Consciousness In ‘Westworld,’ Heart Cells On Graphene, Bike Safety App. May 18, 2018, Part 1 | WBEZ
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Science Friday

Consciousness In 'Westworld,' Heart Cells On Graphene, Bike Safety App. May 18, 2018, Part 1

In HBO’s series Westworld, human-like robots populate a theme park where human guests can have violent, gory adventures in the Wild West without the repercussions. The robots are so lifelike that they fool the visitors and themselves. They bleed, die, grieve, and love—thinking themselves human. But as Westworld’s robots grow increasingly independent of their repetitive, programmed loops, the show incites viewers to question whether AI can truly be autonomous or conscious—and who in this story deserves empathy. Roboticist Robin Murphy and neuroscientist Steve Ramirez discuss the show’s science and social commentary.  

The jury is still out on whether graphene—the carbon-based substance people have called "wonder material"—will be part of every gadget in the future, but scientists are finding it to be an extremely powerful tool in the biomedical laboratory. In a study out this week in the journal Science Advances, scientists used graphene’s electrical properties to stimulate lab grown heart cells that could be used in patients after they’ve had a heart attack.

Plus, a Pittsburgh cyclist designed a crowdsourcing navigation app to help other city bikers find the safest roads to travel.

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