MODERN artificial intelligence is much feted. But its talents boil down to a superhuman ability to spot patterns in large volumes of data. Facebook has used this ability to produce maps of poor regions in unprecedented detail
CRAIG VENTER, boss of Human Longevity, a San Diego-based company that is building the world’s largest genomic database, is a rebel. In the late 1990s he declared that the international, publicly funded project to sequence the human genome was doing in wrong, and developed a cheaper and quicker method of his own.
THE human face is a remarkable piece of work. The astonishing variety of facial features helps people recognise each other and is crucial to the formation of complex societies. So is the face’s ability to send emotional signals, whether through an involuntary blush or the artifice of a false smile.
TOURING the headquarters of Megvii in Beijing is like visiting Big Brother’s engine room. A video camera in the firm’s lobby recognises visitors in the blink of an eye. Other such devices are deployed around the office.
DANIEL KISH SEES more than you might expect, for a blind man. Like many individuals deprived of sight, he relies on his non-visual senses to navigate the world. But people tend to find Kish’s abilities rather remarkable.
Laparoscopic surgeries are often automatically recorded from the point of view of the endoscope’s lens. This is thanks to built-in recording equipment that accompanies many commercial endoscopic systems.
YOU NEED JUST two eyes and two ears to drive. Those remarkable sensors provide all the info you need to, say, know that a fire engine is coming up fast behind you, so get out of the way. Autonomous vehicles need a whole lot more than that.
BEAUTY, proverbially, is in the eye of the beholder. But surroundings matter. A paper published two years ago in Nature found a correlation between people’s sense of well-being and the “scenicness” of where they lived.
Researchers have crafted algorithms that can blend an audio recording of someone talking with a video of them saying something else – and create a new convincing lip-synched video with the replacement sound.
EARLIER this year Françoise Hardy was asked in a YouTube video why President Donald Trump sent his press secretary, Sean Spicer, to lie about the size of the inauguration crowd. First, Ms Hardy argues.
We’ve heard it all before: For every job a human can do, there’s a robot that can do it better, faster, and without posting whiny memes about the Monday struggle. But when a researcher decided to test a robot’s ability to complete one job requiring a specific kind of creativity, she was pleasantly surprised to find the bot was a bit of a failure.