This AI Hunts Poachers


An artificial intelligence program developed by researchers at the University of Southern California uses machine learning algorithms to predict where poaching is likely to occur. Researchers at the University of Southern California have developed Protection Assistant for Wildlife Security (PAWS), an artificial intelligence program that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze data from past animal patrols to predict where poaching is likely to occur. Meanwhile, a game theory model helps generate randomized, unpredictable patrol routes. PAWS has produced good results during field tests in Uganda and Malaysia, and in the coming year its use will expand to China and Cambodia. The PAWS system also could be integrated into an existing tracking tool called SMART, which wildlife conservation agencies have deployed at most sites around the world to collect and manage patrol data.

And the Award for Most Nauseating Self-Driving Car Goes to …

MIT Technology Review

In many ways this year's CES looked a lot more like an autonomous-car show than a consumer electronics show. There were announcements aplenty from the likes of Ford, Baidu, Toyota, and others about self-driving vehicles, upcoming driving tests, and new partners. In a parking lot across from the Las Vegas Convention Center, several companies offered rides; you could even schedule a ride in a self-driving Lyft through the company's app and get dropped off at one of many casinos on the Strip. A couple of miles away in downtown Las Vegas, an eight-passenger autonomous shuttle bus ran in a loop around Fremont Street. It was part of an ongoing test between commuter transit company Keolis, autonomous-car maker Navya, and the city.

Op-Ed Contributor: Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here's Exhibit A.

NYT > Home Page

This week, a video surfaced of a Harvard professor, Steven Pinker, which appeared to show him lauding members of a racist movement. The clip, which was pulled from a November event at Harvard put on by Spiked magazine, showed Mr. Pinker referring to "the often highly literate, highly intelligent people who gravitate to the alt-right" and calling them "internet savvy" and "media savvy." The neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website ran an article headlined, in part, "Harvard Jew Professor Admits the Alt-Right Is Right About Everything." A tweet of the video published by the self-described "Right-Wing Rabble-Rouser" Alex Witoslawski got hundreds of retweets, including one from the white-nationalist leader Richard Spencer. "Steven Pinker has long been a darling of the white supremacist'alt-right,'" noted the lefty journalist Ben Norton.

Russia says DIY drones that attacked its base in Syria came from a rebel village

General News Tweet Watch

Russia on Wednesday identified the village from which a swarm of drones attacked its main military base in Syria and released photographs of the crudely constructed aircraft that were used. The revelations only somewhat cleared up the mystery surrounding what amounts to the biggest concerted attack on Russia's main military base of Hmeimim since the Russian military intervention in Syria began in 2015. Russia said it held Turkey accountable for the drone attack, calling it a breach of their cease-fire agreement in northern Syria, while Turkey accused Russia and Iran of jeopardizing the entire peace process by launching an offensive to take control of an opposition-held air base in the area. The Russian Defense Ministry named the opposition-controlled village of Muwazarra in southern Idlib province as the location from which a swarm of at least a dozen drones armed with crude explosives was launched Saturday, attacking the Hmeimim air base and the nearby naval base of Tartus in northwestern Syria. Under the cease-fire deal, Turkey is supposed to restrain opposition forces in Idlib province.

Robotic implant could help children with rare disorder eat again

New Scientist Online News

Some children are born with their oesophagus in two segments, so the tube doesn't connect to their stomach. A new robotic implant might help treat this serious condition, known as oesophageal atresia. The robot consists of two steel rings, some sensors and a motor, all sealed in a protective waterproof skin. The device is attached to the outside of one section of the oesophagus and gently elongates it by moving the rings apart. Once the organ is long enough, the two segments can be stitched together.

A Robot That Tugs on Pig Organs Could Save Human Babies


The pig looks like any other pig, only it's been wearing a backpack for a week--in the name of science. Just behind its head sits a control box, with a battery and processor, from which runs a cable that enters through the pig's flank. Once inside, the cable attaches to a very special robot clamped onto the pig's esophagus, the pathway to the stomach. Little by little, the robot lengthens, in turn lengthening the tube. The robot attached to a segment of esophagus.

Siri, Cortana, And Alexa Carry The Marks Of Their Human Makers


Jimena Canales is a faculty member of the Graduate College at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a research affiliate at MIT. She focuses on 19th and 20th century history of the physical sciences and science in the modern world. Her most recent book is titled The Physicist and the Philosopher: Einstein, Bergson and the Debate That Changed Our Understanding of Time. You can learn more about her here. Resolutions abound at this time of year: The close of 2017 and the start to 2018 presents a symbolic "fresh start."

Drones Invasion Of Pop Culture: Fact or Fiction?

Forbes Europe

Maybe you've read the statistics on how many drones are filling our skies: The FAA anticipates 7 million by 2020. Perhaps you've heard about how drones are revolutionizing commercial operations. It's possible you know someone who has a drone of their own, or seen a quadcopter hovering over your local park. The reality is there's no shortage of drones filling our homes, stores, skies, and seas. It should come as no surprise that the technology is steadily making its way into our media.