Geekly Update - 04 January 2024 (robots, jackhammers, and space modems)

Category: Tech-News

Will ESP help you carry on a conversation with Fluffy or Fido? Is 2024 the year when you become a Robot Supervisor? Will genetic manipulation save us from AI? Get answers... don't miss today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

An article in Spectrum IEEE says that 2024 will be the year when some well-funded companies will be deploying humanoid robots in pilot projects to see if they are really up to the task of replacing humans for mostly dull, repetitive, and stressful tasks. But don't worry, humans, says Damion Shelton, CEO of Agility Robotics. “What we’re going to have is a shifting of the human workforce into a more supervisory role.”

According to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cannabis Use Disorder is a growing concern. Researchers say the disorder affects a significant portion of Americans, and is often accompanied by other psychiatric conditions such as major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder. Young adults ages 18 to 25 are disproportionately affected, with more than 14 percent of those in this age group having cannabis use disorder.

SpaceX has begun to deploy satellites that can act as cellular towers in space. This will allow currently available smartphones to connect to satellites for texting, voice calls and internet access. SpaceX is partnering with T-Mobile to enable texting from space this year, with voice and data coming in 2025, subject to regulartory approvals.

Geekly Update 01-04-2024

Calling Dr. Doolittle... The goal of the non-profit Earth Species Project (ESP) is to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to understand animal communications. ESP is collaborating with over 40 research initiatives to enhance communication technology with animals, to detect and classify animal vocalizations. In addition to gaining a more comprehensive understanding of animal behavior, the project seeks to aid global conservation efforts of endangered species.

An article at The Verge says "2024 could mark the end of the road for passwords." I doubt that passwords will disappear in my lifetime, but passkeys, which rely on biometrics or hardware keys, are gaining popularity. My smartphone offers to let me unlock the screen or login to some websites with a face match or swipe of my fingerprint, but if I restart my phone, I'm prompted for a password before the biometric option is allowed.

Here's a long, rambling article from Gene Smith, a guy who believes we could tweak "a few hundred genes" in the human brain to significantly increase adult intelligence, cure depression, or maybe prevent Alzheimer's disease. All he needs is a lab, some people who actually understand biology and genetics, and a million or so dollars. Smith feels it's imperative to get this done before AI destroys the world.

Scientists at Rice University, Texas A&M University, and the University of Texas have discovered new way to destroy cancer cells using "molecular jackhammers," a type of vibrating molecule capable of rupturing the membranes of cancer cells when stimulated by near-infrared light. In laboratory tests on cancer cells, the molecular jackhammer technique showed 99 percent efficacy in killing these cells. In tests on mice with melanoma tumors, half of the animals became cancer-free.

Flip phones are pricier and more fragile than standard smart phones, but they have some usability advantages. Check out CNet's roundup of the best flip phones for 2024. Samsung, Motorola and Oppo models made the list, but the rumored iPhone Flip is still far off.

SciTech Daily says AI is benefitting lesser-skilled workers more than experienced employees. But according to a study by the University of Rochester, it's their own damn fault, for not trusting the science.

And finally, this week's Just Here For The Headline: French physicists developed a bubble that didn't burst for more than a year.

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Most recent comments on "Geekly Update - 04 January 2024 (robots, jackhammers, and space modems)"

Posted by:

Brian B
04 Jan 2024

"So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure,
How amazingly unlikely is your birth;
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space,
'Cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!"
Monty Python

Posted by:

Paul S
04 Jan 2024

"In tests on mice with melanoma tumors, half of the animals became cancer-free."

-- The other one died???

Mice testing details were not described in the summary article Bob referenced. The Nature Chemistry article is behind a pay wall.

The "...99% efficacy in obliterating these cells." was from "... laboratory tests on cultured cancer cells."

But we can hope . . .

Posted by:

05 Jan 2024

Is that a joke? Gene Smith is going to work on some genes?

Posted by:

wild bill
05 Jan 2024

I am not sure how testing for depression, PTSD or anxiety in the American population could distinguish anything other than being American these days.

Posted by:

Frank Foster
06 Jan 2024

French physicists have nothing on our Fed when it comes to making long-lasting bubbles. The Fed made one that lasted 40 years.

Posted by:

17 Jan 2024

Earth Species Project: Now THIS sounds like a good place to use AI, since it's basically all Pattern Recognition.

Gene Smith: He's not wrong.

Posted by:

18 Feb 2024

@Paul S - here's a link to the full text of the preprint of the Nature Chemistry article:

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