Flops, brought to you by A.I.

"To err" is to be robotic — apparently.

  • About 3.1 million individuals could lose their job to self-driving cars.
  • A.I. is not a monolith. It makes a lot of mistakes.
  • To better understand how to navigate our economic future, we should pay attention to these mistakes.

Artificial intelligence can drive a car, buy and sell stocks, and perform healthcare tasks, amongst numerous other tasks as the technology grows and changes each day. Despite how impressive some of these developments are, concern has consistently been expressed over humans losing jobs to robots powered by A.I.

At the end of 2016, for instance, the White House predicted that 3.1 million individuals who drive for work could see their jobs replaced by autonomous vehicles. However, A.I. isn't going to take every job in the world — not just yet, at least. In order to better understand that fact and the nature of what constitutes artificial intelligence, it's worth taking a look not just its successes, but its failures, curiosities, and hiccups as well.

A list has been making its way around Twitter's scientific community featuring, as one individual put it, "instances of A.I. doing what creators specify, not what they mean." It is a delight. Here are some of our favorites:

1. A robotic arm trained to move a block to a certain point on the table opted to move the table to the block instead.

2. A.I. was charged with evolving a creature built for speed — and so grew a really tall creature who generated high velocities by. . . falling over.

3. In one A.I.-overseen simulation, where creatures required energy and giving birth cost no energy, one species evolved themselves into a lifestyle that consisted of them sitting around, mating, and then eating their children.

4. A four-legged creature trained to carry a ball on its back decided to, instead, drop the ball between its legs and wiggle across a floor.

5. A pancake-making robot decided that the best way to make a pancake would be to throw it as high in the air as possible to keep it as far away as possible from the ground.

6. A creature learns to bait an opponent into following it off a cliff, which gives the creature enough points to get an extra life — which is a strategy the creature then pursues in an infinite loop.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
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Forget "text neck." New research suggests humans are growing horns.

Three academic papers from Australia shows sizable bone spurs growing at the base of our skulls.

Surprising Science
  • A team of researchers in Queensland says 33% of the Australian population has sizable bone spurs growing at the base of their skulls.
  • This postural deformity, enthesophytes, results in chronic headaches and upper back and neck pain.
  • The likelihood humans will alter their addiction to this technology is low, so this might be a major consequence of technology.
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Scientists turn nuclear waste into diamond batteries

They'll reportedly last for thousands of years. This technology may someday power spacecraft, satellites, high-flying drones, and pacemakers.

Woman looking at a diamond.
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Nuclear energy is carbon free, which makes it an attractive and practical alternative to fossil fuels, as it doesn't contribute to global warming. We also have the infrastructure for it already in place. It's nuclear waste that makes fission bad for the environment. And it lasts for so long, some isotopes for thousands of years. Nuclear fuel is comprised of ceramic pellets of uranium-235 placed within metal rods. After fission takes place, two radioactive isotopes are left over: cesium-137 and strontium-90.

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Facebook finally unveils its cryptocurrency. What we know about Libra so far.

Facebook was careful to say that Libra is not maintained internally and is instead serviced by a non-profit collective of companies.

Technology & Innovation
  • Facebook has just announced its new cryptocurrency, Libra.
  • Early investors include many of the world's leading companies, implying they will accept Libra as payment
  • The announcement was met with a mixed response, but only time will tell how Libra will be received
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