Technology. Is. Amazing. Seriously, the things we are able to achieve through the power of technology, in all its forms, never ceases to amaze me. My favourite kind of technology is that which makes the world a better place, here are a few that I found…
Imagine a world where crushing genetic diseases like Huntington's and cystic fibrosis can be cured. Thanks to Crispr, genetic disease may be eliminated in the future.
CRISPR Cas-9 (an abbreviation of its full name "Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats" (try saying that when you’ve had a few gins) is a gene-splicing technology that is able to find and remove mutated sections of DNA. Once this material is eliminated, Crispr technology can replace the mutated sections with non-mutated variants.
As a result, Crispr has the power to permanently eliminate certain types of genetic diseases from blood lines. The technology has already been used to eliminate cancer in some patients and whilst there are limitations, the highly precise technology could transform cancer treatments, particularly immunotherapy.
Not only can it help human health, it can also assist agricultural applications and even help us to make better biofuels.
3D printing is used in a variety of industries including automotive, engineering, architecture, education and aviation. However, one of the best areas that 3D printing is making a difference is in prosthetics, especially for those who have lost limbs during conflicts.
When a person loses a limb, the trauma and grief include the fear that they’ll never again be able to do the things that they loved to do before. Even if they can afford a good prosthetic, it’s hard to match a natural limb when it comes to the variety of tasks that can be performed.
Some organisations, such as the 3D Medical Applications Center, are dedicated to using 3D printing to create prosthetic limbs, particularly veterans with lost limbs. 3D-printed prosthetic limbs can offer something more specialised than an average artificial limb, they can help the person to carry on doing their favourite tasks and activities.
3D printing offers a more bespoke and personalised artificial limb that can be specifically designed for a particular movement. For example, an artificial hand or arm can be designed to hold a fishing rod better, or sportswear can be adapted so that the person can still get the sensory satisfaction that they had before.
Most of the time we take these things for granted, but someone coming back from a warzone without a limb might wonder how they are going to carry on with their daily lives. 3D printing is making what might seem impossible to an amputee, possible.
GANs or Duelling AI
A great mantra for machine learning and deep learning is “practice makes perfect”. It’s generally agreed that quality data training will make a machine perfect. Well, not perfect, but a fair but more than us mere mortals I would say.
It’s simple really: if you want to make your AI smarter, have it ‘duel’ with another AI. One example would be digital images: One AI attempts to create a realistic image, and another AI attempts to decide whether the image is real or artificial.
This is just one case where AIs can ‘duel’, any domain can be modelled by computers: voices, video or whatever you might want to work with. The concept is called "generative adversarial networks" (GANs). If deep learning is the next big thing causing up a storm, then GANs are the lightning bolt ready to strike.
Speedy and independent "self-improvement" of AIs through duelling may lead to breakthroughs in medicine, technology, transportation or other important areas of life in the future. The possibilities have never looked so exciting!
Using technology to make the world a better place is, in my opinion, the best possible outcome we can achieve in the future. To find out how the power of AI can be harnessed to help the environment, read one of our latest blogs here.
Posted by Kate Auchterlonie