Enjoy this week’s stories!
ROBOTS: China’s factories are building a robot nation
Li Xuena, Wang Xinci & Zhang Boling | MarketWatch
“‘At first, robots replaced workers who had jobs that exposed them to pollution, such as painting, or required that they repeat the same task,’ the equity manager said. ‘But gradually, robots have been used for trades requiring skilled workers, such as welders, because they are cost-effective.’ Yet some companies have automated their factories simply because they cannot find enough people. A mid-level manager at an electronic manufacturer said that many businesses that are unable to fill positions have had no choice but to install robots. ‘Workers quit every day,’ he said. ‘Physically challenging jobs under harsh conditions or jobs requiring repetitive processes are much less attractive to young workers than the older generation.'”
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Google’s fact-checking bots build vast knowledge bank
Hal Hodson | New Scientist
“This existing base, called Knowledge Graph, relies on crowdsourcing to expand its information. But the firm noticed that growth was stalling; humans could only take it so far. So Google decided it needed to automate the process. It started building the Vault by using an algorithm to automatically pull in information from all over the web, using machine learning to turn the raw data into usable pieces of knowledge.”
DIGITALIZATION: If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?
Shelley Podolny | The New York Times
“The multitude of digital avenues now available to us demand content with an appetite that human effort can no longer satisfy. This demand, paired with ever more sophisticated technology, is spawning an industry of ‘automated narrative generation.'”
NANOTECHNOLOGY: This Microscope Can See Down to Individual Atoms
Victoria Turk | Motherboard
“‘Essentially we’re able to look down at materials or most things that we put in the microscope all the way down to the atomic scale…So we can regularly see single atoms and atomic columns.'”
FACIAL RECOGNITION: Algorithm Clones Facial Expressions…And Pastes Them Onto Other Faces
Physics arXiv | Medium
“Enter Yihao Zhang at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China and a few pals who have created an algorithm that clones facial expressions and pastes them onto other faces. The work raises the prospect of accurately reproducing facial movements and expressions on avatars, cartoon characters and more or less any face.”
FUTURE OF WORK: After Jobs Dry Up, What Then?
Katrin Bennhold | The New York Times
“Economic growth, even where it looks impressive, seems to be creating fewer jobs than in the past, and for the most part, poorly paid ones. The main metrics for economic success now appear to be decoupling from labor markets, the main source of income and meaning for citizens.”
MEDICINE: Has nanomedicine lived up to its promise?
Subbu Venkatraman | Nanomedicine
“At this time, it is evident that the use of nanotechnology in medicine is widespread, and spans in vitro diagnostics, in vivo imaging and injectable therapeutics. Although nanotechnology has not yet led to complete shifts in treatment paradigms, it is beginning to do so.”
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