Tag: artificial intelligence

Reverse-engineering the brain

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/upLoads//2009/05/blue-brain.mp3[/podcast] Ah, the human brain. Seat of consciousness, miracle of creation or evolution (discuss amongst yourselves), able to jump to tall conclusions in a single bound, so incredibly complex that we’ll never be able to understand how it works. Um, not so fast. A year and a half ago, scientists at the Blue Brain Project …

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The artificial scientist

[podcast]https://edwardwillett.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/the-artificial-scientist.mp3[/podcast] As I’ve noted before, the very first science column I wrote, ca. 1991, was entitled, “What is a scientist?” Last year I re-ran that column with minor editing: the answer to the question hadn’t changed in 17 years. But it may have changed now. That’s because researchers at Cornell University have created a computer …

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Cars that drive themselves

This evening in the car my six-year-old daughter, Alice, commented out of the blue that she wished our car could drive itself. “I’d like that, too,” I said, and explained that scientists were, in fact, working on cars that could do exactly that, thinking of the Grand Challenges for driverless cars held by the Defense …

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Rise of the (giggling, dancing, punning) robots

Download the audio version.Get my science column weekly as a podcast. ***Robots were once science fiction: in fact, the word comes from the Czech word “robota,” meaning work, and originated in Karel Capek’s popular 1920 science-fiction play R.U.R. (for Rossum’s Universal Robots). These days, there are robot vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers and dogs, and all …

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The unbeatable checker-playing computer

Computer scientists at the University of Alberta have solved the ancient game of checkers: After 18-and-a-half years and sifting through 500 billion billion (a five followed by 20 zeroes) checkers positions, Dr. Jonathan Schaeffer and colleagues have built a checkers-playing computer program that cannot be beaten. Completed in late April this year, the program, Chinook, …

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