The big new of last week was the terror attacks in France. I’m going to let others provide links for that event.
There were some interesting articles that showed up on the interwebs and I wanted to share them with you:
Don’t Fear Artificial Intelligence
Kurzweil is the author of five books on artificial intelligence, including the recent New York Times best seller “How to Create a Mind.”
Stephen Hawking, the pre-eminent physicist, recently warned that artificial intelligence (AI), once it surpasses human intelligence, could pose a threat to the existence of human civilization. Elon Musk, the pioneer of digital money, private spaceflight and electric cars, has voiced similar concerns.
Two great thinkers see danger in AI. Here’s how to make it safe.
Bill Gates Drinks Water That Used to Be Poop
I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water.
The occasion was a tour of a facility that burns human waste and produces water and electricity (plus a little ash). I have visited lots of similar sites, like power plants and paper mills, so when I heard about this one—it’s part of the Gates Foundation’s effort to improve sanitation in poor countries—I was eager to check it out.
The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle. And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.
President Obama laid out an initiative last week to make community colleges free. Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution offered up three articles discussing the issue:
- Obama’s free community college plan
- What is the rate of return on community college?
- How much do subsidies to community college attendance matter?
The Effect of Police Body Cameras
The first randomized controlled trial of police body cameras shows that cameras sharply reduce the use of force by police and the number of citizen complaints…The results were that police use of force reports halved on shifts when police wore cameras. In addition, the use of force during the entire treatment period (on shifts both using and not using cameras) was about half the rate as during pre-treatment periods. In other words, the camera wearing shifts appear to have caused police to change their behavior on all shifts in a way that reduced the use of force.
Stress from racism passes from mother to child
A new study from the University of Colorado Denver has found the stress that comes with racial discrimination during a woman’s pregnancy may get passed on to her newborn child…Thayer and Kuzawa performed their small study on 64 pregnant women of various ethnic backgrounds in Auckland, New Zealand. They questioned the women about recent times they felt discriminated against because of their ethnicity, before collecting saliva samples to check cortisol levels. One-third of the women said they had faced some form of discrimination, to which the team uncovered an association to elevated cortisol levels. When they swabbed the same women’s newborn infants, they found many of the same increases.
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