geography
This Is the Longest Straight Path You Could Travel on Water Without Hitting Land

Back in 2012, a Reddit user posted a map claiming to show the longest straight line that could be traversed across the ocean without hitting land. Intrigued, a pair of computer scientists have developed an algorithm that corroborates the route, while also demonstrating the longest straight line that can be taken on land. Read More >>

ai
After Millions of Trials, These Simulated Humans Learned to Do Perfect Backflips and Cartwheels

Using well-established machine learning techniques, researchers from University of California, Berkeley have taught simulated humanoids to perform over 25 natural motions, from somersaults and cartwheels through to high leg kicks and breakdancing. The technique could lead to more realistic video gameplay and more agile robots. Read More >>

science
Image Manipulation Hack Fools Humans and Machines, Makes Me Think Nothing is Real Anymore

Computer scientists at Google Brain have devised a technique that tricks neural networks into misidentifying images—a hack that works on humans as well. Read More >>

ai
New Report on AI Risks Paints a Grim Future

A new report authored by over two dozen experts on the implications of emerging technologies is sounding the alarm bells on the ways artificial intelligence could enable new forms of cybercrime, physical attacks, and political disruption over the next five to ten years. Read More >>

uncategorized
The One Way Your Laptop Is Actually Slower Than a 30-Year-Old Apple IIe

Have you ever had that nagging sensation that your computer was slower than it used to be? Or that your brand new laptop seemed much more sluggish than an old tower PC you once had? Dan Luu, a computer engineer who has previously worked at Google and Microsoft, had the same sensation, so he did what the rest of us would not: He decided to test a whole slew of computational devices ranging from desktops built in 1977 to computers and tablets built this year. And he learned that that nagging sensation was spot on—over the last 30 years, computers have actually gotten slower in one particular way. Read More >>

science
The Coolest Scientific Discoveries of 2017

Science may be just a tool to help us understand our Universe. But we can all agree that one of its major perks is that leads to the discovery of plenty of really cool, mind-boggling stuff. Read More >>

science
Stunning AI Breakthrough Takes Us One Step Closer to the Singularity

Remember AlphaGo, the first artificial intelligence to defeat a grandmaster at Go? Well, the program just got a major upgrade, and it can now teach itself how to dominate the game without any human intervention. But get this: In a tournament that pitted AI against AI, this juiced-up version, called AlphaGo Zero, defeated the regular AlphaGo by a whopping 100 games to 0, signifying a major advance in the field. Hear that? It’s the technological singularity inching ever closer. Read More >>

booze
Finally, The First Beer Named By Neural Network Is Here

Neural networks have important purposes that people are excited about. But that’s not really what I’m interested in, and probably not how you’re familiar with the technology anyway. When I think of neural networks, I think of horrible drawings of cats, trippy visuals, and guinea pig names. That list now also includes beer names. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
Would You Feel Safer If Your Self-Driving Car Could Explain Itself?

With each passing breakthrough in artificial intelligence, we’re asking our machines to make increasingly complex and weighty decisions. Trouble is, AIs are starting to act beyond our levels of comprehension. In high frequency stock trading, for example, this had led to so-called flash crashes, in which algorithms make lightning-quick decisions for reasons we can’t quite grasp. In an effort to bridge the growing gap between man and machine, the Pentagon is launching a new program to create machines that can explain their actions in a way we puny humans can understand. Read More >>

futurism
When Will Robots Deserve Human Rights?

Films and TV shows like Blade Runner, Humans, and Westworld, where highly advanced robots have no rights, trouble our conscience. They show us that our behaviours are not just harmful to robots—they also demean and diminish us as a species. We like to think we’re better than the characters on the screen, and that when the time comes, we’ll do the right thing, and treat our intelligent machines with a little more dignity and respect. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
Bots on Wikipedia Wage Edit Wars Between Themselves That Last For Years

Revision wars on Wikipedia amongst human editors is an all-too-common occurrence, but new research from the UK shows that similar online battles are being waged between the site’s software robots. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
These 23 Principles Could Help Us Avoid an AI Apocalypse

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov famously predicted that we’ll one day have to program robots with a set of laws that protect us from our mechanical creations. But before we get there, we need rules to ensure that, at the most fundamental level, we’re developing AI responsibly and safely. At a recent gathering, a group of experts did just that, coming up with 23 principles to steer the development of AI in a positive direction—and to ensure it doesn’t destroy us. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
Why It Matters That Human Poker Pros Are Getting Trounced By an AI

We’re at the halfway point of the epic 20-day, 150,000-hand “Brains Vs. Artificial Intelligence” Texas Hold’em Poker tournament, and a machine named Libratus is trouncing a quartet of professional human players. Should the machine maintain its substantial lead — currently at $701,242 (£560,000) — it will be considered a major milestone in the history of AI. Here’s why. Read More >>

research
Researchers Just Created the Most Amazing Lip-Reading Software

One of the most unsettling moments in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is when it’s revealed that HAL 9000 can read lips, leaving no secrets between the astronauts and the ship’s computer. That might have been science fiction, but 15 years after the events of that film, researchers in the real world have finally taught computers how to read lips. Read More >>

computers
Listen to the First Music Ever Made With a Computer

Researchers from New Zealand have restored the very first recording ever made of computer generated music. The three simple melodies, laid down in 1951, were generated by a machine built by the esteemed British computer scientist Alan Turing. Read More >>