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59 impressive things artificial intelligence can do today


That's the year in which artificial intelligence will be able to perform any intellectual task a human can perform, according to one survey of experts at a recent AI conference. Anything and everything any person has ever done in all of history -- all of it doable, by 2050, by intelligent machines. But what can AI do today? How close are we to that all-powerful machine intelligence? I wanted to know, but couldn't find a list of AI's achievements to date.

Using Machine Learning To Make Drug Discovery Better


New drugs typically take 12-14 years to make it to market, with a 2014 report finding that the average cost of getting a new drug to market had ballooned to a whopping 2.6 billion. It's a topic I've covered before, with a study published earlier this year highlighting how automation could be used to reduce the cost of drug discovery by approximately 70%. It's an approach that a number of companies are taking to market. For instance, London based start-up Benevolent.AI utilizes complex AI to look for patterns in the scientific literature. They have already managed to identify two potential drug targets for Alzheimer's that has already attracted the attention of pharmaceutical companies.

Trees too sleep at night


We spend about a third of our lives asleep, so you'd think we'd have a pretty good understanding of it by now, but there's still a great deal about sleep that scientists don't get. What purpose do dreams serve? Why do humans and other animals need to sleep at all? Well, a new study suggests that even trees get their snooze on at night. The report was published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

Google machine learning can protect endangered sea cows


It's one thing to track endangered animals on land, but it's another to follow them when they're in the water. How do you spot individual critters when all you have are large-scale aerial photos? Queensland University researchers have used Google's TensorFlow machine learning to create a detector that automatically spots sea cows in ocean images. Instead of making people spend ages coming through tens of thousands of photos, the team just has to feed photos through an image recognition system that knows to look for the cows' telltale body shapes. An initial version could spot 80 percent of the sea cows that had been confirmed in existing photos.