Futurism:
this week

Ghana launches its first satellite into space

Ghana's first satellite, called GhanaSat-1, has been confirmed as fully operational by its project manager Richard Damoah, a Ghanaian professor and assistant research scientist at NASA. Damoah has predicted that the satellite's success will help attract support for future Ghanaian space projects.

Source: Tech Crunch

Passengers don't want to fly on pilotless planes

More than half of the 8,000 people surveyed for a new report by Swiss bank UBS said they would be unwilling to travel in a pilotless plane, even if it meant cheaper fares. The research claimed that pilotless planes could save airlines over $30 billion a year in costs, with savings being passed onto consumers as a result.

Source: The Verge

Nanochip reprograms cells to fix damaged body tissue

Researchers have developed a nanochip contact patch that can reprogram nearby cells, to help repair damaged or aging organs, blood vessels, or nerve cells. "With this technology, we can convert skin cells into elements of any organ with just one touch," said co-author of the paper Dr Chandan Sen.

Source: The Register

Researchers infect computer with malicious code written into DNA

Researchers have encoded malware in a strand of DNA and used it to exploit a computer that analysed the genetic material. “As molecular and electronic worlds get closer, there are potential interactions that we haven’t really had to contemplate before,” said Luis Ceze, one co-author of the study.

Source: Tech Crunch

3D printed skull bone inserted into man's head

Scientists have inserted a 3D printed skull implant into a patient who suffered an injury to his frontal lobe that resulted in life-threatening brain swelling. After emergency surgery relieved the swelling, doctors decided a 3D printed skull implant was the best solution to replace the missing skull bone.

Source: USA Today

Elon Musk is building a hyperloop

Four years after encouraging people to try and make his crazy hyperloop idea work, Elon Musk has decided that he is the best person to do the job. "At the Boring Company, we plan to build low-cost, tunnels that will house new high-speed transportation systems," said a spokesperson for Musk's The Boring Company.

Source: Wired

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC