Category

Science

Category

New Earpiece Translates Foreign Languages While You Speak

A new device that delivers foreign language translations directly to your ear almost instantly has just gone on sale. The Translate One2One is an earpiece that can accurately translate spoken conversations and written text across eight of the world’s most widely-spoken languages within 3-5 seconds which include Chinese, English and Spanish. The device has been hailed as a real-world equivalent of the Babel fish, the famous fictional creature from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s powered by IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, and takes mere seconds to complete a translation and play it to you. It currently works across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese. It “overcomes many of the contextual challenges associated with common languages, as well as understanding the nuances of local slang and dialects,” the company says. “For example, in Spanish ‘LL’ could be pronounced “y”, “j” or “sh”, depending on the dialect.” Crucially,…

Facebook’s New AI Research Gives Hope For The Future Of Bots

While many expect chat bots to become a huge part of our AI-dominated future, they have been rather underwhelming so far. Behind almost any online bot are drop-down menus, slightly tweaked to appear as questions. This makes the whole experience way too robotic. In order to reach new heights, chatbots need new skills. They need to get cognitive abilities to reason with people. And these abilities might not be as far as you think. Facebook has been a major player in this field for a long time. They already launched their chatbot assistant, simply known as M. Yes, it’s true that it’s still humans who do all the difficult tasks, but it’s a step in the right direction. Facebook also created an open-source tool, designed to teach bots. Read also: Tech Titans Bought 34 AI Startups In Early 2017 Yesterday, the social media giant’s researchers from the FAIR lab showed a…

The 12-Year Mars Mission in 6 Photos and a Video

Mars and the Earth may have more in common than we thought. NASA just revealed photos of Mars taken by its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The images look strikingly similar to planet Earth. The MRO, which has sent thousands of vibrant images back to scientists, has documented everything from dust storms to mineral hills since its launch nearly 12 years ago. The landscapes are somewhat like red deserts or canyons. “Earth has more in common with Mars than you might think,” NASA wrote in a recent video uploaded to YouTube. MRO is used to better understand materials, subsurface water, dust and weather on Mars, according to NASA’s website. It’s also great at supplying us with gorgeous photos of the red planet. Check out some of them below: “A Mesa in Noctis Labyrinthus” A small, 0.4-kilometer mesa, which is a type of landform. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech “Layers and Dark Dunes” “Much of Mars’…

Scientists Have Found the Oldest Known Human Fossils

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, around 62 miles west of what would eventually become Marrakesh, a group of people lived in a cave overlooking a lush Moroccan landscape. They rested there, building fires to keep themselves warm. They hunted there, sharpening stone tools to bring down animals.And they died there, leaving their bones behind in the dirt. At the time, there would have been nothing particularly notable about these cave-dwellers. They were yet more Homo sapiens, members of a nascent ape species that had spread across Africa. But in their death, they have become singularly important.That cave is now called Jebel Irhoud, and bones of its former occupants have been recently unearthed by an international team of scientists. They mark the earliest fossilized remains ofThey mark the earliest fossilized remains of Homo sapiens ever found. Until now, that honor belonged to two Ethiopian fossils that are 160,000 and 195,000…

The First Space-Based ‘Nation’ Wants to Store Data Off-Planet, Beyond the Law

Self-proclaimed ‘space nation’ Asgardia will launch a satellite later this year to test the concept of long-term data storage in orbit around the Earth. This potentially opens the door to off-planet data and tax havens, according to filings obtained by Motherboard, and represents an important step towards the group’s proclaimed goal of starting a private nation in space. In October 2016, an international team of scientists and researchers led by Russian businessman and computer scientist Igor Ashurbeyli announced the founding of Asgardia. The wannabe private nation hopes to eventually fly inhabited space stations, to protect the Earth from extraterrestrial threats like asteroids, and to create a demilitarized and freely accessible base of scientific knowledge permanently in orbit. So far, over 180,000 Earthlings have pledged allegiance to this hypothetical orbital country by filling out a citizenship form online. Anyone on Earth can apply, without sacrificing their existing nationality. Asgardia is currently…

A Tale of How The Soviets Almost Invented The Internet

Visions of an advanced post capitalist economy run by digital networks have long haunted the socialist imagination. Alexander Bogdanov’s 1909 Bolshevik sci-fi fantasy novel Red Star imagined the achievement of communist utopia on Mars, an abundance of wealth and leisure made possible by a sophisticated command economy planned and automated by prototype computers. Cerebral Martian engineers, their “delicate brains” connected to the machines through “subtle and invisible” threads, fine-tune economic inputs and outputs from a control room tracking production gluts and shortfalls. Bogdanov’s thought experiment anticipated contemporary speculations about the possibilities digital networks open for new forms of economic exchange. One current best-seller, Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism, suggests that the ease with which information can be shared online, together with the advent of 3D printing technologies, is seeding a new economy in which goods and services can be exchanged for free. Another, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’s Inventing the Future, envisages…

Data Science and AI Craft a New Super-player for a Football Club

S.L. Benfica—Portugal’s top football team and one of the best teams in the world—makes as much money from carefully nurturing, training, and selling players as actually playing football. Football teams have always sold and traded players, of course, but Sport Lisboa e Benfica has turned it into an art form: buying young talent; using advanced technology, data science, and training to improve their health and performance; and then selling them for tens of millions of pounds—sometimes as much as 10 or 20 times the original fee. Let me give you a few examples. Benfica signed 17-year-old Jan Oblak in 2010 for €1.7 million; in 2014, as he blossomed into one of the best goalies in the world, Atlético Madrid picked him up for a cool €16 million. In 2007 David Luiz joined Benfica for €1.5 million; just four years later, Luiz was traded to Chelsea for €25 million and player Nemanja Matic. Then, three years after that,…

Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs Couldn’t Have Picked the Worst Possible Spot for Global Annihilation

The researchers recovered rocks from under the Gulf of Mexico that were hit by an asteroid 66 million years ago. The nature of this material records the details of the event. It is becoming clear that the 15km-wide asteroid could not have hit a worse place on Earth. The shallow sea covering the target site meant colossal volumes of sulfur (from the mineral gypsum) were injected into the atmosphere, extending the “global winter” period that followed the immediate firestorm. Had the asteroid struck a different location, the outcome might have been very different. “This is where we get to the great irony of the story – because in the end it wasn’t the size of the asteroid, the scale of blast, or even its global reach that made dinosaurs extinct – it was where the impact happened,” said Ben Garrod, who presents The Day The Dinosaurs Died with Alice Roberts.…

There Are Diseases Hidden in Ice, and They Are Waking Up

Throughout history, humans have existed side-by-side with bacteria and viruses. From the bubonic plague to smallpox, we have evolved to resist them, and in response, they have developed new ways of infecting us. We have had antibiotics for almost a century, ever since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. In response, bacteria have responded by evolving antibiotic resistance. The battle is endless: because we spend so much time with pathogens, we sometimes develop a kind of natural stalemate. However, what would happen if we were suddenly exposed to deadly bacteria and viruses that have been absent for thousands of years, or that we have never met before? We may be about to find out. Climate change is melting permafrost soils that have been frozen for thousands of years, and as the soils melt they are releasing ancient viruses and bacteria that, having lain dormant, are springing back to life. In August 2016,…