AI becomes grandmaster in ‘fiendishly complex’ StarCraft II

DeepMinds AlphaStar masters game dubbed next grand challenge for AI in just 44 days An artificial intelligence (AI) system has reached the highest rank of StarCraft II, the fiendishly complex and wildly popular computer game, in a landmark achievement for the field. DeepMinds AlphaStar outperformed 99.8% of registered human players to attain grandmaster level at the game, which sees opponents build civilisations and battle their inventive, warmongering alien neighbours. The AI system mastered the game after 44 days of training, which involved learning from recordings of the best human players and then going up against itself and versions of the programme that intentionally tested its weaknesses. AlphaStar has become the first AI system to reach the top tier of human …

How a Teen Biohacker Embedded His College ID in His Hand

Three weeks ago, robotics-obsessed Evan Bryer stumbled upon the website for the aptly named biohacking company radio-frequency identification chip the size of a grain of rice with his USC student ID and phone contact information. In his right hand, hes got a password manager and links to his social-media accounts. He also put LED lights in each hand that blink from beneath his skin when a keypad or phone has been connected. I can rewrite them as many times as I want, said Bryer. Maybe my workplace will have me scan in with a badge, or I could hook these up to my door lock at home or use it to get into my car. The site, Bryer said, recommends …

Thumbs up: can you text 38 words a minute?

According to a new study, two-thumb texters are almost as fast as keyboard users. We take to the streets to see if the public are up to speed The human thumb, being opposable, is a blessed thing: we can hold a pen, send a text or play thumb war as the mood takes us. Todays digital natives will have learned to type before they crawl, and are capable of bashing out a Hey, you up? text faster than the brain can process that it is a bad decision. But not everyone is as lightning-fast: all of us know a one-finger typer, whether it is the co-worker who takes an eternity to reply to an email, or the beloved grandparent who …

To curb lobbying power, Elizabeth Warren wants to reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment

In a move to correct the imbalance of power between technologically sophisticated corporations and the lawmakers who regulate them, presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren is proposing that Congress reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment. It’s a move that gets deep into the weeds of how policy making in Washington works, but it’s something that Warren sees as essential to leveling the playing field between well-paid corporate lobbyists who are experts in their fields and over-worked, under-staffed congressional members who lack independent analysts to explain highly technical issues. “Lobbyists are filling in the gaps in congressional resources and expertise by providing Congress information from the perspective of their paying corporate clients. So let’s fix it,” writes Warren. It’s one of the …

Elon Musk unveils Starship designed to take crew on round-trips to Mars

SpaceX spacecraft would carry passengers anywhere in solar system and land back on Earth perpendicularly Elon Musk has unveiled a SpaceX spacecraft designed to carry crew and cargo to the moon, Mars or anywhere else in the solar system and land back on Earth perpendicularly. In a live-streamed speech from SpaceXs launch facility near the southern tip of Texas, Musk said on Saturday that the space ventures Starship is expected to take off for the first time in about one or two months and reach 19,800 meters (65,000ft) before returning to Earth and landing. He said it was essential for the viability of space travel to be able to reuse spacecraft, adding it was important to take steps to extend …

Scientists invent new technology to print invisible messages

Messages can only be seen under UV light and can be erased using a hairdryer Forget lemon juice and hot irons, there is a new way to write and read invisible messages and it can be used again and again. The approach, developed by researchers in China, involves using water to print messages on paper coated with manganese-containing chemicals. The message, invisible to the naked eye, can be read by shining UV light on the paper. With the use of hot air from a hairdryer, the message can be erased and the paper reused. Writing in the journal Original Article : HERE ; The Ultimate Survival Food: The Lost Ways

Jeffrey Epstein’s influence in the science world is a symptom of larger problems | Kate Darling

In a system stacked against women, we must direct our harshest judgment at people and institutions who remain silent Many of us are reeling from the recent news that MITs Media Lab, where I work as a researcher, took funding from Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier who faced federal sex-trafficking charges. For me, the Epstein connections dont stop there: Epstein had close ties to John Brockman, the founder of the heavy-hitting science literary agency that recently sold my first book. The Epstein web can appear inescapable, and for those entangled in it, theres a temptation to break out and cut all ties with his enablers. While I understand and respect that decision, Ive made a different one. I will not …

Climate crisis: aviation industry hears clamour for electric planes

Shift from fossil fuels top of agenda for Paris air show, industry having lagged behind other sectors Faced with growing calls for action on the climate crisis, aerospace companies gathering for the Paris air show next week are turning their thoughts to a future run on electricity rather than fossil fuels. The scale of the challenge is considerable. The target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050, recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and emissions laggard compared with the car industry or power generation, but improvements in the German startup Lilium and US firm Bell Helicopter small hybrid-electric commuter aircraft to market in the early 2020s, and Aurora Flight Sciences, which is also targeting air taxis. Yet for …

‘It’s ghost slavery’: the troubling world of pop holograms

Dead stars from Whitney Houston to Maria Callas are going on tour again. As Miley Cyrus explores the issue in a new Black Mirror, we uncover the greatest identity crisis in music today In the star-making Disney Channel switcheroo Hannah Montana,Miley Cyrus played a teenage girl who is able to metamorphose from regular eighth grader to pop icon, simply by donning a streaked blonde wig. Most of the show seems quaintly dated now, but one moment taps into a very 2019 pop anxiety. On foam-finger humper to The episodes trailer ends with Ashley Too acquiring potty-mouthed sentience, screaming for her owner to get this [USB] cable out of my ass! Holy Shit! Specifics are under wraps, but the episode seems …

Five tricks of the senses

Why using a white spoon can be preferable to a black one when eating yoghurt Tongues can smell Researchers in Philadelphia revealed last week that have an effect on how we determine flavour, suggesting that the brain makes judgments on food even before it goes in our mouths. Yoghurt, for example, tastes sweeter on a white spoon than it does on a black spoon. Music on the menu Various experiments show a crossover in human perception between smell and sound. University of Oxford researchers found consistencies when participants were asked to pair certain smells to musical instruments and pitches: a piano smelled fruity, while brass had a musky odour. This phenomenon is thought to be caused by an area of …