“We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.” – Alan Turing
In 1950, Alan Turing—famed for cracking the German Enigma code during WWII and widely regarded as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence—devised the Turing test to evaluate a machine’s intelligence. “A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human,” Turing wrote at the time. In 2014, organisers from a Turing test competition at the University of Reading announced that for the first time a machine had passed the Turing test, convincing 33% of judges that it was human. Although the claim was controversial, it is undeniable that artificial intelligence has become a part of the mainstream. In fact, in March 2017, it was revealed in the Federal Budget that the Canadian government plans to support the Vector Institute of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Toronto, thus reinforcing the significance of this area of research to the innovation sector and the country’s economy.
The idea of machines becoming indistinguishable from human beings is one we often come across in our favourite sci-fi movies. The reality is that we are already living in an era of innovation where the technological advancements are not too far removed from those depicted in futuristic films. Although not devoid of concerns and controversies, this “futurism” is welcomed with excitement and possibility, without the notable dystopian undertones. In this issue of IMMpress Magazine, we explore the recent innovations in the biomedical health sciences that have stretched and challenged our imaginations. We investigate the unconventional at the microscopic level with an introduction to the use of nanoparticles in diagnostics and therapeutics and bacterial therapy in cancer treatment. Zooming out, we discuss hybrids as we tackle interspecific chimerism in regenerative medicine and the man-machine amalgam of modern-day prosthetics. We also examine factors that change how we eat over time with features on the evolution of diet, genetically-modified organisms, and food allergies. Finally, we leave the stratosphere and address the role of microgravity on the human body.
As IMMpress enters its fifth year, it is with much gratitude and sadness that we say goodbye to Kieran Manion, who is stepping down as co-editor-in-chief of the magazine. Kieran’s sharp journalistic insight, bold creativity, and endless dedication has been an immense guiding force in moulding IMMpress into the editorial and visual product that it is today. In her place, we would like to welcome Sintia Xhiku as our new co-editor-in-chief. Already a frequent contributor to the magazine, we are excited to have her enthusiasm and passion on board in steering the IMMpress ship. Lastly, we would like to thank the entire IMMpress team—this magazine would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our student writers, editors, and designers. As we look to the future with this issue, we know there will be plenty of great articles and discussions to come.
So join us, and let us boldly go…