Cosmologists are evaluating the proof behind gravitational waves, journalists are investigating how to understand “truth” in the era of information overload, and roboticists are building crash-proof drones equipped with roll cages—these are some of our favorite stories this week from around the web.


ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: How Economists View the Rise of Artificial Intelligence
Jonathan Vanian | Fortune
“According to professor Ajay Agrawal of the University of Toronto, humanity should be pondering how the ability of cutting edge A.I. techniques like deep learning could reshape the global economy…However, one group of people refused to call the Internet a new economy: economists. For them, the Internet didn’t usher in a new economy per se, instead it simply altered the existing economy…”

ROBOTICS: The Secret to Small Drone Obstacle Avoidance Is to Just Crash Into Stuff
Evan Ackerman | IEEE Spectrum
“In designing its flying vehicles, the UPenn group sought a bio-inspired approach, focusing on small and resilient quadrotors. The group built a fleet of 25-gram, 10-centimeter-wide pico quads, each featuring a lightweight, Gömböc-inspired self-righting roll cage made from a heat-cured yarn consisting of 12,000 strands of carbon fiber.”

MACHINE LEARNING: Machine Learning Is No Longer Just for Experts
Josh Schwartz | Harvard Business Review
“Just as important is that over the last five years, machine learning has become far more accessible to nonexperts, opening up access to a vast group of people…With massive increases in the data being generated and stored by many applications, though, the set of companies with data sets on which machine learning algorithms could be applied has significantly expanded.”

PHYSICS: The Cosmologists Who Faked It
Jonah Kanner & Alan Weinstein | Nautilus
“In science, the question of when to believe is a deep and ancient problem. There is no universal answer, and evaluating the merits of any potential discovery always includes considering the prior beliefs of the people involved. There is no way around this…This was the genius of the fake signal injection: Whatever the prior belief of an individual scientist might be, it gave him or her reason to doubt it.”

BLOCKCHAIN: Web Pioneer Tries to Incubate a Second Digital Revolution
Tom Simonite | MIT Technology Review
“Hyperledger exists to accelerate development of the software needed to get blockchains working, and has almost 100 corporate backers including IBM, J.P. Morgan, and Airbus. Behlendorf says that blockchains will have additional benefits beyond large corporate commerce. He’s had frustrating experiences trying to improve government and public infrastructure using technology, and says in retrospect blockchains would have helped.”

INTERNET & SOCIETY: How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth
The New York Times
“Digital technology has blessed us with better ways to capture and disseminate news. There are cameras and audio recorders everywhere, and as soon as something happens, you can find primary proof of it online. You would think that greater primary documentation would lead to a better cultural agreement about the ‘truth.’ In fact, the opposite has happened.”


Image Credit: Shutterstock

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).