World Science Festival: Computational Creativity

Interest in artificial intelligence (AI) seems like it’s at an all-time high, with people both wary and intrigued about how machine learning systems will change, and hopefully improve, our lives. Past discussions we’ve covered have delved into the ethical sphere: Can autonomous robots that (currently) lack consciousness and emotions serve us well as future healthcare aides and soldiers? Can robots be moral? But last week’s World Science Festival in New York City looked at a different side of AI, with a panel discussion on “Computational Creativity: The Art of Ingenuity.”

Focused on the creation of art, music, and culinary arts, the panel was tasked with answering such questions as: Can a robot truly imagine an original masterpiece or just replicate known styles? Is computational creativity a collaborator or a competitor?

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Matters of Life and Death

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What if life expectancy expanded and we could live into our nineties and beyond in relative good health? That was one of the crucial questions debated in “Engineering Immortality,” a panel discussion at last week’s World Science Festival in New York City.

In introducing the sold-out program at NYU’s Global Center, host and ABC-TV news correspondent Bill Blakemore pointed out that American life expectancy has gone from 47 to 79 years in just a century. “Today’s scientists are growing hearts in the lab, creating organs with 3-D bio-printers, and eliminating cells that shorten life,” he said. “Will this new technology yield another dramatic increase in life expectancy?”

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“Exercise and the Brain” Wins Northwest Emmy Award

Congratulations to Eric Chudler and his team at the University of Washington for their 2017 Northwest Emmy Award win for the program “Exercise and the Brain!” Hosted by Chudler, the video discusses the benefits of exercise on the brain and learning, and is part of the BrainWorks series, which aims to educate children about the wonders of neuroscience.

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Chudler, executive director of the university’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, has been an outreach superstar for many years, organizing events for Brain Awareness Week, running the university’s Neuroscience for Kids website, and producing quality and entertaining videos about the brain. We are thrilled to have partnered on this latest video and hope you’ll get a chance to watch it if you haven’t already.

Dana Newsletter: May

Below is the latest Dana email newsletter. You can sign up to receive this (and other Dana email alerts and/or print publications) by going here.

Gut Feelings on Parkinson’s and Depression

by Ted Dinan, M.D., Ph.D, and John F. Cryan, Ph.D.

The gut-brain axis is one of the new frontiers of neuroscience. Microbiota (the collective bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that live in the digestive tract), sometimes referred to as the “second genome” or the “second brain,” may influence our health in ways that scientists are just now beginning to understand.From Cerebrum, our online magazine of ideas. Also listen to a podcast Q&A with Ted Dinan.

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Brain Awareness Week 2017 in Photos

Iran

A lecture demonstrating stereotaxic surgery on a rat, organized by Ferdowsi University of Mashhad in Iran.

Brain Awareness Week (BAW) has come and gone and now is the time to reflect on the success and reach of BAW partners’ efforts. Impressively, there are more than 800 events on the BAW Calendar of Events! Perhaps the best way to see the success of the campaign is to check out the BAW Photo Gallery.

Virginia

Minds games at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute’s Brain School.

The photo gallery reflects the international nature of BAW, a global campaign with more than half of the events during the week occurring outside the US. From Germany to Australia, Brazil to Nigeria, Canada to Spain, partners coordinated events from all reaches of the globe. For BAW 2017, there were events in 40 countries and 46 US states!

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