With a few more genetic tweaks, the resulting hybrid protein, dubbed Magneto, proved to be viable and responsive to magnetic fields in cells. When the researchers moved a magnet near the cells carrying the hybrid, Magneto jerked, opening the ion channel. This caused an influx of ions into the cells, sparking an electrical change that could fire off brain signals.
When the researchers put the gene for Magneto in zebrafish, a model organism for brain development, they found that the hybrid could alter complex behaviors. Using a genetic switch, the researchers made Magneto active in the zebrafish nerve cells that are involved in sensing touch. And, when they added a magnetic field, the fish upped the amount of time they coiled their tails, a touch-induced escape response.
The researchers next tested Magneto in mice, a mammalian model. By making Magneto active in cells that are responsive to dopamine—a neurotransmitter critical for reward-motivation pathways in the brain—the researchers could charm the mice into preferring an area of a chamber with a magnetic field.
Source: Magnetic mind control works in live animals, makes mice happy | Ars Technica
Technology is moving faster than our ability to understand it, and there is no consensus on what is ethical. It isn’t just the lawmakers who are not well-informed, the originators of the technologies themselves don’t understand the full ramifications of what they are creating. They may take strong positions today based on their emotions and financial interests, but as they learn more, they too will change their views.
Source: As Technology Barrels Ahead—Will Ethics Get Left in the Dust? – Singularity HUB
“That dude works really really hard,” he said about The Rock. “This is what this guy does; this is his livelihood, the fact that he looks like this and trains like this every day of his life while making his movies, being on set 14 hours — that kind of discipline to me is absolutely amazing. To me this is less about ‘Can I look like him?’ and more about ‘Can I work as hard as this dude?’”
Source: Here’s What Happened When Some Dude Ate Like The Rock For A Month | FiveThirtyEight
These findings from Yu and colleagues suggest that optimal intelligence may not reside exclusively in man or machine, but in the integration of the two. By harnessing the speed and logic of artificial computing systems, we may be able to augment the already remarkable cognitive abilities of biological neural systems, including the human brain. The prospect of computer-assisted human intelligence raises obvious concerns over the safety and ethics of their application. Are there conditions under which a human “cyborg” could put humans at risk? Is altering human behavior with a machine tantamount to “playing god” and a dangerous overreach of our powers?
Source: The supremely intelligent rat-cyborg | PLOS Neuroscience Community
[ … ] military officials are looking hard at the possibility of developing robotic systems that are capable of acting on their own if remote control is cut off and decisions must be made on when to deploy a weapon—whether it’s an armed drone dropping a bomb or launching a missile or a ground robot firing weapons. “These are hard questions, and a lot of people outside of us tech guys are thinking about it, talking about it, engaging in what we can and can’t do,” she said. “That’s important. We need to understand and know that it doesn’t necessarily need to happen, but we also have to put the options on the table because we are the worst-case scenario guys.”
Source: DOD officials say autonomous killing machines deserve a look | Ars Technica
We must recognize that computer science is fundamental. Every student in the United States should learn about algorithms, how the Internet works or how to make an app. But more important, computer science teaches kids to be problem solvers and innovators. Helping students develop these skills will benefit them in every subject, in the classroom and beyond.
Source: Computer science is the key to America’s skills crisis | TechCrunch
Our electronic devices—or at least many of the processes that occur within them—are literally parts of our minds. And our consideration of Apple’s and the FBI’s arguments ought to flow from that fact.
This may sound ridiculous. But in an important co-authored essay and then in a book, the philosopher Andy Clark argued for something called the extended mind hypothesis. The basic idea was that we have no reason to treat the brain alone as the only place where mental processes can occur.
Source: Apple and the FBI think iPhones are safes. A philosopher explains what they really are.
A new report written by a former Pentagon official who helped establish United States policy on autonomous weapons argues that such weapons could be uncontrollable in real-world environments where they are subject to design failure as well as hacking, spoofing and manipulation by adversaries.
Source: Report Cites Dangers of Autonomous Weapons