Friday Futures: rats driving cars, self healing slime

rat car
Image credit | Argument

Welcome to Friday Futures, our weekly guide to the latest visions of The Future from around the web. This week: rats that drive cars; self healing slime with 720 sexes; retina on a chip; alien worlds visible; sentient brains in labs; gas waterfalls; light speed explained and the real dangers of AI.

Rats can drive (tiny) cars – of course

A team of scientists at the University of Richmond, Virginia have taught rats how to drive tiny cars around a track, New Scientist reports — a bold step in the study of animal cognition. Read more…

A blob of slime with 720 sexes – obviously

It’s official: Humans are canceled. If we’re not intent on slowly destroying the planet, then we’re getting busy being downright nasty to each other online. But in a world increasingly devoid of human role models, there are some unlikely sources of inspiration out there. Read more…

Scientists develop retina on a chip to study eye disease

Scientists have announced their development of a retina-on-a-chip, which combines human cells with an artificial tissue-like system. The developers say their model can be used to test the effects of drugs on the retina more effectively. The research was conducted by Eberhard Karls University Tübingen and the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, both Germany. Read more…

This telescope can see alien worlds
Could brains grown in labs be sentient?

Some neuroscientists working with lab-grown human “mini brains” worry they could be experiencing an endless horror, with a conscious existence with no body. At least, that’s the warning that a group of Green Neuroscience Lab researchers plan to deliver during a national meeting for the Society for Neuroscience on Monday. Read more…

Gas waterfalls reveal infant planets

For the first time, astronomers have witnessed 3D motions of gas in a planet-forming disk. At three locations in the disk around a young star called HD 163296, gas is flowing like a waterfall into gaps that are most likely caused by planets in formation. These gas flows have long been predicted and would directly influence the chemical composition of planet atmospheres. Read more…

Here’s all you need to know about light speed

Scientists just did a real quantum computing trial – it worked

“A computation that would take 10,000 years on a classical supercomputer took 200 seconds on our quantum computer,” said Brooks Foxen, a graduate student researcher in the Martinis Group. “It is likely that the classical simulation time, currently estimated at 10,000 years, will be reduced by improved classical hardware and algorithms, but, since we are currently 1.5 trillion times faster, we feel comfortable laying claim to this achievement.” Read more…

The danger of AI is not what you might think

(Compiled by Alex Leslie and edited by Tony Poulos)

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