To Keep Up With AI, We’ll Need High-Tech Brains

When do we start panicking? DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company in London, just announced another breakthrough in machine intelligence. Starting from nothing but the rules of the ancient and sublime board game Go, the algorithm taught itself to play through trial and error. After playing four million games against itself, the software, called AlphaGo Zero, reached superhuman performance.

The Computer That Could Rule the World

During World War II the federal government launched the Manhattan Project to ensure the U.S. would possess the first atomic bomb. Seventy-five years later, America is in another contest just as vital to national security, the economy and even the future of liberal democracy. It’s the race to build the first fully operational quantum computer.

How Apple’s Pricey New iPhone X Tests Economic Theory

Thorstein Veblen was a cranky economist of Norwegian descent who coined the phrase “conspicuous consumption” and theorized that certain products could defy the economic laws of gravity by stoking more demand with superhigh prices.

An Unexpected Security Problem in the Cloud

As more companies unplug their data centers and rent out cloud-computing services from providers such as Amazon Inc. and Microsoft Corp. , some are discovering an unexpected problem: They’re accidentally leaving their corporate

Ever more Indians are struggling to find work

A DOZEN hefty wooden crates sit outside a small factory on the outskirts of Lucknow, the capital of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh. On the shop floor inside, where chattering machines bag and package herbal teas, a manager explains what will happen when he opens the crates. “His job will go,” he says, nodding at one boiler-suited operator. “And his over there, and that one’s too.”


Earlier this year, a single rocket launched from India flung 104 small satellites into space. A second Indian effort in June put another 30 into orbit, each roughly the size of a coffee can. In July, a Russian rocket scattered 72 more satellites around Earth, like pebbles strewn from a speeding car.

These swarms of small satellites—hard to track and hard to dodge—increase the risk of collision for the world’s vital communication, navigation and defense satellites.

Nowhere to hide

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. People spend much of their waking lives, in the office and the courtroom as well as the bar and the bedroom, reading faces, for signs of attraction, hostility, trust and deceit.

Automation's Surprise Benefit: More Jobs!

For retailers, the robot apocalypse isn’t a science-fiction movie. As digital giants swallow a growing share of shoppers’ spending, thousands of stores have closed and tens of thousands of workers have lost their jobs.

In Defense of the Dismal Science

Earlier this month, a Greek court convicted an economist for what amounted to doing his job. In 2010, Andreas Georgiou took over Greece’s statistical agency and revised upward the figures for the country’s debt, which had long been suspect, in order to meet European Union standards.

In Gene-Editing Advance, Scientists Correct Defect in Human Embryos

For the first time in the U.S., researchers said they had edited viable human embryos to correct a disease-causing defect, avoiding problems that plagued previous efforts and stoking concerns that advances in the lab are outpacing public discussion about the ethics of gene editing.


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