Reproduction. An AI nanny to care for embryos in artificial wombs

Artificial wombs in which fetuses could grow quietly, with a robot nanny to watch over and care for them? It’s within the realm of possibility, say Chinese scientists of what could be a breakthrough for the future of childbearing in a country where the birth rate is at its lowest in decades. Provided, however, that the law authorizes the use of this type of technology.

Researchers from Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province [à l’est de la Chine]say they have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system that can monitor and care for embryos as they grow into fetuses in an artificial womb.

In a published article [en novembre 2021] in the Journal of Biomedical Engineering, a Chinese peer-reviewed journal, these scientists explain that the AI ​​nanny is already taking care of a large number of animal embryos, and believe that it is possible to use the same technology to solve some major reproductive problems in human being.

The team led by the professor Sun Haixuanfrom the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology, which depends on the Chinese Academy of Sciences, presents this artificial uterus as follows: the “long-term embryo culture device”, as they call it, is a vessel consisting of a row of cubes filled with nutrient fluids, in which mouse embryos develop separately.

The “AI nanny” works around the clock

Previously, the development process of each embryo had to be observed individually, noted and adjusted manually. The task required a lot of personnel and became unmanageable when one wanted to carry out research on a large scale.

According to the article, the newly developed AI robotic nanny system can monitor embryos in unprecedented detail as it moves around the clock along the row of cubes.

Thanks to artificial intelligence techniques, the machine can detect the smallest signs of change.

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Source of the article

South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong’s major English-language daily has been owned by Jack Ma (Ma Yun), CEO of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, since April 2016. This acquisition aroused strong fears that the newspaper’s outspokenness and journalistic quality would be eroded or even disappear. Anyway, the SCMP, remained in a situation of monopoly on the market of English-language dailies in the former British colony, remains essential to whoever wants to follow China. The daily provides a very complete factual follow-up of Chinese and Hong Kong news. The magazine pages sometimes provide good reports on neighboring countries.

Jack Ma’s first initiative was to make the newspaper’s website free, with the claim of opening “the most comprehensive and trusted information site on Greater China to the rest of the world”. This strategy of capitalizing on the reputation of the more than century-old title is in line with the efforts made by Beijing to develop its media network in the world.

Previously, a significant editorial shift had already been observed under the leadership of Robert Kuok, a Sino-Malaysian businessman close to Beijing who became the main shareholder in 1993.

Formerly the reference newspaper for “China watchers”, the newspaper had gradually got rid of a certain number of journalists after the arrival of Robert Kuok, it had watered down its opinion pages and started to base itself more and more on agency dispatches to deal with information that does not show Beijing in its best light.

After the ousting of Willy Wo-lap Lam, head of the China pages, in 2000, whose analyzes of Beijing politics were considered too independent, it was in 2002 the turn of the head of his Beijing office, Jasper Becker, to be licensed. The editorial pages, where the figures of Hong Kong politics used to exchange the most diverse opinions, became disappointing.

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Reproduction. An AI nanny to care for embryos in artificial wombs

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