Restoring Sight

Scientists have been immersed in the journey of discovering great mysteries for decades. To comprehend the complexities of this earth to human life, we have witnessed exciting theories and claims over the years. However, this time, it is even more surprising as the collaborative efforts of these remarkable scientists have resulted in a fantastic discovery – reviving the twinkle in a dead human eye!

In medical science, the life space of human cells effects the process of organ transplants, for instance, kidneys remain usable 24 to 36 hours after the donor’s demise if preserved in the appropriate surroundings. However, this is not the case for human eye cells, as the nervous system stops working immediately after a human dies due to deprivation of oxygen. Nevertheless, earlier last week, an article was published in the New York Post spelling out the successful revival of photosensitive neurons, pioneering a revolution into the possibilities for brain and eye disorders, including blindness. 

This outcome gives hope to people with eye disorders. “Just being able to take these donor’s eyes and learn how the retina works, and what is going wrong in these illnesses is a significant deal,” said Fatima Abbas, lead author of the new study at the University of Utah.

Regrettably, light-sensing cells, termed ‘photoreceptors,’ do not communicate with neighboring cells due to oxygen deprivation after death. Therefore, a particular transport unit was designed to solve this problem that included artificial blood, oxygen, and essential nutrients. This approach found that they could make the retinal cells communicate in the same way they do in living bodies.

“Past studies have restored very little electrical activity in organ donor eyes, but never to the amount we have now proven,” said Frans Vinberg, a Moran Eye Centre scientist who also participated in the study.

This breakthrough might also contribute to advances in optogenetics, allowing some patients with eye illnesses to regain their eyesight. The University of Utah research has been published in the journal eLife.

Discovering Endurance

According to open-source data, there are currently approximately 3 million sunken ships at the bottom of the seas and oceans. The majority of them were sunk during war, the second reason owing to poor visibility and other situations, and the third due to old age. One of these was the ship “Endurance,” which sank off the coast of Antarctica in 1915 while being utilized by scientists as part of the Imperial Transantarctic Expedition. Researchers have tried numerous times to locate it, with the most recent attempt being in 2022 which was successful; the old ship was discovered at a depth of more than three kilometers in the Weddell Sea.

Imperial Transantarctic Expedition

In 1914, Endurance commenced service. The Imperial Transantarctic Expedition was organized by Ernest Shackleton, an Anglo-Irish explorer of the polar regions. The research mission’s goal was to traverse Antarctica’s entire landmass. He put together a crew of 56 people, and the Aurora and Endurance ships took them to the South Pole.

Search for the sunken ship Endurance

Many attempts have been made by modern scientists and explorers to determine the exact location of where the ship sank. Their interest stemmed from the fact that the ship should have been well preserved in the frigid waters of Antarctica, where there was no oxygen or light. The Endurance22 mission, which began in early 2022, attempted again to locate the ship. The ship was found in the quickest time feasible by a crew commanded by adventurer John Shears, based on information gathered on previous missions.

The members of the expedition began scanning the region in the Weddell Sea right away. The polar explorers were based on the “Agulhas II,” a South African ship. Saab Sabertooth search vehicles, which are equipped with sensors, lights, and cameras, were utilized to scan the seabed. The ship was discovered at a depth of 3008 meters after a brief search. The recovered vessel is well preserved, according to British maritime archaeologist Mensun Bound, which is exactly what the experts expected. The ship “Endurance” is now a historical landmark and a monument.

Today, millions of sunken ships lay at the bottom of the seas and oceans. Scientists consider them to be “time capsules” that may teach a lot about the lives of individuals from different historical periods by looking at them. Ancient Greek and Roman wrecks are particularly noteworthy because they frequently contain statues and other pieces of art. As a result, the famed Antikythera Youth statue was discovered in 1900, not far from the Greek island of Antikythera.

What If Artificial Intelligence Was Already Conscious?

The development of a general artificial intelligence is the ultimate objective of the majority of high-level AI research (GAI). In essence, they’re aiming for a computer brain to perform as well as a human brain in a body with equivalent capabilities.

We’re still decades away from anything like this, according to most experts. Nobody knows what GAI looks like yet, unlike other highly complicated problems like nuclear fusion or readjusting the Hubble Constant.

Researchers don’t have a complete grasp on the nature of intelligence in the human brain, or the nature of conscious experience in general. Our understanding of how intellect and consciousness arise in the human brain is still in its infancy.

For AI, we have only patched neural networks and smart algorithms in place of the GAI. To argue that modern AI will ever be able to think like a human and illustrate a route toward robot consciousness is extremely difficult, and even more difficult to do so. However, it’s not out of the question.

It’s possible that AI is already conscious.

An article on the nature of consciousness by mathematician Johannes Kleiner and physicist Sean Tull was recently pre-published. It suggests that the universe and everything in it are imbued with physical consciousness.

The Integrated Information Hypothesis of Consciousness (IITC) is a prominent theory that attempts to explain consciousness as a collection of interrelated information (ITT). Everything, according to this theory, is conscious in some way or other.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, because it is based on the premise that physical conditions lead to changes in awareness. This “capacity to experience” things makes you conscious. One way to tell if a tree has consciousness is to look at how it reaches out to the sun. An ant’s consciousness arises as a result of the ant-specific experiences it has, and so on.

It’s a little difficult to go from live things like ants to inanimate stuff like pebbles and spoons. As Neo found out in The Matrix: “There’s no spoon.” Those creatures, though, could be aware. In place of the spoons, there are merely molecules arranged in a spoon-like fashion. If you keep looking, you’ll eventually get to the subatomic particles that are shared by all of the universe’s physical entities. It’s the same material that’s in trees, ants, rocks, and utensils.

What does this have to do with artificial intelligence? Individual systems at the macro- and micro-scale that express the independent ability to act and react in response to external stimuli could be regarded as universal awareness.

If shared reality is what consciousness indicates, then intellect isn’t necessary; all that’s needed is the ability to perceive existence. So, if the math supports latent global awareness, AI already shows a consciousness level comparable to spoons and rocks.

This has mind-boggling consequences for the future. It’s hard to care about what it’s like to be a rock right now. Because of the IITC extrapolation, which assumes that we will solve GAI, robots with consciousness will one day be able to explain how it feels to be an inanimate item in this universe.

A Cure For HIV

Scientists reported last week that a woman of mixed race had become the third person believed to be cured of HIV through the use of a stem cell transplant from a donor naturally resistant to the virus. Success with the new umbilical cord blood technique could allow physicians to assist more patients of various genders and races.

AIDS-causing virus HIV has previously been treated in two patients who appeared to have recovered using a different procedure. When Timothy Brown and Adam Castillejo were diagnosed with HIV, they were given bone marrow transplants from donors with a genetic mutation that prevents HIV infection. Adult hematopoietic stem cells can be found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood, which are supplied by the parents of newborns. All of the immune system’s blood cells are derived from these stem cells.

A donor with natural immunity to HIV was chosen for the female patient’s umbilical cord blood treatment for leukaemia in the belief that it would help her battle both illnesses. It’s been 14 months since the woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, has been rid of the virus, according to specialists.

The two male patients were the first to be cured of HIV with the use of umbilical cord blood, a less intrusive and more generally available therapy option than the more invasive bone marrow transplant. Because cord blood donors aren’t as closely matched to the recipient as bone marrow donors, it can be an alternative for patients with unusual tissue types.

AIDS expert Steven Deeks, who was not involved in the study, said: “The fact that she’s mixed race, and that she’s a woman, that is incredibly important scientifically and really important in terms of the community impact.”

In contrast to Brown and Castillejo, the woman was discharged from the hospital 17 days following her bone marrow transplant without showing any signs of graft-versus-host disease. It was a stem cell transplant that saved the lives of all three individuals who appeared to have beaten HIV.

Despite the apparent success of the medication, most of the 38 million people living with HIV around the world will not be able to benefit from it at the moment. HIV patients who receive cord blood stem cell transplants for cancer treatment are part of a bigger study that will follow a total of 25 people with HIV who receive transplants for aggressive malignancies like leukaemia.

Koen van Besien, director of Weill Cornell Medicine’s stem cell transplant programme and one of the clinicians engaged in therapy, estimates that there are roughly 50 individuals in the US each year that could benefit from this technique. For these individuals, the use of cord blood grafts that are only partially matched dramatically increases the chance of finding a compatible donor.

Omicron Spread

The Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus is said to be the most different variant from earlier versions of coronavirus, but the good news is that the symptoms are not as severe as the previous variants. But the main problem with this variant is that it is highly contagious and is spreading way more quickly than the Delta variant. Some scientists believe that the Omicron variant is the fastest spreading virus in the history of the world. The reason behind Omicron not causing that many deaths or high intensive illnesses is the vaccination program most countries have utilized. Experts from Case Western Reserve University said that patients affected by Omicron are at less risk of being admitted to the hospital or intensive care unit compared to patients affected by the Delta at a rate of 1:2. 

Research performed by the experts from Case Western Reserve University also found that a booster shot against Covid-19 will protect against the Omicron variant. These booster shots protect the human bodies from severe illnesses caused by Covid-19. The CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky stated that “Protection against infection and hospitalization with the omicron variant is highest for those who are up to date with their vaccination, meaning those who are boosted when they are eligible”. The third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was said to reduce hospital admissions by 94 percent during the delta wave, and by 82 percent once omicron started spreading. 

The Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa and spread quickly throughout the rest of the world. It effects the upper respiratory tract of the human body which is what makes it less severe than the other variants. According to WHO’s data, Omicron has reached at least 128 more countries causing disruptions in normal human activity and the countries’ economies. Countries with high amounts of unvaccinated people are most at risk of increased deaths and hospitalizations. It seems that the number of cases in South Africa have decreased thanks to the lockdown and the booster shots, which indicates that this variant can be controlled if all the nations follow the right instructions and take proper precautions. 

Director of the Basque Museum of the History of Medicine and Science, Anton Erkoreka says that the spread of Omicron has exceeded the spread of the bubonic plague, Black Death which was spread almost 700 years ago. Erkoreka stated that “It is the most-explosive and the fastest-spreading virus in history,” Currently in the USA, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has highly affected the population which has caused the government to declare an emergency for the 8th time. Even when the Omicron variant is labeled as less severe, it is still causing deaths and hospitalizations in vulnerable people with weaker immune systems and those who are yet to be vaccinated.

The Future of Humans and Robots

Presently, Neuralink is developing brain-computer interfaces, and judging by the CEO’s role at the company, the platform is striving to enable machines and human to work as one, despite his recent statements.

Furthermore, Neuralink officials have reiterated multiple times that machines will replace the manual worker, and it’s a warning that will cause many to worry about the progression of cutting-edge technologies. The platform suggests that humans must physically merge with robotic advancements or become obsolete.

The fate of humanity:

The deceased co-founder of Neuralink, Max Hodak has predicted a creepy clichéd story on the fate of human beings. He implied that robots will occupy space and will leave the human race behind. The keystone to his argument suggests that robots probably won’t cling to humanity’s political and economic models for a community.

The former co-founder believed that the ‘value systems’ that humans have used for structuring societies for decades, might become irrelevant in the coming years. He further expressed his belief about the flexibility of machines and how well-organized they are.

From the beginning, Max Hodak was cautious about the arrival of robots and how dramatically they’ll reshape the world. However, there is extensive reluctance to even identify it as a tangible issue, making it harder to seek for potential solutions to prevent potential adverse impacts.

In the late 1990s, researchers began placing instructions within the brains of paralyzed computer cursors to let them display the movements of robot arms through signals. Also, it analyzed how mice with visual impairment could perceive infrared rays. Relying on these experiments, Neuralink hopes to progress the development of a brain-computer interference to the point that every individual could operate computers with brain signals efficiently.

Mankind’s progression in robotics will permit us to proceed with efficient ways to identify future obstacles, but, according to Max Hodak, this kind of transformation requires an entire generation. However, if there ever becomes a situation where a human’s input becomes unnecessary, machines can effortlessly proceed without it, and it would ultimately lead to our termination from the technological world.