We all need to forget, even robots

Christopher Stanton, Western Sydney University We all know what it’s like to forget something. A loved one’s birthday. A childhood memory. Even people capable of extraordinary memory feats – say, memorising the order of a deck of cards in less than 20 seconds – will still forget where they left their keys. People, it seems,Continue reading “We all need to forget, even robots”

The real reason middle-aged men in Lycra dominate cycling (it’s not a mid-life crisis)

James Beale, University of East London and Oliver Glackin, University of East London The British cycling boom of the last decade has brought a new creature onto the UK’s roads. They can be spotted in both town and country but they’re most commonly seen on a weekend, travelling in groups and easily recognisable from theirContinue reading “The real reason middle-aged men in Lycra dominate cycling (it’s not a mid-life crisis)”

Growing role of artificial intelligence in our lives is ‘too important to leave to men’

Wendy Hall, University of Southampton I must not have got the memo, because as a young lecturer in computer science at the University of Southampton in 1985 I was unaware that “women didn’t do computing”. Southampton had always recruited a healthy number of women to study computing in our fledgling department, and a quarter ofContinue reading “Growing role of artificial intelligence in our lives is ‘too important to leave to men’”

Robots won’t steal our jobs if we put workers at center of AI revolution

Thomas Kochan, MIT Sloan School of Management and Lee Dyer, Cornell University The technologies driving artificial intelligence are expanding exponentially, leading many technology experts and futurists to predict machines will soon be doing many of the jobs that humans do today. Some even predict humans could lose control over their future. While we agree aboutContinue reading “Robots won’t steal our jobs if we put workers at center of AI revolution”

Smart cities present risks, opportunities

Sylvie Albert, University of Winnipeg Emergent technologies are poised to radically change how we work and live. They will transform our cities and workplaces, shifting jobs and entrepreneurship in new directions, and spur new ways to manage our lives. All of society will be affected, up to and including how we interact with machines themselves.Continue reading “Smart cities present risks, opportunities”

AI can now read emotions – should it?

Christoffer Heckman, University of Colorado Boulder In its annual report, the AI Now Institute, an interdisciplinary research center studying the societal implications of artificial intelligence, called for a ban on technology designed to recognize people’s emotions in certain cases. Specifically, the researchers said affect recognition technology, also called emotion recognition technology, should not be usedContinue reading “AI can now read emotions – should it?”

AI could help solve the privacy problems it has created

Zhiyuan Chen, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Aryya Gangopadhyay, University of Maryland, Baltimore County The stunning successes of artificial intelligence would not have happened without the availability of massive amounts of data, whether its smart speakers in the home or personalized book recommendations. And the spread of AI into new areas of the economy,Continue reading “AI could help solve the privacy problems it has created”

Explainer: what is superintelligence?

Andrew Snyder-Beattie, University of Oxford and Daniel Dewey, University of Oxford Humans are currently the most intelligent beings on the planet – the result of a long history of evolutionary pressure and adaptation. But could we some day design and build machines that surpass the human intellect? This is the concept of superintelligence, a growingContinue reading “Explainer: what is superintelligence?”

Explainer: Theory of evolution

Susan Lawler, La Trobe University The theory of evolution encompasses the well established scientific view that organic life on our planet has changed over long periods of time and continues to change by a process known as natural selection. Charles Darwin, the 19th century naturalist, is given credit for the theory, not because he wasContinue reading “Explainer: Theory of evolution”

Simulating evolution: how close do computer models come to reality?

Christoph Adami, Michigan State University Darwin’s theory of evolution is a simple but powerful framework that explains how complexity can come from simplicity: how everything biological around us – from the microbial biofilms on your teeth to the majestic redwood trees – emerged from the very simplest of beginnings. How exactly this happened is, ofContinue reading “Simulating evolution: how close do computer models come to reality?”

DNA dating: How molecular clocks are refining human evolution’s timeline

Bridget Alex, Harvard University and Priya Moorjani, Columbia University DNA holds the story of our ancestry – how we’re related to the familiar faces at family reunions as well as more ancient affairs: how we’re related to our closest nonhuman relatives, chimpanzees; how Homo sapiens mated with Neanderthals; and how people migrated out of Africa,Continue reading “DNA dating: How molecular clocks are refining human evolution’s timeline”

SpaceX reaches for milestone in spaceflight – a private company launches astronauts into orbit

Wendy Whitman Cobb, US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies On May 27, two American astronauts, Robert L. Behnken and Douglas G. Hurley, are planning to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on a mission to the International Space Station. If successful, this will mark the first time in nine years thatContinue reading “SpaceX reaches for milestone in spaceflight – a private company launches astronauts into orbit”

If Earth falls, will interstellar space travel be our salvation?

Fredrick Jenet, University of Texas at Brownsville and Teviet Creighton, University of Texas at Brownsville Some climatologists argue it may be too late to reverse climate change, and it’s just a matter of time before the Earth becomes uninhabitable – if hundreds of years from now. The recent movie Interstellar raised the notion that weContinue reading “If Earth falls, will interstellar space travel be our salvation?”

How to build a starship – and why we should start thinking about it now

Ian Crawford, Birkbeck, University of London With a growing number of Earth-like exoplanets discovered in recent years, it is becoming increasingly frustrating that we can’t visit them. After all, our knowledge of the planets in our own solar system would be pretty limited if it weren’t for the space probes we’d sent to explore them.Continue reading “How to build a starship – and why we should start thinking about it now”

Scientists as Hollywood heroes

Declan Fahy, American University School of Communication Interstellar’s protagonists spend a significant portion of the movie’s 169-minute running time giving mini-lectures – sometimes with props and a little whiteboard – on theoretical physics. The characters describe esoteric cosmological concepts such as how a wormhole allows space travelers to take a cosmic shortcut. They explain howContinue reading “Scientists as Hollywood heroes”

Without a humanistic inquiry, we will lose our creativity

A Joan Saab, University of Rochester Today it is hard to imagine that the national government would spend millions of dollars to put unemployed artists to work for the good of the country. But that is precisely what happened in the United States at the height of the Great Depression. There has been a lotContinue reading “Without a humanistic inquiry, we will lose our creativity”

Which paintings were the most creative of their time? An algorithm may hold the answers

Ahmed Elgammal, Rutgers University From Picasso’s The Young Ladies of Avignon to Munch’s The Scream, what was it about these paintings that arrested people’s attention upon viewing them, that cemented them in the canon of art history as iconic works? In many cases, it’s because the artist incorporated a technique, form or style that hadContinue reading “Which paintings were the most creative of their time? An algorithm may hold the answers”

Using computers to better understand art

Ricky J. Sethi, Fitchburg State University How do humans interpret and understand art? The nature of artistic style, seemingly abstract and intuitive, is the subject of ongoing debate within art history and the philosophy of art. When we talk about paintings, artistic style can refer to image features like the brushstrokes, contour and distribution ofContinue reading “Using computers to better understand art”

How photography evolved from science to art

Nancy Locke, Pennsylvania State University Much like a painting, a photograph has the ability to move, engage and inspire viewers. It could be a black-and-white Ansel Adams landscape of a snow-capped mountain reflected in a lake, with a sharpness and tonal range that bring out the natural beauty of its subject. Or it could EdwardContinue reading “How photography evolved from science to art”

Computer science can only help – not hurt – art historians

Ahmed Elgammal, Rutgers University I was the lead of a team of computer scientists at Rutgers that published a paper this past August titled, “Toward Automated Discovery of Artistic Influence.” In that paper we reported on our research, where we used object recognition techniques to compare paintings and identify similarities between them in color, form,Continue reading “Computer science can only help – not hurt – art historians”

The secret to all great art forgeries

Jeff Taylor, Purchase College State University of New York In A Forger’s Tale – convicted forger Shaun Greenhalgh’s new memoir – Greenhalgh reveals that he drew Leonardo da Vinci’s La Bella Principessa, which has been valued upwards of US$100 million. Greenhalgh even admits that he modeled the subject after a supermarket checkout girl. If Greenhalgh’sContinue reading “The secret to all great art forgeries”

What makes some art so bad that it’s good?

John Dyck, CUNY Graduate Center “The Disaster Artist” – which just earned James Franco a Golden Globe for his portrayal of director Tommy Wiseau – tells the story of the making of “The Room,” a film that’s been dubbed “the Citizen Kane” of bad movies. Not everyone likes “The Room.” (Critics certainly don’t – itContinue reading “What makes some art so bad that it’s good?”

Will more dead actors be coming to a theater near you?

Peter Krapp, University of California, Irvine On November 30 2013, actor Paul Walker died in a car crash before filming of Furious 7 was complete. The accident meant the franchise’s filmmakers had to resort to workarounds to finish scenes featuring Walker. This was made possible by combining footage from outtakes with the construction of aContinue reading “Will more dead actors be coming to a theater near you?”