Scientists use stem cells from frogs to build first living robots

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Researchers foresee myriad benefits for humanity, but also acknowledge ethical issues

Be warned. If the rise of the robots comes to pass, the apocalypse may be a more squelchy affair than science fiction writers have prepared us for.

Researchers in the US have created the first living machines by assembling cells from African clawed frogs into tiny robots that move around under their own steam.

One of the most successful creations has two stumpy legs that propel it along on its “chest”. Another has a hole in the middle that researchers turned into a pouch so it could shimmy around with miniature payloads.

“These are entirely new lifeforms. They have never before existed on Earth,” said Michael Levin, the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “They are living, programmable organisms.”

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“Father of Artificial Intelligence” Predicts Singularity is 30 Years Away

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The “Father of Artificial Intelligence” Says Singularity Is 30 Years Away

All evidence points to the fact that the singularity is coming (regardless of which futurist you believe).

You’ve probably been told that the singularity is coming. It is that long-awaited point in time — likely, a point in our very near future — when advances in artificial intelligence lead to the creation of a machine (a technological form of life?) smarter than humans.

If Ray Kurzweil is to be believed, the singularity will happen in 2045. If we throw our hats in with Louis Rosenberg, then the day will be arriving a little sooner, likely sometime in 2030. MIT’s Patrick Winston would have you believe that it will likely be a little closer to Kurzweil’s prediction, though he puts the date at 2040, specifically.

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Scientists created bacteria with a synthetic genome. Is this artificial life?

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A colored scanning electron micrograph of the bacteria E. coli. Scientists in Britain created bacteria with “recoded” DNA.

In a milestone for synthetic biology, colonies of E. coli thrive with DNA constructed from scratch by humans, not nature.

Scientists have created a living organism whose DNA is entirely human-made — perhaps a new form of life, experts said, and a milestone in the field of synthetic biology.

Researchers at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Britain reported on Wednesday that they had rewritten the DNA of the bacteria Escherichia coli, fashioning a synthetic genome four times larger and far more complex than any previously created.

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Synthetic organisms are about to challenge what ‘alive’ really means

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We need to begin a serious debate about whether artificially evolved humans are our future, and if we should put an end to these experiments before it is too late.

In 2016, Craig Venter and his team at Synthetic Genomics announced that they had created a lifeform called JCVI-syn3.0, whose genome consisted of only 473 genes. This stripped-down organism was a significant breakthrough in the development of artificial life as it enabled us to understand more fully what individual genes do. (In the case of JCVI-syn3.0, most of them were used to create RNA and proteins, preserve genetic fidelity during reproduction and create the cell membrane. The functions of about a third remain a mystery.)

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Artificial Life Created in a Laboratory for the First Time

Dr Craig Venter, a multi-millionaire pioneer in genetics, and his team have managed to make a completely new “synthetic” life form from a mix of chemicals.  They manufactured a new chromosome from artificial DNA in a test tube, then transferred it into an empty cell and watched it multiply – the very definition of being alive.

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