If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
In April, it was reported that 69-year‑old Tom Patterson, an American who fell gravely ill with an antibiotic-resistant acinetobacter infection, had been brought out of a two-month coma by an injected cocktail of bacteriophages, tiny viruses that specifically attack and kill bacteria. The story is a testament to Patterson's wife (Steffanie Strathdee, a scientist), who searched for alternative therapies when conventional treatments failed, to his physician, Robert Schooley, who used an untested treatment, and to a large band of phage scientists, led by Ryland Young of Texas A&M University and Theron Hamilton of the US Naval Academy. Their long-term, and sometimes unfashionable, research work meant that phages were available in their labs for the rescue attempt. Because a mixed-phage cocktail was used, no one is sure what tipped the balance, but, importantly, it worked. The Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia has dispensed phage therapy for years, but it was little tried in the west until recently.
Shell has doubled its spending on clean power and bowed to shareholder pressure by promising to halve the carbon footprint of the energy it sells by 2050, as the oil giant said it was stepping up its ambitions on green energy. The Anglo Dutch firm is increasing capital expenditure for its new energies division, to $1bn-$2bn (£750m to £1.5bn) a year for 2018-2020, up from a previous plan of up to $1bn a year by 2020. But the spending on wind power, biofuels and electric car infrastructure will still account for a small fraction of the giant's planned $25-30bn annual investment. Shell has $5bn-$6bn a year pegged for deepwater drilling and $2-3bn a year allocated for shale oil and gas. The company's new climate change target aims to cut the net carbon footprint of its products in half by 2050, and around one-fifth by 2035.
Images captured by an underwater robot on Saturday showed massive deposits believed to be melted nuclear fuel covering the floor of a damaged reactor at Japan's destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant. The robot found large amounts of solidified lava-like rocks and lumps in layers as thick as 1m on the bottom inside a main structure called the pedestal that sits underneath the core inside the primary containment vessel of Fukushima's Unit 3 reactor, said the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. On Friday, the robot spotted suspected debris of melted fuel for the first time since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused multiple meltdowns and destroyed the plant. Locating and analysing the fuel debris and damage in each of the plant's three wrecked reactors is crucial for decommissioning the plant. During this week's probe, cameras mounted on the robot showed extensive damage caused by the core meltdown, with fuel debris mixed with broken reactor parts, suggesting the difficult challenges ahead in the decades-long decommissioning of the plant.