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Scientists can now predict at birth who will have academic success
Study identifies predictors of which students are likely to do well in education.
- Researchers looked at data from 5,000 students and found 2 factors that were strongly linked to academic success.
- Students with genetic predisposition towards academics were much more likely to go to University.
- Equally important was having well-educated parents with wealth.
Will your child be a good student? A new study claims it's possible to predict how successful kids will be in academics at the moment of their birth.
An international research team discovered that the genetic differences and the socioeconomic status of the parents were key in establishing future success in school. Interestingly, just having good genes is not the most important factor. Having parents with their own great education and wealth has more of an impact.
The study, which looked at data from 5,000 children born in the UK between 1994 and 1996, found that among those who made it to University, about 47% of the children had a genetic predisposition for education but were from a poorer background. Tellingly, compare that to 62% of the kids who made it to University while having a low genetic predisposition for academics but had parents with money.
The kids who did the best, with 77% going to University, had both rich, well-educated parents, and were blessed with good genes for academics.
On the flip side, among the children with less genetic propensity and whose families were on the low end of prosperity, only 21% made it to University.
For their analysis, the researchers looked at test results at key stages of the children's education, data about their parents work and education, as well as genome-wide polygenic scoring to look at the effects of inherited genetic differences.
The study's lead author, Professor Sophie von Stumm from U.K.'s University of York, said their study captured "the effects of both nature and nurture".
She noted that their research also indicated that growing up with privilege can have a negative "protective effect", adding "Having a genetic makeup that makes you more inclined to education does make a child from a disadvantaged background more likely to go to university, but not as likely as a child with a lower genetic propensity from a more advantaged background."
How can we best help students? Cultivate their love for learning.
Professor von Stumm also pointed out that ultimately the study showed how unequal access to education can be among children. "Where you come from has a huge impact on how well you do in school," she said.
The researchers, who hailed from UK's University College London and Kings College London, as well as the University of New Mexico in the U.S., hope to use the study to identify the children most at risk of getting a poor education.
"Deepfakes" and "cheap fakes" are becoming strikingly convincing — even ones generated on freely available apps.
- A writer named Magdalene Visaggio recently used FaceApp and Airbrush to generate convincing portraits of early U.S. presidents.
- "Deepfake" technology has improved drastically in recent years, and some countries are already experiencing how it can weaponized for political purposes.
- It's currently unknown whether it'll be possible to develop technology that can quickly and accurately determine whether a given video is real or fake.
The future of deepfakes<p>In 2018, Gabon's president Ali Bongo had been out of the country for months receiving medical treatment. After Bongo hadn't been seen in public for months, rumors began swirling about his condition. Some suggested Bongo might even be dead. In response, Bongo's administration released a video that seemed to show the president addressing the nation.</p><p>But the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=324528215059254" target="_blank">video</a> is strange, appearing choppy and blurry in parts. After political opponents declared the video to be a deepfake, Gabon's military attempted an unsuccessful coup. What's striking about the story is that, to this day, experts in the field of deepfakes can't conclusively verify whether the video was real. </p><p>The uncertainty and confusion generated by deepfakes poses a "global problem," according to a <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/is-seeing-still-believing-the-deepfake-challenge-to-truth-in-politics/#cancel" target="_blank">2020 report from The Brookings Institution</a>. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense released some of the first tools able to successfully detect deepfake videos. The problem, however, is that deepfake technology keeps improving, meaning forensic approaches may forever be one step behind the most sophisticated forms of deepfakes. </p><p>As the 2020 report noted, even if the private sector or governments create technology to identify deepfakes, they will:</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"...operate more slowly than the generation of these fakes, allowing false representations to dominate the media landscape for days or even weeks. "A lie can go halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on," warns David Doermann, the director of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at the University of Buffalo. And if defensive methods yield results short of certainty, as many will, technology companies will be hesitant to label the likely misrepresentations as fakes."</p>
Context is everything.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a number of new behaviours into daily routines, like physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizing. Meanwhile, many old behaviours such as attending events, eating out and seeing friends have been put on hold.
A new study looks at how images of coffee's origins affect the perception of its premiumness and quality.
- Images can affect how people perceive the quality of a product.
- In a new study, researchers show using virtual reality that images of farms positively influence the subjects' experience of coffee.
- The results provide insights on the psychology and power of marketing.