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Trends With Benefits


Aug 19, 2016

Uber puts self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh; Hyper Loop One takes another step toward becoming a reality; Elon Musk has new plans to teach AI how to communicate; A new octopus-shaped robot could be the origin story for sentinels from The Matrix.

Our latest weekly episode of Trends with Benefits features Ryan Waniata, Brad Bourque, Greg Nibler and special guest Kielen King. Kielen is a tech-enthusiast and genre-busting musician. Be sure to check out his epic Sci-Fi/Hip-Hop series of albums called Star Pilot!

Our topics this week:

  • Uber launches autonomous rides: Uber has confirmed it is launching self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, as early as this year. While they will have drivers on board to monitor activity for safety, the goal is to replace humans altogether. However, despite how awkward some Uber rides can be, would you hop into a car with no one behind the wheel? In addition, they have acquired Otto, a company that is working on a self-driving kit, to possibly retrofit commercial trucks.

  • Hyper Loop One looks to the Middle East: The dream of the Hyper Loop is alive in Dubai, as the company has signed a partnership with UAE port and terminal operator, DP World. While starting with a study, this is the first step toward implementing a commercial version of the groundbreaking technology.

  • Teaching AI via Reddit: OpenAI is a nonprofit Artificial Intelligence agency, backed by Elon Musk. Their ambitious plan is to use a DGX-1 supercomputer developed by Nvidia for a unique purpose. They will be feeding it message threads from Reddit in an attempt to teach it how to conduct “polite” conversations on it's own. This is a truly ambitious plan, but we have to wonder; is Reddit really where you think AI will learn polite speech?

  • An Octopus-shaped Robot: The Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies is re-imagining what we would view as a “conventional” robot. They believe the soft bodies of living organisms are the ideal model, since they provide more ways to exploit and interact with the environment around it. The result is a robot that appears to be very functional, while still creating ample nightmare fuel.

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