research
Digital Footprints Paint an Eerily Accurate Picture of Europe’s Refugees

Using search data collected by Google, researchers at the Pew Research Center have reconstructed the journeys taken by refugees flowing into Europe from the Middle East. It represents a new way of tracking migration patterns—but the technique could eventually lead to misuse. 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 >>

science
Record-Setting Hard Drive Writes Information One Atom At a Time

Researchers working in the Netherlands have developed an atomic-scale rewritable data-storage device capable of packing 500 terabits onto a single square inch. Incredibly, that’s enough to store every book written by humans on a surface the size of a postage stamp. Holy shit. Read More >>