This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through September 17th)

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: Video Games Are So Realistic That They Can Teach AI What the World Looks Like
Jordan Pearson | Motherboard
“Games these days are so realistic, in fact, that artificial intelligence researchers are using them to teach computers how to recognize objects in real life. Not only that, but commercial video games could kick artificial intelligence research into high gear by dramatically lessening the time and money required to train AI.”

GENETICS: This New Gene Technology Could Wipe out Entire Species—to Save Others
Chelsea Harvey | The Washington Post
“Scientists from around the world are currently gathered in Hawaii for an international conservation congress… One topic on the table is a form of genetic editing called ‘gene drive’ technology, which can be used to alter—or even wipe out—entire species… Gene drives are a naturally occurring phenomenon—they’re found in all kinds of species in nature. But it wasn’t until recently, with the advent of new genetic engineering tools, that scientists realized they could be harnessed by humans.”

FUTURE OF LEARNING: Teaching Me Softly
Alan S. Brown | Nautilus
“Vapnik is one of a growing body of artificial intelligence (AI) researchers discovering something that teachers have long known—or at least, believed—to be true: There is a special, valuable communication that occurs between teacher and student, which goes beyond what can be found in any textbook or raw data stream. By bringing the tools of computation and machine intuition to the table, AI researchers are giving us a more complete picture of how we learn.”

TRANSPORTATION: My Self-Driving Uber Needed Human Help
Will Knight | MIT Technology Review
“‘We’re going to slowly start inviting our most loyal Pittsburgh riders to experience the future,’ says Raffi Krikorian, director of the Uber Advanced Technology Center in Pittsburgh. ‘If they call for a ride, then a self-driving Uber might turn up.’… Uber’s ambitious effort reflects the upheaval being felt across the entire transportation industry. With automakers and other companies exploring the ride-sharing business, Uber, which is valued in excess of $50 billion, clearly feels the need to stay ahead of the technology curve to ensure it does not get left behind.”

PHYSICS: Taming the Quantum Spooks
Huw Price &  Ken Wharton | Aeon
“Now at last we get to the heart of the new argument for retrocausality in the quantum world. It turns on the fact that physics doesn’t seem to care about the direction of time. If the laws allow a physical process, they also allow the same process running in reverse. This isn’t true of many everyday processes–eggs turn into omelettes, but not the reverse!–but that seems to be a result of large-scale statistical effects associated with the second law of thermodynamics. At the fundamental level, there is no way to tell whether a video of physical processes is being played forwards or backwards.”

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Alison E. Berman
Alison E. Berman
Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).
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