Science

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence, and the impact it will have on our society

AI – most commonly known as artificial intelligence.

As a society, we have already embedded AI into our normal daily livings. Do you search on google search engines? Do you use facial recognition on your phone? Do you have a voice-controlled device in your home? Most people would just think that these devices are just modern-day valuables.

But with technology increasing at a rapid rate, how far will AI go? Could AI cure diseases like cancer or HIV? Or could humans use a personalised robot as a house assistant? This may sound exciting to some, but one of the world’s most reputable physicists, Stephen Hawking, shows extreme scepticism towards AI.

The scientist explained at the opening of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI) at Cambridge University that AI will be “either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity”.

 

 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines artificial intelligence as “the study and development of computer systems that can copy intelligent human behaviour”, and Bernard Marr has categorised AI into four categories:

Reactive

Reactive AIhas no memory, and only responds to certain stimuli. This is the oldest type of AI and does not have learning ability. It can only automatically respond to a limited set or a combination of inputted information. IBMs Deep blue – a computer that in 1997, beat chess-master Garry Kasparov – is the best example of reactive technology.

Limited memory

Limited AI uses memory to learn and improve its response. Limited memory technology is capable of learning from previously inputted data from the introduction of algorithms back in 2012, and according to Forbes “nearly all existing applications that we know of come under this category of AI”. Google search engine is an example of limited memory, as it uses algorithms from data inputted, but can also interpret data it observes, and adjust when necessary.

Theory of mind

Theory of mind AI understands the needs of other intelligent entities. Bernard Marr explains that the theory of mind technology “are machines [that] acquire decision-making capabilities equal to humans”. Theory of mind level AI can understand what it is interacting with, judging its characteristics and thought processes. Sophie the Robot is the latest milestone in the theory of mind AI.

Self-aware

This type of technology has human-like intelligence and self-awareness. These machines will be fully aware of not only human emotions, but of their own. Currently, this AI is not yet been produced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the impact AI will have our society?

Computer scientist Dr. Kai-Fu Lee explained in an interview with CBS that artificial intelligence “is going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity.” And here are some examples of how AI could change our lives. Whether for the good or bad, you can decide.

Smart homes

The obvious example that AI could change our lives is AI for personal use. Homes are becoming smarter and smarter, as most households now contain artificial intelligence. Smartphones are the best example. Statista states that 3.8 billion people have access to a smartphone, meaning over a third of the global population has access to a device that can augment reality, recognise faces and fingerprints, and can predict text. Additionally, the first-ever smart fridge was introduced in the year 2000 and has surged in popularity. However, Times reports that in the next 10 years it is predicted that households will contain a robot kitchen arm used for helping people with the cooking, smart showers with voice control, and shape-shifting furniture.

Smart cities

Believe it or not, cities are also using AI. Countries in the European Union – and yes, that does include ex-member  United Kingdom – have started to implement AI, which according to the union’s website “enable[es]ing smart urban solutions brings multiple benefits, including more efficient energy, water and waste management, reduced pollution, noise and traffic congestions”.

Organisation ASME have reported the top 10 upcoming smart cities, naming Singapore, Oslo, New York, London, and Dubai as examples. Also, Forbes regards that in the “Chinese city of Hangzhou, an AI-based smart “City Brain” has helped to reduce traffic jams by 15 percent”. Moreover, sources predict that “automated visual garbage sorting using robots, visual inspection of power transmission lines using drones equipped with cameras” will be implemented, and potentially a microchip – that will be planted in a human hand – could be used for future payments.

Smart militaries

Finally, it has been reported that various countries are starting to use AI in their military. Scholar Elsa Kania conveys that the “Chinese military and China’s defense industry have been pursuing significant investments in robotics, swarming, and other applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)”.

Contrarily, journalist Harry Lea explains that China’s interest in using AI or military uses has forced the US to take action, in which previous US secretary of defence Mark Esper explained that “China believes it can leapfrog our current technology and go straight to the next generation.”

Yes, the world does seem technological. However, how reliant are we as a society becoming on AI?

The future is looking like our homes may be reliant on intelligent furniture, but will robots fight future wars?

Do UFOs exist? Everything you need to know about UFOs

Do UFOs exist? Everything you need to know about UFOs

Most people will agree that one of the best views is the sky on a clear night.

Especially where there is no light pollution, such as in deserts or small towns, the eye can see as much as possible – the moon, the countless number of stars, and luckily maybe even a shooting star.
But there is one question that stalls even the smartest, and most experienced minds.
Is there anybody out there?
By anybody, most people think anything living. Anything extra-terrestrial. Anything alien.
The definition of alien according to the Oxford dictionary is strange and frightening. Something that is different from what you are used to. And this definition could apply to many contexts.
For example, an individual could be in an alien land; frightened and alone. Or a professional could see an alien object in the sky.
A professional like Nick Pope, a former civil servant for the UK government/Ministry of Defence. An established journalist and author. Through his experience of working, he is sure about one thing.
There are unexplainable unidentified flying objects in the sky.
Pope has explained that throughout his time of working with the government, he is confident that there are unknown objects that fly into the British air space – objects that could practically threaten Britain, and her society. And Pope’s job was to explore these objects.
“If there was something in our airspace, the government, the Ministry of Defence, or the air force needs to know what it is”, and the most logical reasoning for these objects was to assume they were from planet Earth.
“We asked ourselves for example, could some of it be from Russian aircraft probing our defences?”.
 Although logic suggests that a threatening country could send the aircraft, “you cannot rule out” the possibility of the unknown.
“If it is unknown, it is unknown. Could it be something else?”.
Could these unknown UFOs be extraterrestrial?
The professional explained that there have been some objects that had unexplainable moments, that government and Royal Air Force officials could not even explain.
“These UFOs were more advanced in terms of their speeds, their manoeuvres, and acceleration being better than ours”.

“For example, objects that were apparently capable of – according to visual sightings of the pilots and the radar data –were capable of doing a sharp right-hand turn. Or, moving from a very slow speed or a hover to high speeds in an instance. All sorts of things that if you asked an RAF pilot to do it, they would say the plane does not do that”.

“On many occasions, this has been reported with UFOs, no sonic boom is heard. So again, what is the mechanism for that?”.
This type of technology and physics is too advanced for humans, and this is the reason why Pope believes the government should carry on exploring UFOs, as the Ministry of Defence stopped the policy in 2009.
“The government stopped as they wanted to put their funds towards better defence”.
This contrasts with the USA, which recently the pentagon released a report that involved observations made by military aviators between the years 2004 and 2021.
The report is “largely inclusive” according to Intelligencer, and it conveys that the UFOs identified do not have “extraterrestrial origin… but that doesn’t mean the task force has ruled that possibility out, however”.
This is like Pope’s statement that it was “unnecessary for the British government to stop their investigations”.
“We did not have definitive proof that any of these things were extra-terrestrial, but neither did we rule out the possibility, and neither should we”.
When asked about what extra-terrestrial life could look like, Pope explains that people think of the “typical Hollywood aliens”.
“People think big green men with long arms”, but Pope explained that the slightest number of bacteria in space could prove that alien life exists.

“Science always tries to think big. So even that the slightest touch of bacteria could potentially mean that alien life does exist, that will not be enough for science”.

“They would expect something bigger, say outside our solar system”.
Will we ever find out if alien life exists? Well according to Pope, the only way is to keep on researching.

Pfizer vaccine less effective against Delta variant, according to study in Israel

A study in Israel has explained that BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine appears to be less effective at preventing COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

YNET news – an Israeli news organisation – has stated that according to the Israeli ministry of health the vaccine is less effective against coronavirus infection rates.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine against infection has dropped to 64% in the past month, against the background of the spread of the Delta strain and the cancellation of restrictions”.

However, the data suggests that the vaccine is still extremely effective in hospitalization rates. Between the 2nd of May and the 5th of June, the vaccine was 98 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations.

Moreover, according to POLITICO, this data is also supported by UK data, as they stated: “The vaccines are less effective at preventing infections with the Delta variant, but that they remain effective at preventing severe disease”.

Public Health England has further explained that one dose of the vaccines provides between 55 to 70 percent efficacy, and two provide 65 to 90 percent.

Picture is owned by NIAID and is licensed under CC BY 2.0

China is now officially free from Malaria, according to WHO

China is now certified by the World Health Organisation to be officially free from malaria.

This is a major milestone for the upcoming superpower – a country that has a population with over 1 billion.

The WHO conveys on their website “after a decades-long effort drove an estimated annual toll of 30 million cases in the 1940s, including 300,000 deaths, to zero in 2017”.

Moreover, the organisation claims that China has developed new surveillance techniques, medicines, and technologies to help break the cycle of transmission between the Anopheles mosquitoes – the insects that spread malaria.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General stated that “their [China’s] success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action”.

China is noted to be the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades – with Australia, Singapore, and Brunei Darussalam being awarded in 1981, 1982, and 1987 respectively.

The scholar also conveyed that “China joins the growing number of countries that are showing the world that a malaria-free future is a viable goal”.

The UK was noted as a country where malaria never existed or disappeared without specific measures in 1963.

 

Photo belongs to matt512 is licensed under CC BY 2.0