Device brings Silicon Computing Power to Brain Research

Posted by Peter Rudin on 3. April 2020 in News No Comments

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a new device for connecting the brain directly to silicon-based technologies. While brain-machine interface devices already exist, this latest device can record more data while being less intrusive than existing options.

“Electrical activity is one of the highest-resolution ways of looking at brain activity,” said Nick Melosh, professor at Stanford and co-senior author of the paper. “With this microwire array, we can see what’s happening on the single-neuron level.”

If applied broadly, this technology will greatly excel our understanding of brain function in health and disease states.

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From Mad Cows to the Coronavirus in 30 Years

Posted by Peter Rudin on 20. March 2020 in News No Comments

The BSE Mad Cow disease marked, what one expert later called, “an unprecedented breakdown of communication between British citizens and their public institutions.”

About 30 years later a majority of Americans (53%) recently told a YouGov poll that they do not trust Trump to tell the truth about the Corona virus.

But the lack of trust in the government is only one side of the equation: As the Trump administration first stalled, then blamed, then lied, and then doubled back on itself when faced with the imminence of the pandemic, both institutions and activist networks at the grassroots of American society have now begun to engage their skills and resources to battle the crisis.

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AI as Tool to Fight the Coronavirus

Posted by Peter Rudin on 13. March 2020 in News No Comments

As governments and health organizations scramble to contain the spread of coronavirus, they need all the help they can get, including from artificial intelligence.

Though current AI technologies are far from replicating human intelligence, they are proving to be very helpful in tracking the outbreak, diagnosing patients, disinfecting areas, and speeding up the process of finding a cure for COVID-19.

DeepMind, the AI research lab, recently declared that it has used deep learning to find new information about the structure of proteins associated with COVID-19. Every day saved in finding the coronavirus vaccine can save hundreds—or thousands—of lives.

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IBI: A Global Partnership to Decode the Brain

Posted by Peter Rudin on 28. February 2020 in News No Comments

First envisioned through a series of discussions on the “grand challenges” in neuroscience, the International Brain Initiative (IBI) has now been established to coordinate efforts across existing and emerging national and regional brain initiatives.

Next to brain-health issues, the IBI seeks to promote understanding the human brain and its massive computational and information storage capacities with the goal of unlocking the mechanisms underlying cognition, emotion, and creativity.

The IBI provides a platform for exploring new models of international collaboration between scientists, private and public funding bodies, industry partners, and government-related agencies.

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Predict Depression Using Your Phone

Posted by Peter Rudin on 14. February 2020 in News No Comments

Although the first anti-depressants were developed more than 70 years ago based on brain chemistry, we still don’t really understand the disease. Some people get better; many don’t.

To Silicon Valley, the answer to solving depression is data. After all, most anti-depressant trials only recruit up to thousands of people. With digital health, anyone with a wrist wearable or smartphone could potentially contribute in the largest studies ever attempted by mankind.

Will the data one day be used in a dystopian-like society, where insurance companies track their customers’ mental health status or people receive unwanted ads tailored to mood downswings?

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Why startups are raising millions to build AI avatars!

Posted by Peter Rudin on 31. January 2020 in News No Comments

The race to build lifelike digital avatars has become serious business. Earlier this month, Soul Machines raised $40 million in a Series B round.

At stake is the ability to replace (or at least replicate) the work of actual people on a grand scale. If you believe this future is inevitable as many of these companies do, now’s the time to start showing off what it might look like, even if the results are far from perfect.

The human face, with all of its many complexities, remains the ideal surface on which to flex one’s AI animation muscle, which may explain why so many digital humans are now emerging.

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Embodied AI: Genetic vs. Experience Based Intelligence

Posted by Peter Rudin on 17. January 2020 in News No Comments

In a recent debate about the future of AI between Gary Marcus, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at NYU and Yoshua Bengio, Professor at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Montréal, the question came up of how much information the human genome can encode.

This is a hot topic in AI these days, as people debate how much prior knowledge needs to be pre-wired into AI systems, in order to get them to achieve something more akin to natural intelligence.

Making a true AI may require building something that has to do more than solve some specific computational problems.  It must be embodied.

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Do You Want to Create an AI-Copy of Yourself?

Posted by Peter Rudin on 3. January 2020 in News No Comments

“We each have more potential than ever to solve humanity’s biggest challenges and leave meaningful legacies through the power of AI. But our AI must be controlled and owned by individuals – not a few corporations”.

“By making it possible for everyone to have their own AI, we’re putting control back in the hands of individuals and unlocking the limits of humanity”.

The potential impact of these statements, posted on the Website of the AI-Foundation, can be experienced by an App that is being released in 2020. Eventually, the Foundation plans to release a tool for anyone to record and build their own AI.

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How AI Can Transform Psychiatry

Posted by Peter Rudin on 20. December 2019 in News 1 Comment

The rapid embracing of artificial intelligence in psychiatry has a flavor of being the current “wild west”; a multidisciplinary approach that is very technical and complex yet seems to produce findings that resonate.

Explainability, transparency, and generalizability are critical for establishing the viability of using artificial intelligence in psychiatry. Defining these three issues helps towards building a framework to ensure trustworthiness.

“We found that the computer’s AI models can be at least as accurate as clinicians,” says Peter Foltz, a researcher from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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How Does Language Emerge?

Posted by Peter Rudin on 6. December 2019 in News No Comments

How did the almost 6,000 languages of the world come into being? Researchers have tried to simulate the process of developing a new communication system in an experiment — with surprising results.

People create reference to actions and objects via signs that resemble things. The prerequisite for this is a common ground of experience between interaction partners. Partners also coordinate by imitating each other such that they use the same signs for the same things.

The studies demonstrate that communication cannot be reduced to words alone. When there is no way to use conventional spoken language, people find other ways to get their message across.

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