New Finding


Dogs Have Same Genes As Williams Beuren Syndrome Patients, And That Makes Them Friendly, Study Finds

International Business Times

The study found that hyper-social canines carry variants of the genes GTF2I and GTF2IRD1, the deletion of which, in humans, triggers the Williams-Beuren Syndrome, or more commonly known as the Williams syndrome. The National Organization for Rare Disorders characterizes WBS as a "rare genetic disorder characterized by growth delays before and after birth (prenatal and postnatal growth retardation), short stature, a varying degree of mental deficiency, and distinctive facial features that typically become more pronounced with age." "This exciting observation highlights the utility of the dog as a genetic system informative for studies of human disease, as it shows how minor variants in critical genes in dogs result in major syndromic effects in humans," she said, BBC reported. In this handout image provided by Kensington Palace, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge pose for a photograph with their son, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, surrounded by Lupo, the couple's cocker spaniel, and Tilly the retriever (a Middleton family pet) in the garden of the Middleton family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, England, in Aug. 2013.


Google has developed a 'big red button' that can be used to interrupt artificial intelligence and stop it from causing harm

#artificialintelligence

DeepMind, bought by Google for a reported 400 million pounds -- about $580 million -- in 2014, teamed up with scientists at the University of Oxford to find a way to make sure that AI agents don't learn to prevent, or seek to prevent, humans from taking control. The paper -- "Safely Interruptible Agents PDF," published on the website of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) -- was written by Laurent Orseau, a research scientist at Google DeepMind, Stuart Armstrong at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute, and several others. DeepMind's work with the Future of Humanity Institute is interesting: DeepMind wants to "solve intelligence" and create general purpose AIs, while the Future of Humanity Institute is researching potential threats to our existence. The founders -- Demis Hassabis, Mustafa Suleyman, and Shane Legg -- allowed their company to be bought by Google on the condition that the search giant created an AI ethics board to monitor advances that Google makes in the field.


Artificial intelligence to be top investment priority for 30% CIOs by 2020: Gartner

#artificialintelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword, pushing established software vendors to introduce it into their product strategy, "creating considerable confusion in the process", according to IT researcher Gartner Inc. Gartner Inc, on Tuesday, predicted that by 2020, AI technologies will be virtually pervasive in almost every new software product and service and will be one of the top five investment priorities for more than 30% of CIOs, globally. The researcher said that in May 2017, the term artificial intelligence was the seventh most popular term on gartner.com, The term did not feature in top 100 search terms back in January 2016. "AI offers exciting possibilities, but unfortunately, most vendors are focused on the goal of simply building and marketing an AI-based product rather than first identifying needs, potential uses and the business value to customers," said Jim Hare, research vice president at Gartner. Even as companies across the globe are currently seeking AI solutions to enhance decision making and process automation, Hare suggests vendors to use the term'AI' wisely in sales and marketing materials and "be clear what differentiates your AI offering and what problem it solves," to avoid confusion and make the most of AI technologies.


Computer Scientists Demonstrate The Potential For Faking Video

#artificialintelligence

An update from the Wild Wild West of fake news technologies: A team of computer scientists have figured out how to make words come out of the mouth of former President Barack Obama -- on video -- by using artificial intelligence. Soon we may see a wellspring of fake news videos. As a team out of the University of Washington explains in a new paper titled "Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from Audio," they've made several fake videos of Obama. The researchers accomplished this feat not by cutting and pasting his body into different scenes -- but by having a computer system called a neural network study hours and hours of video footage, to see how Obama's mouth moves.


Why the largest animals are never the fastest

Daily Mail

Small to medium sized animals accelerate quickly and have enough time to reach their theoretical maximum speed. Zoologist Dr Myriam Hirt, of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, Leipzig, said: 'Palaeontologists have long debated the potential running speeds of large birds and dinosaurs, that roamed past ecosystems.' Dr Hirt said: 'Put simply, small to intermediately sized animals accelerate quickly and have enough time to reach their theoretical maximum speed, whereas large animals are limited in acceleration time and run out of readily mobilisable energy before being able to reach their theoretically possible maximum.' At some point, the amount of time required to accelerate to faster speeds will exceed that available for acceleration and so faster speeds are never reached, explaining the paradox.


Microscopy technique could enable more informative biopsies

MIT News

MIT and Harvard Medical School researchers have devised a way to image biopsy samples with much higher resolution -- an advance that could help doctors develop more accurate and inexpensive diagnostic tests. The new technique relies on an approach known as expansion microscopy, developed originally in Edward Boyden's lab at MIT, in which the researchers expand a tissue sample to 100 times its original volume before imaging it. Boyden's original expansion microscopy technique is based on embedding tissue samples in a dense, evenly generated polymer that swells when water is added. When the researchers showed the images of the expanded tissue samples to a group of scientists that included pathologists and nonpathologists, the group was able to identify the diseased tissue with 90 percent accuracy overall, compared to only 65 percent accuracy with unexpanded tissue samples.


AI can make Puppets out of our Public Figures and Movies out of our Dreams

#artificialintelligence

With the use of what scientists call'deep learning' we are now able to manipulate and produce media content in a range of unthinkable new ways. Fictitious, videos can be produced without having to go near a camera and it is possiple to put words into people's mouths. Deep learning uses algorithms which analyse a vast amount of content about a specific subject in order to produce a new, original image, video or sound. However the prospect of everyone having the ability to manipulate video content, and potentially make real people appear to say and do things which they didn't comes with ethical implications.


Scientists say ravens display foresight, a trait thought unique to apes

Christian Science Monitor

After all, compared to mammals, birds have small brains relative to their bodies, and bird brains lack a neocortex, which in mammals is thought to be the seat of higher-order thinking such as reasoning, problem-solving, language, and delaying gratification. In one version of the experiment, Osvath and Mr. Kabadayi trained ravens to use a tool to open a box containing a piece of dog kibble, a popular treat among ravens. When presented with the box containing the kibble fifteen minutes later, the ravens passed on the smaller reward 86 percent of the time, ignoring the distractors, and picking the correct tool to open the box. The last common ancestor of humans and birds lived some 320 million years ago, suggesting that these advanced cognitive traits emerged independently in hominids and corvids, using very different brains.


Want a Robot That Can Really Feel? Give It Whiskers

WIRED

Rats use them to navigate the darkness, for instance, while a seal's whiskers detect the movements of fishy prey. When the whisker hits an object, those sensors trip and relay information to the brain, acting as a supplement to the critter's other senses. "You just need how much the whisker bent, what direction the whisker bent, and how much it got pushed into the follicle," says Hartmann. Tapered is what you'd find in nature--thicker at the base and ending with a pointy tip--and indeed the team found that they could pinpoint objects with tapered whiskers but not cylindrical ones.


Computer Scientists Demonstrate The Potential For Faking Video

NPR

An update from the Wild Wild West of fake news technologies: A team of computer scientists have figured out how to make words come out of the mouth of former President Barack Obama -- on video -- by using artificial intelligence. Well, soon enough we may see a wellspring of fake news videos. As a team out of the University of Washington explains in a new paper entitled "Synthesizing Obama: Learning Lip Sync from Audio," they've made several fake videos of President Obama. The researchers accomplished this feat -- not by cutting and pasting his body into different scenes -- but by having a computer system called a neural net study hours and hours of video footage, to see how Obama's mouth moves.