08 – Cooperating with robots, counting 37 billion cells and VR-filming with Google

This is the first English Wunderding Letter! And even though it is slightly shorter than its German equivalent, we aim to introduce you to some of the most interesting stories and articles in AI (Artificial Intelligence), VR (Virtual Reality) and Genome editing of the past week.
Also, this is the first Wunderding Letter with a quiz –  a great way to test your own knowledge and to see what you’ve actually kept in mind of the articles that you might have merely skimmed. So, read the letter first and then check what you hopefully have learned.


The NYT article “Learning to love our Robot Co-Workers” is my recommendation of the week, as cooperation will become the unspectacular reality of the coming robot revolution. In line with this, I would like to recommend a second article which actually doesn’t fit into the category AI or Robotic. It however covers the effects of the coming robotic revolution in a very intriguing way: What are we going to do if we no longer have to/need to work?

The start-up GiveDirectly gives poor Kenyans an unconditional basic income. And this might work better than any other form of development aid.

Learning to Love Our Robot Co-Workers /The NewYorkTimes / Author: Kim Tingley
The Future of Not Working / The NewYorkTimes / Author: Annie Lowrey

Further AI articles:

  • Google’s parent company Alphabet together with Perspective has released an automatic detector for “toxic” content. At the moment, the machine-learning tool can still be fooled rather easily. A good example which shows how hard it momentarily still is for AI to grasp the meaning and context of language.
    It’s Easy to Slip Toxic Language Past Alphabet’s Toxic-Comment Detector /MIT Technology Review / Author: David Auerbach
  • An artificial synapse which doesn’t only simulate its human models but is actually built out of organic elements and was constructed for neuronal networks if 10-times more energy-efficient than the best computer chips.
    Stanford researchers create a high-performance, low-energy artificial synapse for neural network computing / Stanford News
  • How humans can solve local problems with the help of AI. Federico Antoni, an early-stage investor from Mexico on his view on AI as a tool for local business opportunities and start-ups.
    TechCrunch Network / Not another AI post / Author: Federico Antoni
  • John Launchbury, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O), explains his perspective on AI. Apocalyptic scenes of a super-intelligence aren’t endorsed by Launchbury.
    What AI Can and Can’t Do: DARPA’s Realistic View /RoboticsTrends / Author: Steve Crowe
  • DNA cannot only store our abilities, you can also use it for calculating, dor example you can calculate the square root of the numbers 0 to 16. DNA computing as a special form of parallel computing could one day also be considered for the AI problem, as the calculation processes could be conducted parallel by millions or billions of molecules.
    Computing with Biochemical Circuits Made Easy / Caltech


An international group of scientists is aiming to, within the next 5 year, make a Cell Atlas of the human body – thus a catalog which shows all these 37.2 billion cells with their molecular signatures and a sort of body-own zip code. This is supposed to become reality amongst others thanks to big names such as the MIT, Harvard and Marc Zuckerberg.
The Cell Atlas / MIT Technology Review / Author: Steve Connor

Further GENE articles:


Jessica Brillhart  “Principal filmmaker for VR at Google” talks about her view on VR in an interview.
Imagining the Future of VR at Google / MIT Technology Review / Author: Jason Pontin
If you’d like to read more by Jessica Brillhart, you can do so on her Medium page.

And on Thursday Sarah went to the Broadcast Video Expo in London and here is our article about VR Storytelling and Story-Doing.

Further VR/AR articles:

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