2019 may be the strangest year on record, from neural network images from lab monkeynightmares to dark matter bullets leaving fist-sized holes in astronauts’ chests, and this year is a washed-out scientific and technological discovery that often leaves us unable to describe it in better language, but with “what the hell is this?” (WTF) in a nutshell. Here’s a look back at the most amazing tech events of 2019:
1.eBay auctionof the mammoth larvae fossil
Amateur archaeologist Alan Detrich has discovered a 68 million-year-old fossil skeleton of a tyrannosaur. After failed negotiations with a local museum over the skeleton collection, Detrich decided to auction the fossil on eBay for $2.95 million. Detrich also left a quip in the auction: “This tyrannosaur is a very dangerous meat eater.” This is indeed a rare opportunity to see the young dragons of the tyrannosaurs, and if they do not grow quickly, they will not be able to catch their prey or even die. “
But palaeontologists are angry that they want more time to study the rare and valuable fossil, which will make it unsustainable after being sold to private buyers. For those keen researchers, this is a frustrating and hard-to-accept reality. eBay responded by saying that the world’s greatest archaeological finds had gone where they had been sold to a wealthy man whose recent “fruits” included a signed Earth Battlefield shirt and a pair of Nike shoes worn by the “Gate of Heaven” cult.
2.AI-Neural Network-Monkeys-Planet of the Apes: Nightmare
In Harvard’s Animal Lab, scientists attached a monkey’s brain to a neural network and then tried to stimulate a single neuron responsible for recognizing faces by showing it images generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
We may be able to foresee this coming. AI-generated images (more or less seen or imagined by monkeys) are darker and more distorted than anything we can prepare ourselves. Scientists have seen many vague things, such as the human effects of wearing surgical masks, most likely laboratory technicians. Over the next three years, we witnessed nightmares and several huge trauma treatment costs.
3. Pepsi Planet: Satellite’s Plan to Swallow the Sky’s Soda Giant
Imagine looking into the magnificent night sky, finding the great Orion, and then seeing it holding a Pepsi can. That’s what the Russian company, StartRocket, wanted, when it tried to launch a large number of cubes into space to form an “orbital billboard.”
Needless to say, putting annoying billboards on the night sky is a terrible idea that shouldn’t have been thought of in the first place. Not only is this eye-opening, but we’ve learned from SpaceX’s Space Internet Starlink program that such an effort could pose a serious threat to the astronomical community because it disrupts their observations. A PepsiCo spokeswoman confirmed that the company was actually working with the start-up, but canceled the previous idea after a backlash.
4. “AI Baby” Music
Concept sound artist and composer Holly Herndon released her agency-inspired new album, PROTO, earlier in 2019. Its main feature is that “playing” is done by “non-human intelligence installed on the DIY enhanced game PC”, which Herndon affectionately refers to as her “AI baby”.
We’re going to let the music speak for ourselves here, except to say it’s definitely a really weird listening experience, and the best experience is to experience it yourself once, and only once. In particular, shout out the nightmarish percussion of the track “Godmother” with artist Jlin.
5. Killed by dark matter bullets
A Physics Doctoral Student suggests that tiny amounts of dark matter can tear the human body to pieces, as in the Biochemical Crisis. According to the authors, the particles could end up acting like high-speed bullets, tearing huge holes in the astronauts’ bodies, causing them to be “seriously injured or killed.” “The closest analogy to this huge collision with humans is gunshot wounds,” the study reads. “
This is a wild, random statement that seems to make no sense. However, this is also a terrible idea, especially considering that we hardly even know what dark matter is or what it is made of. Do astronauts really have to worry about this? This theory extends a considerable list of hypotheses and leads to the conclusion that it is, arguably, sensational.
6.AI Filtering Application
Covenant Eyes is a creepy religious app designed to prevent people from viewing pornography by using AI-driven filters. If the app finds someone staring at obscene pornography, it will alert you, for example, to your mother.
In most cases, for most people, watching is as harmless as selfies. But denigrating this act in the name of God can only lead to an intensification of the rift between people and to the sudden emergence of many truly unpleasant conversations. Does this really protect children? barely. Literally, does it stop people from watching? We doubt that.
7. Crazy scientist mother’s “semi-robot” son
Vivienne Ming, a neuroscientist, has written about how she accepts the inner guidance of “crazy scientists” and gives her autistic son “superpowers.” She has built a facial and expression recognition system for Google Glass. “I chose to turn my son into a semi-robot and change the definition of humanity,” she wrote. But does my son’s power make him more human, or is it a lighter human touch? “
It seems a bit of an overstatement to refer to people wearing Google-enhanced glasses as “semi-robots”. Does it really necessary for her to call herself a “crazy scientist” when she does it?
8. Thrilling drilling on the space station
In late 2018, astronauts aboard the International Space Station found a small hole in the Russian side of the orbital outpost. The U.S. and Russia initially noticed a drop in cabin pressure and began looking for the culprit, after an investigation revealed that the hole had been drilled from inside the space station. The Russian space agency initially said the hole was caused by a meteorite, but later changed its mind, saying it was the result of “swinging hands” and “multiple attempts to drill.” A few months later, Russia claimed that it had finally found the cause of the vulnerability, but kept it a secret.
No one knows what caused the drilling on the space station, and NASA and the Russian space agency don’t know, or even spacewalks to solve the mystery, but they didn’t bring any thing to the situation. Was it sabotage? Is Russia’s gun-toting robot related to this? Like most of the odd moments in science and technology in 2019, we all want to know the answer, but in a way, we don’t know it’s going to be better.