In the name of safeguarding its 1.4 billion people, China has been collecting biometric information from millions of people whom it deems potential threats—among them, Uyghurs, migrant workers, and college students—as part of national DNA database. China’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the database, has amassed information for more than 40 million people—the country says it has the world’s biggest database of DNA information (link in Chinese)—as of 2015, according to a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) Monday (May 15). For comparison, in the US, the FBI’s national DNA index has 12.7 million offender profiles. “Mass...Read More
Category: Science & Technology
eople who have had their brains cryogenically frozen could be ‘woken up’ within three years, a pioneering Italian surgeon has claimed. Professor Sergio Canavero, Director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, is aiming to carry out the first human head transplant within 10 months and then wants to begin trials on brain transplants. If the procedures are successful, he believes that frozen brains could be thawed and inserted into a donor body. Hundreds of people who are dying or paralysed have had their bodies or brains cryogenically preserved in the hope that medical science will be able to bring them back...Read More
Extremely premature babies could be kept alive in future using an “artificial womb” that scientists plan to test in humans after a successful study involving unborn lambs. A plastic bag filled with artificial amniotic fluid – the nutrient-rich liquid that sustains a foetus in the womb – allowed foetal lambs to develop at an age equivalent to 23 weeks in humans. Human infants born at 23 weeks have just a 15 per cent chance of survival, according to pregnancy research charity Tommy’s. This rises to 55 per cent at 24 weeks, while babies born at 25 weeks have an...Read More
SAN FRANCISCO — Google is making changes to its search algorithm to promote more authoritative content and demote “low quality” content such as Holocaust denials. The Internet giant is responding to growing pressure to make sure the top answers it provides to people’s search queries are accurate and do not contribute to the spread of misinformation, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and offensive content on the Web. People searching Google will be able to more easily flag search results that are “unexpected, inaccurate or offensive,” says Ben Gomes, vice president of engineering for Google Search. And search quality raters have received new...Read More
Scifi writer Jon Wallace considers whether implants will unlock some hidden human potential – or do irreparable damage to our existence Last month, The Engineer reported on progress towards bionic eye implants. An array of silicon nanowires arranged in an electrode grid, implanted behind the retina and linked to a wireless device, has potential to restore sight. Once again engineering news astounds and delights – the scifi eye given life. Technological implants play a solid role in science fiction as a crucial component of the idea of the ‘transhuman’: that is, an evolutionary leap that sees mankind combine with technology to...Read More
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