Tech News Review Week 25 January-1 February 2021, by Stelios Iordanis

Robotics

We’re teaching robots to evolve autonomously – so they can adapt to life alone on distant planets

https://theconversation.com/were-teaching-robots-to-evolve-autonomously-so-they-can-adapt-to-life-alone-on-distant-planets-153159

A “RoboFab” to fully automate manufacturing where a robotic arm attaches wires, sensors and other “organs” chosen by evolution to the robot’s 3D-printed chassis with a toolbox of robot limbs and organs, could be a useful concept on earth as well and signal the end of human labor, once and for all.

 

Biotech

The Military Secretly Built An “Artificial Brain” Called Sentient

https://futurism.com/the-byte/military-artificial-brain-sentient

A slightly controversial nature of this technology is irrefutable, however, it is still hard to imagine that such a brain would have true consciousness and that we should thus have bioethics objections against such research.

 

Scientists Made a Biohybrid Nose Using Cells From Mosquitoes

https://singularityhub.com/2021/01/26/scientists-made-a-biohybrid-nose-using-cells-from-mosquitoes/

This is one of the most benign applications in biotechnology, as even smell capabilities may degrade from various causes, including covid-19, or other viruses and the damage can even be permanent, therefore bionic smell restoration would be a significant breakthrough.

 

How an Israeli Startup Is Using AI to Help People Make Babies

https://singularityhub.com/2021/01/27/how-an-israeli-startup-is-using-ai-to-help-people-make-babies/

AI will not only revolutionize gynecology but it is bound to boost a new generation of eugenics, which will emerge this decade, even if the EU prohibits it, in country jurisdictions that are more progressive.

 

Turning on the Switch for Plasticity in the Human Brain – Neuroscience News

https://neurosciencenews.com/glutamate-synaptic-plasticity-17639/

Alzheimer’s Treatments Showing Early Promise

https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-2021/new-drugs-for-alzheimers-disease.html

Hundreds of millions of people, from athletes to veterans and elderly people, have brain damage and neurodegenerative disease problems, therefore more resources for related research and treatments are crucial.

 

Electronics

Terahertz accelerates beyond 5G towards 6G

https://techxplore.com/news/2021-02-terahertz-5g-6g.html

The impact of in 300-GHz bands on human health poses serious hazards, a concern that started decades ago and proved not to be significant, may turn out to be true in higher frequencies.

 

AI

California to license driverless cars operated by Artificial Intelligence | California | thecentersquare.com

https://www.thecentersquare.com/california/california-to-license-driverless-cars-operated-by-artificial-intelligence/article_a25c4cfa-632d-11eb-b49f-a73ee94666ed.html

In order to qualify for a driverless testing permit, a company must meet various technical guidelines, and financial terms, however this development may be controversial given the immaturity of the underlying technology. California is the epicenter of this technology and it is politically hard to stop such accelerated risky progress.

 

Quantum Computing

Physicists create tunable superconductivity in twisted graphene ‘nanosandwich’

https://phys.org/news/2021-02-physicists-tunable-superconductivity-graphene-nanosandwich.amp

If the scientist could make these structures as they are now, at industrial scale, they could then produce superconducting bits for quantum computing, or cryogenic superconductive electronics, photodetectors, etc. however it is still to be determined how to create and operate billions of these elements simultaneously.

 

BMW takes first steps into the quantum computing revolution – CNET

https://www.cnet.com/news/bmw-takes-first-steps-into-the-quantum-computing-revolution/

Microsoft claims breakthrough in quantum computing with Gooseberry chip and cryo-computing core

https://www.computing.co.uk/news/4026415/microsoft-claims-breakthrough-quantum-computing-gooseberry-chip-cryo-computing-core

It is still too early to be certain that quantum computing will indeed beat conventional computers in optimization, but it is still very important that private companies are investing heavily in scientific progress like this.

 

Scientists Want to Fight Climate Change by Blocking the Sun With Dust

https://singularityhub.com/2021/01/28/scientists-want-to-fight-climate-change-by-spraying-dust-into-space-to-block-the-sun/

The effect of the dust particles in the lungs is very worrying if this project goes forth.

 

Energy

New Fast-Charging, Low-Cost Batteries Could Be a Game-Changer for Electric Cars

https://singularityhub.com/2021/01/25/new-fast-charging-low-cost-batteries-could-be-a-game-changer-for-electric-cars/

A battery like this could be charged with 250-mile range to 80 percent in just 10 minutes using existing fast chargers, which makes electric cars highly competitive, indeed.

 

What Is Magnetized Target Fusion? – Nuclear Fusion Timeline

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a35276502/magnetized-target-fusion-technology-jeff-bezos/

Nuclear fusion research should diversify in a multitude of different approaches and architecture in order to reach a mature state within the next decades.