This Week’s Awesome Stories from Around the Web (Through Jun 20)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Google DeepMind Teaches Artificial Intelligence Machines to Read
arXiv | Technology Review
“A revolution in artificial intelligence is currently sweeping through computer science. The technique is called deep learning and it’s affecting everything from facial and voice to fashion and economics. But one area that has not yet benefitted is natural language processing—the ability to read a document and then answer questions about it…Today, that changes thanks to the work of Karl Moritz Hermann at Google DeepMind in London and a few pals. These guys say the special way that the Daily Mail and CNN write online news articles allows them to be used in this way.”

NEUROSCIENCE: Brain-to-text: decoding spoken phrases from phone representations in the brain
Frontiers of Neuroscience
“Here, we show for the first time that continuously spoken speech can be decoded into the expressed words from intracranial electrocorticographic (ECoG) recordings.”

COMPUTING: Quantum Computers—A little bit, better
The Economist
“Quantum computers are not better than classical ones at everything. They will not, for example, download web pages any faster or improve the graphics of computer games. But they would be able to handle problems of image and speech recognition, and real-time language translation. They should also be well suited to the challenges of the big-data era, neatly extracting wisdom from the screeds of messy information generated by sensors, medical records and stockmarkets. For the firm that makes one, riches await.”

ENVIRONMENT: We Are 100%, For Sure, in the Middle of a Major Extinction Event
Kaleigh Rogers | Motherboard
“Even using conservative estimates, the researchers found that the rate of extinction in the last 115 years is as high as 50 times what it would be under normal circumstances.”

SINGULARITY: Let’s Shape AI Before AI Shapes Us
G. Pascal Zachary | IEEE Spectrum
“Dark fantasies, however, distract attention from more urgent questions. How will AI affect employment, especially higher-paying work? When will robot writers and artists alter the way humans consume creative content? Who will be held accountable for accidents when humans are no longer in the decision or action loop? Instead of ‘wolf’ criers of the Musk sort, humans need a serious discussion about new norms and practices that will shape and govern AI.”

FUTURE OF WORK: Who Will Own the Robots?
David Rotman | Technology Review
“These are long-term trends that began decades ago, says David Autor, an MIT economist who has studied ‘job polarization’—the disappearance of middle-skill jobs even as demand increases for low-paying manual work on the one hand and highly skilled work on the other. This ‘hollowing out’ of ­the middle of the workforce, he says, ‘has been going on for a while.’ Nevertheless, the recession of 2007–2009 may have sped up the destruction of many relatively well-paid jobs requiring repetitive tasks that can be automated.”

SPACE: What It Will Take for Humans to Live on the Moon
Bryan Lufkin | Gizmodo
“We (“we” meaning robots, at least at first) need to do lots of lunar experiments. What’s the nature of the Moon’s poles? Where is the water stored? We can answer those questions using robots—a couple of surface rovers, like Curiosity on Mars. These rovers can measure temperatures, slopes, surface properties, and the measurements of existing ice. Once we figure out a way to locate this vital resource on the Moon, the real progress can begin.”

DIGITAL MEDIA: What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page?
Peter Wayner | The Atlantic
“The maker of the Kindle is going to flip the formula used for reimbursing some of the authors who depend on it for sales. Instead of paying these authors by the book, Amazon will soon start paying authors based on how many pages are read—not how many pages are downloaded, but how many pages are displayed on the screen long enough to be parsed.”

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.
Don't miss a trend
Get Hub delivered to your inbox