The Age of Artificial Intelligence

This week, Watson takes on humans at "Jeopardy!" But how close are we to a computer that thinks? Google's director of research explains how far we've come.

Early A.I. research concentrated on what seemed to be difficult intellectual tasks, such as playing grandmaster level chess, or proving theorems in integral calculus. But it turned out that these examples of logical thinking are actually not so difficult for a computer to duplicate; all it takes is a few well-defined rules and a lot of computing power. In contrast, tasks that we at first thought were easy turned out to be hard. A toddler (or a dog) can distinguish hundreds of objects (ball, bottle, blanket, mother, etc.) just by glancing at them, but it turned out to be very difficult to build a computer vision system that performs at this level.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

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Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

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Dead – yes, dead – tardigrade found beneath Antarctica

A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.

(Goldstein Lab/Wkikpedia/Tigerspaws/Big Think)
Surprising Science
  • Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
  • The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
  • Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
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Physicists puzzled by strange numbers that could explain reality

Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.

Surprising Science
  • Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
  • The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
  • Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
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Why are women more religious than men? Because men are more willing to take risks.

It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.

Photo credit: Alina Strong on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
  • A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
  • The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
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