Antony Funnell
Antony Funnell
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How 'agromining' — farming plants that contain metal — could help power the future - ABC News

How 'agromining' — farming plants that contain metal — could help power the future - ABC News

When scientist Alan Baker made a cut in the side of an exotic plant in the Philippines jungle, the sap that bled out had a jade-green glow.The shrub was a newly discovered species, soon to be known as Phyllanthus Balgooyi, one of a rare variety of plants that naturally suck high amounts of metallic elements from the soil.The fluorescent sap turned out to be nine per cent nickel.It was a welcome finding, but not a surprise, as Professor Baker's research into so-called "hyperaccumulators" had already uncovered species that seemed to thrive on everything from cobalt to zinc, and even...

April 8, 2021
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The new laws of robotics — building on Asimov's science fiction legacy in the age of AI - ABC News

The new laws of robotics — building on Asimov's science fiction legacy in the age of AI - ABC News

Way back in the early 1940s — long before smart phones, Siri and semi-autonomous weapons — the late great sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov drew-up a set of principles for the development of advanced robotic systems.Asimov was essentially an optimist, but he realised that future AI devices, and their designers, might need a little help keeping on the straight and narrow.Hence his famous Three Laws, which have influence in science and technology circles to this day.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.A robot must obey the orders given it by...

December 9, 2020
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