Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Simroids: Dentistry in the Uncanny Valley

BoingBoing has a story today about "Simroids", a kind of Japanese robot that helps train dentistry students. Because it combines several IS theme (robots, the uncanny valley, Japanese pop culture, schlock horror), you might find it worth a look. Aside from the noted creepiness, there's the unfortunate choice of name: "Simroid" sounds like training for repair work at the other end of the alimentary canal.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

IS Group update

The most recent meeting of the IS Group took place on Nov. 17, 2007, at the home of Mark Tiede. The topic was recursion and was a continuation of earlier IS Group discussions of recursion and language. The readings can be found in the "Again with the Recursion" entry from October 11. Following our discussion, we ended up watching Hot Fuzz. The next meeting, which has not yet been scheduled, will be on Systems Biology. The main reading for this will be:

Uri Alon, An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits. Chapman & Hall, 2006.

Supplementary reading may include:

Martin A. Nowak, Evolutionary Dynamics: Exploring the equations of life. Harvard University Press, 2006.

We may end up devoting a future meeting to the Nowak book, depending on how our next meeting goes. We will also spend a little time at the next meeting discussing a draft manuscript by Simon Levy on modeling recursion in cognitive neuroscience. We are open to suggestions for the featured video, cuisine, and preferred location. If you have any ideas, contact Philip Rubin.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Invincible Man

Joel Garreau, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Radical Evolution, recently wrote an excellent article called "The Invincible Man," about Aubrey de Grey. Aubrey, who was a presenter at last year's Yale Technology and Ethics Working Group, is best known for his work on developing a cure for aging. Aubrey also has a new book with Michael Rae called: Ending Aging: The rejuvenation breakthroughs that could reverse human aging in our lifetime.