Disrupting Reproduction: Two New Advances in Tech-Assisted Baby-Making

Last week, news of CRISPR-engineered babies launched a firestorm of debate on the future of human reproduction: Is it safe? Is it ethical? Do we now have the ability to “play God”? But even as scientists, ethicists, and the general public struggled with the implications of a fundamentally-altered reproductive future, other teams released results that […] […]

How DeepMind’s AlphaZero Mastered Complex Games With No Human Input

It’s the end of an era in AI research. For decades complex board games like Go, chess, and shogi have been seen as the leading yardstick for machine intelligence. DeepMind’s latest program can master all three by simply playing itself, suggesting we need to set bigger challenges for AI. Machines first started chipping away at […] […]

Are We Made of Memories? A Researcher’s Quest to Record His Life

How well do you remember what happened last week? Two weeks ago? Five weeks from last Tuesday? Unless you are meticulous in recording the events of your life, or something notable happened on a given date, your memories will likely be hazy at best. How many hours of your life, ignored, seep down into some […] […]

Switching to Electric Vehicles Could Save the US Billions, But Timing Is Everything

Today, less than two percent of the vehicles Americans buy are electric. But within the next three decades, some automotive industry experts expect electric vehicles could make up the majority of US and global car sales. All told, American drivers log about 3 trillion miles per year, consuming more than 170 billion gallons of gasoline […] […]

A Smartphone App and 3D Printed Attachment for HIV Detection

There are more than 1.1 million people in the US living with HIV, and 1 in 7 of them don’t even know they have it. Young people are the most likely to be unaware of their infections. Globally, there were approximately 36.9 million people living with HIV in 2017, an estimated 1.8 million of them […] […]

The Promise—and Complications—of Domestic Robots

Every year, for just a few days in a major city, a small team of roboticists get to live the dream: ordering around their own personal robot butlers. In carefully-constructed replicas of a restaurant scene or a domestic setting, these robots perform any number of simple algorithmic tasks. “Get the can of beans from the […] […]

Research in Zero Gravity: 6 Cool Projects on the International Space Station

It’s been 20 years since the first components of the International Space Station (ISS) were launched from Earth. Orbiting the planet every 90 minutes at about 250 miles above Earth’s surface, the ISS has been the cornerstone of NASA’s mission for much of these last two decades. The ISS isn’t orbiting without a purpose. It’s […] […]

CRISPR Babies: Stumbling Over Mankind’s Next Giant Leap

During the last weekend in November, MIT Tech Review broke a world-changing story: the birth of the first children to have undergone gene editing as embryos. The Associated Press swiftly followed with a longer report on the small Chinese clinical trial in which seven couples, all including HIV-positive men, donated eggs and sperm that Dr. […] […]

Welcome to the CRISPR Baby World—Here’s What You Should Know

Last week, the gene editing world was hit by news the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. In a video on YouTube, Dr. Jiankui He at Southern University of Science and Technology in China revealed that the first CRISPR babies—a pair of twin girls named Nana and Lulu—had been born. Engineered to resist HIV infections, the […] […]

Britain Is Developing an AI-Powered Predictive Policing System

The tantalizing prospect of predicting crime before it happens has got law enforcement agencies excited about AI. Most efforts so far have focused on forecasting where and when crime will happen, but now British police want to predict who will perpetrate it. The idea is reminiscent of sci-fi classic Minority Report, where clairvoyant “precogs” were […] […]