What We’re Reading This Week Across the Web (Through May 9)

ROBOTICS: Foxconn’s Robot Army Yet to Prove Match for Humans
Lorraine Luk | The Wall Street Journal
“While the company has automated more manufacturing processes for components and established some lights-out, or workerless, factories, replacing dexterous human hands that pack tiny flexible parts into the tight structure of consumer electronics remains challenging”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: A question of computers and artificial intelligence
Peter Day | BBC
“It is a reflection of the ever-increasing ability of computers to search and do pattern recognition in an ever-increasing store of data. The concept of AI reflects this burgeoning power of the computer to cope with stuff. Each step on the way, each computerised victory over humans in checkers, or chess, or Jeopardy, looks like a material step towards the ultimate – machines that are as intelligent in every way as are we mortals.”

GENETICS: Read This Before You Freak Out Over Gene-Edited Superbabies
Nick Stockton | WIRED
“The point being, science needs room to figure out exactly what this technology is capable of doing. Right now, researchers have a ton of potential on their hands, but not a lot of agreement about how far that potential reaches.”

BITCOIN: Unless Everyone Using Bitcoin Makes This Radical Change, the Currency Will Die
Jordan Pearson | Motherboard
“But if Bitcoin is ever used by enough people so that blocks are 90 or even 100 percent full, the network could become congested to the point of unusability. The solution, Andresen believes, is to increase the size of each block to 20 megabytes by 2016. How? By changing Bitcoin’s underlying protocol and splitting the blockchain into two different versions—one using 1 megabyte blocks and the other using 20 megabyte blocks.

MEDIA: How digital storytelling revives the ancient art of gossip
Katherine May | AEON
“The internet didn’t create this kind of story: in fact, it’s probably the oldest narrative form of all. This is narrative as a rolling multitude of voices; a story that has no controllable ending, fading instead into a network of other tales told by a network of other people. It is the narrative of everyday life, of friends we know well and not-so-well, and the ways we use their narratives to prop up our own. We know this kind of story as deeply as we know language. This has huge implications for writers. It reveals that we’re not as keen on neat narrative arcs and emotional closure as we thought we were.”

MOBILE: There’s an Uber for Everything Now
Geoffrey Fowler | The Wall Street Journal
“Can tech companies really offer better experiences than the taqueria, flower shop or dry cleaner down the street, while taking a cut for themselves? Not necessarily. Quality control is a challenge when the supervisor is just software.

FUTURE OF EDUCATION: More STEM education won’t protect our jobs from robots
Toby Walsh | The Conversation
“If robots are going to reduce how much we work, the humanities will help us fill time that we are not working in constructive ways. Wouldn’t that be great? If the 21st century became famous for an explosion in great works of art, paintings that changed the way we see the world, symphonies that make us weep, and plays that touch the soul? Robots might one day be able to help make such art, too.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

David J. Hill
David J. Hill
David started writing for Singularity Hub in 2011 and served as editor-in-chief of the site from 2014 to 2017 and SU vice president of faculty, content, and curriculum from 2017 to 2019. His interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but he'll always be a chemist at heart.
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