This Week’s Awesome Stories From Around the Web (Through February 18th)


Can Artificial Intelligence Predict Earthquakes?
Annie Sneed | Scientific American
“Along with more sophisticated computing, he [Johnson] and his team are trying something in the lab no one else has done before: They are feeding machines raw data—massive sets of measurements taken continuously before, during and after lab-simulated earthquake events. They then allow the algorithm to sift through the data to look for patterns that reliably signal when an artificial quake will happen.”


The Cute Robot That Follows You Around and Schleps All Your Stuff
David Pierce | WIRED
“The team’s first product is Gita, a round rolling robot that can carry up to 40 pounds of cargo for miles at a time. Rather than get you from A to B as fast as possible, it’s meant to get you there more easily. More than that, Gita is a way to begin to explore what the world looks like when humans and robots share the sidewalk. And, hopefully, to make that idea seem a little less scary.”


Scientists Can Now Genetically Engineer Humans. A Big New Report Asks Whether We Should.
Brad Plumer | VOX News
“On Tuesday, the influential National Academy of Sciences released a 261-page report on this issue, titled “Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics, and Governance.” It’s one of the most thorough looks yet at what’s likely to be possible with new genome-editing techniques—and why scientists should tread carefully. The report’s recommendations are eyebrow-raising.”


Microbes, a Love Story
Moises Velasquez-Manoff | The New York Times
“What Dr. Erdman’s research suggests is that the microbes we carry, the same ones that make us attractive to potential mates, also directly influence our reproductive success. So when mammals choose mates based on the glow of health, they’re choosing not just an attractive set of genes, but also perhaps a microbial community that might facilitate reproduction.”


NASA Is Thinking About Putting Astronauts on the First Flight of Its Future Giant Rocket
Loren Grush | The Verge
“The current plan for EM-1 is to launch the SLS [Space Launch System] from Kennedy Space Center on September 30th, 2018. The vehicle is supposed to carry NASA’s Orion crew capsule—without a crew—into an orbit around the Moon. Orion will spend a total of three weeks in space before coming back and landing on Earth with the aid of parachutes. Astronauts would then ride inside Orion for the first time on EM-2, the second flight of the SLS. That trip isn’t supposed to happen until 2021 at the earliest.”


“The Relentless Pace of Automation”
David Rotman | MIT Technology Review
“But many economists argue that automation bears much more blame than globalization for the decline of jobs in the region’s manufacturing sector and the gutting of its middle class… It is ‘glaringly obvious,’ says Daron Acemoglu, an economist at MIT, that political leaders are “totally unprepared” to deal with how automation is changing employment.”

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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