Generative AI: Transforming Tomorrow’s Tech Landscape

Written by: Semhar (Semi) Tesfazgy, Editor in Chief

In an exciting year for tech, 2023 was named the ‘Year of AI’ by Microsoft. In the rapidly evolving world of artificial intelligence, a new and groundbreaking force has emerged and is making waves in both the tech industry and worldwide – Generative AI. 

Generative AI, popularised by OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, is artificial technology that is capable of generating multi-media data through user input by utilising advanced deep-learning models trained on large-scale data-sets. This revolutionary technology signals a creative renaissance, capable of transforming industries. However, generative AI also brings up several issues to the surface. The autonomous nature of this technology has had concerns raised about ethical use and consequences it may have on the livelihood of individuals. 

As we step into uncharted territory, generative AI invites us to observe the interplay between the excitement of limitless possibilities, with the daunting nature of the change it will bring about in our world. 

NASA Takes One Step Further in Uncovering Origins of Life 

Written by: Luke Montgomery, Staff Writer

2023 saw NASA’s ORISIS-REx mission successfully retrieve an estimated 250 grams of material from the asteroid Bennu — the largest sample ever gathered.

Bennu is thought to have formed more than 4.5 billion years ago, and could provide insights into the composition of asteroids during the early formation of our solar system. Scientists believe that asteroids may have played an important role in the emergence of life on Earth; specifically, that asteroids such as Bennu may have collided with the planet during its early formation, introducing organic compounds. Initial examination of the sample has identified the presence of compounds containing carbon and water. 

NASA plans to study the sample in detail over the span of two years, keeping 70% at Johnson Space Center for future research, before sending out smaller parts to other research organisations around the world. 

‘Sea Rex’ Fossil Discovered on Dorset Coast 

Written by: Jude Budworth, Staff Writer

A 2-metre-long fossilised Pliosaur skull was unearthed from a Dorset beach, near Kimmeridge Bay. The prehistoric marine reptile lived 150 million years ago, occupying the shallow seas of Europe, measuring up to 12 metres in length.

Led by palaeontologist, Steve Etches, the team excavated the fossil from a cliff face, 15 metres above the site in which Phil Jacobs had recently discovered a piece of broken snout. Etches noted the significance of the finding to the BBC, stating that the fossil is unique as “every bone [is] present”. 

Compared to previously discovered specimens (which have mostly been found crushed flat), the quality of this particular find has already allowed scientists to uncover new information surrounding the hunting behaviour of this prehistoric predator.

The fossil is currently on display in the Etches Collection Museum in Dorset and David Attenborough is said to go into further detail in an upcoming BBC documentary about Etches and Jacobs’ find. 

Cutting-Edge Single Cell Analysis Technique Identifies Rare Brain Cell Types

Written by: Ray Das, Staff Writer

The lack of accurate models that mimic the cell environment of the human nervous system limit our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that facilitate its physiological functions

To address this gap, the Cao lab at Rockefeller University has developed EasySci – an innovative and cost-effective strategy for identifying both singular and rare cell types and their impact on brain function.

The major features of this technique include an extensive library of single cell transcriptomes, identification of cell-type-specific gene expression, and single-cell chromatin accessibility profiling. By sequencing 1.5 million single cell transcriptomes and 380,000 chromatin accessibility profiles across a mammalian brain of variable ages and genotypes, the authors identified over 300 cellular subtypes including highly rare cell types that comprise less than 0.01% of the total brain cell population. 

The authors suggest that exploring rare cell types in relation to normal physiological functions can open opportunities for developing targeted therapeutic strategies.

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