Der Spiegel International


The Power of the Algorithms: Pedro Domingos on the Arms Race in Artificial Intelligence

Der Spiegel International

To the right, young software engineers sit in front of their laptops in the windowless, artificially lit rooms. To the left, computer science professor Pedro Domingos opens the door to his office, which has a view of the massive trees on campus. Domingos' book "The Master Algorithm," about the technology of artificial intelligence (AI), made him famous and is also considered a standard reference work. The best-selling book, published in 2015, describes how machines that can learn are changing our everyday lives -- from the social networks and science to business and politics and right up to the way modern wars are waged. The book drew praise from Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Recently, a third prominent figure noted that he'd read the book: Chinese President Xi Jinping. When state television broadcast his new year's speech this year, viewers discovered that next to Marx's "Capital" and "Selected Works" by Mao Zedong, he also has a copy of "The Master Algorithm" on his bookshelf. "The book is much read in China," says Domingos. "That's probably why Xi and his people became aware of it.


USC and Max Planck: The Double Life of a Top Robotics Researcher

Der Spiegel International

When Stefan Kai Schaal decided to earn more money in the future, he took a leave of absence. It took the researcher more than two years to integrate his new German life seamlessly and inconspicuously into his old American life. Schaal's employer, the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, was accommodating. It granted the renowned computer scientist the sabbatical in the middle of the semester - a sabbatical he had applied for on the day he was thrown out of his home and his wife filed for divorce after nine years of marriage. That was six years ago.


Star Struck By Trump?: German Business Leaders Praise U.S. Economic Policies at Davos

Der Spiegel International

There are several worlds and layers, a bit like the different levels of a company headquarters, but with escalators between some floors and others connected by wobbly ladders and others with no link whatsoever.


War in Yemen: In a Devastated Country, One City Is Thriving

Der Spiegel International

No, cholera isn't the worst problem here," says the hospital director. The fatal epidemic spreading across Yemen in the last eight months, which has infected around 800,000 people and claimed over 2,000 lives, "is only the third or fourth most common cause of death here in Marib," says Dr. Mohammed al-Qubati. "Most deaths are caused by landmines."


International Law: The Banality of Crimes against Migrants

Der Spiegel International

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented animportant new report to the UN General Assembly on Friday. The report is on "Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants" -- already an unordinary focus for her mandate. In recent years, her office has focused nearly exclusively on counter-terrorism, particularly on deaths by drone attacks. As she explains, the report concerns "an international crime whose very banality in the eyes of so many makes its tragedy particularly grave and disturbing." The contention is rather dramatic, and we believe that it is indeed historic, at least as far as reports by UN bodies are concerned.


Tennis Pro Alexander Zverev: 'We Are Supposed to Be Robots'

Der Spiegel International

SPIEGEL: At Wimbledon, there is a changing room for normal professionals and a more comfortable one for the stars. Nowadays, you are allowed to use the better one. Is it as luxurious as everyone says? Zverev: It is very nice. But you also get used to it very quickly. SPIEGEL: Does one also notice in the changing rooms the degree to which Wimbledon is steeped in tradition?


The Global Chancellor: How Merkel Got Her Groove Back

Der Spiegel International

On this cheerful Tuesday morning, Angela Merkel is at peace with herself and her country. She is standing in a factory loft in central Berlin and listening to Rami Rihawi, a refugee from Syria, who, in his blue suit and only slightly accented German, looks as though he has just jumped out of a glossy brochure on successful integration. After fleeing his homeland to Germany, Rihawi attended a school for computer experts, the site of Merkel's visit. He then received an internship at steel retailer Klöckner before being offered a fulltime job at the company. "We were extremely happy that Rami accepted our job offer," says Klöckner CEO Gisbert Rühl, who is standing proudly next to Rihawi.


Left Behind: Germany's Race to Catch Up in the Startup World

Der Spiegel International

When the two students decided to start a company, they knew that they wanted it to be big -- really big. "The sky is the limit," says Ennslen today, seven years later. And there's still room to grow. They recently moved their company, Synapticon, and its 45 employees to new headquarters in a nondescript building in Schönaich outside Stuttgart. There, they develop intelligent control systems for robots.