Friday Futures: head transplants, nanorobots, mosquitos and Mars

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Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of  The Future from around the web. This week: head transplants; swearing is great for pain relief; nanorobots on the production line; Singularities and the Martian landscape.

If you had a head transplant, would you still be you?

Sergio Canavero is adamant that human head transplants will work. In fact, he claims that he could complete such a transplant within a year, and he says that he has the science to back it up. But does he? Read more…

Here’s why swearing is great for pain relief

For a very long time, conventional wisdom held that swearing was not a useful response to pain. Many psychologists believed that swearing would actually make pain feel worse, thanks to a cognitive distortion known as catastrophizing. Read more…

Now nanorobots can move as fast as assembly line workers

Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have developed a novel electric propulsion technology for nanorobots. It allows molecular machines to move 100,000 times faster than with biochemical processes used to date. According to the researchers, this makes nanobots fast enough to do assembly line work in molecular factories. Read more…

Beware, mosquitoes remember your smell

Your grandmother’s insistence that you receive more bug bites because you’re ‘sweeter’ may not be that far-fetched after all, according to pioneering research from Virginia Tech scientists. Read more…

Now you can sequence DNA with a handheld device

Scientists reported this week that they have sequenced and assembled the human genome using a pocket-sized sequencer for the first time. The researchers accomplished their feat using the MinION nanopore sequencer, reading almost a hundred billion base pairs of data and analyzing huge chunks of DNA. Read more…

How far off is the Singularity (when AI takes over from humans)

The term “artificial intelligence” was only just coined about 60 years ago, but today, we have no shortage of experts pondering the future of AI. Chief amongst the topics considered is the technological singularity, a moment when machines reach a level of intelligence that exceeds that of humans. Read more…

Meanwhile, here’s a video of the Martian landscape

After months of steady progress, NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached the top of Vera Rubin Ridge. And like the good mountain climber that it is, the rover took the opportunity to look around and bask in the view from up high. Watch the Martian landscape…

(Compiled by Alex Leslie; Edited by John C. Tanner)

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