared after about six generations, over roughly six months.”


SpaceX Is Now Building a Raptor Engine a Day, NASA Says
Eric Berger | Ars Technica
i‘SpaceX has moved very quickly on development,’ [NASA’s Mark] Kirasich said about Raptor. ‘We’ve seen them manufacture what was called Raptor 1.0. They have since upgraded to Raptor 2.0 that first of all increases performance and thrust and secondly reduces the amount of parts, reducing the amount of time to manufacture and test. They build these things very fast. Their goal was seven engines a week, and they hit that about a quarter ago. So they are now building seven engines a week.’i


Tiny Solid-State LIDAR Device Can 3D-Map a Full 180-Degree Field of View
Loz Blain | New Atlas
“Researchers in South Korea have developed an ultra-small, ultra-thin LiDAR device that splits a single laser beam into 10,000 points covering an unprecedented 180-degree field of view. It’s capable of 3D depth-mapping an entire hemisphere of vision in a single shot.”


The Most Vulnerable Place on the Internet
Matt Burgess | Wired
“The global network of underwater cables forms a large part of the internet’s backbone, carrying the majority of data around the world and eventually linking up to the networks that power cell towers and Wi-Fi connections. …Sixteen of these submarine cables—which are often no thicker than a hosepipe and are vulnerable to damage from ships’ anchors and earthquakes—pass 1,200 miles through the Red Sea before they hop over land in Egypt and get to the Mediterranean Sea, connecting Europe to Asia.”


The Weird-Looking, Fuel-Efficient Planes You Could Be Flying In One Day
Doug Cameron | The Wall Street Journal
“Aircraft designers have coalesced around three main designs, which people involved in the latest contest said are expected to feature prominently in the entries. They carry exotic names—such as transonic truss-braced wings, blended-wing bodies and double bubbles—that reflect how far removed they are from most of the conventional planes that now carry commercial passengers worldwide.”


Scientists Increasingly Can’t Explain How AI Works
Chloe Xiang | Motherboard
i‘If all we have is a “black box,” it is impossible to understand causes of failure and improve system safety,’ Roman V. Yampolskiy, a professor of computer science at the University of Louisville, wrote in his paper titled “Unexplainability and Incomprehensibility of Artificial Intelligence.” ‘Additionally, if we grow accustomed to accepting AI’s answers without an explanation, essentially treating it as an Oracle system, we would not be able to tell if it begins providing wrong or manipulative answers’i.”

Image Credit: D21_Gallery / Unsplash

Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub Staff
Singularity Hub chronicles technological progress by highlighting the breakthroughs and issues shaping the future as well as supporting a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented people who want to change the world.
Don't miss a trend
Get Hub delivered to your inbox