The STEM Six: the best of STEM this week (August 31 2018)
By Carl Jackson
Ever dreamt of travelling through time or having your own bionic implants? There are a couple of stories in this week’s round-up you’re going to be particularly interested in.
Here are a few of the stories from science, technology, engineering and mathematics that caught our attention over the last week.
1. Physicists say they’ve come up with a mathematical model for a viable time machine
Everyone’s fantasised about hopping in a time machine, whether to go and walk among the dinosaurs or simply stop yourself that time you waved to someone in the street before realising they weren’t who you thought they were. According to University of British Columbia’s Ben Tippett and University of Maryland’s David Tsang, travelling through time is in fact mathematically possible. Don’t get too excited though; there are a lot of practical things to work out before you start hopping through time.
2. Citizens, not technology, the key to government systems transformation
There’s a strong push to introducing greater automation and Artificial Intelligence to upgrade government department and agency systems, but this push should always be lead by the needs of citizens. The University of Melbourne’s Professor Marcello La Rosa outlines his challenge to governments — rather than requiring citizens to mold to established processes, start taking a wider view and see where they interact with services.
3. 25 machine learning startups to watch in 2018
In the world of startups not every idea is created equal, and while there’s no shortage of new startups popping up each day some businesses have much more potential than others. This useful roundup puts together 25 of the best startups in the machine learning space so you can see some of the exciting and innovative companies worth watching in the future.
4. The technology getting under your skin: Swedish biohacker says bio-implants movement growing globally
Would you have a small microchip inserted under your skin to make your life more convenient? Swedish biohacker Hannes Sjöblad argues that in the future this technology will replace everything from your credit card to your house key.
5. Deepfakes for dancing
Face-swapping deepfakes (where AI is used to manipulate videos by swapping one person’s face on to another’s head) have received a lot of recent attention, but now there’s a new type of deepfake — dancing deepfakes. Researchers at UC Berkley have developed a system capable of taking an individual’s movements and synthesising video of the target individual based on the stick figure movements of the source. Possibly a useful technology for certain world leaders receiving a bit of attention for their awkward dancing lately.
6. Smart membranes the key to capturing carbon
New membrane materials could hold the key to mitigating climate change according to the University of Melbourne’s Dr Colin Scholes. New technology such as this is vital to meeting emissions targets, argues Dr Scholes.