Los Angeles Times


Hollywood isn't on the side of the resistance

Los Angeles Times

There is one major exception. The droid L3 is consciously trying to get her fellow robots to cast off their restraining bolts and make a bid for freedom. But L3 is treated as a joke; one scene mocks her for having romantic feelings for her captain, Lando Calrissian. Similarly, her robot rebellion isn't central to the plot, but a diversion distracting the authorities from the heist -- much as a slave rebellion serves as a light-hearted diversion in last summer's "Thor: Ragnarok." L3 is eventually killed and turned into part of Han's ship, the Millenium Falcon.


Can simulating evolution on a computer explain our enormous brains?

Los Angeles Times

"I have a fairly strong opinions about the utility of trying to divide social and ecological challenges into mutually exclusive categories," she said. "After reading the paper several times, I am still convinced that the model and results are more consistent with a'socio-ecological' brain. Their argument that they find support for an ecological and not social brain just isn't supported by their results."


A royal wedding and a royal shredding: Why you should never want your daughter to marry a prince

Los Angeles Times

Apart from the occasional tasteless Nazi costume, the current crop of royals just doesn't seem to generate much in the way of juicy headlines. The marriages of three of her four children were on the rocks. Princess Diana had published a memoir in which she revealed the long-standing infidelity of her husband, Prince Charles. A tabloid had run a photo of a man licking the toes of the queen's estranged daughter-in-law, the Duchess of York. Oh, and Windsor Palace was extensively damaged by fire.)


Dodgers' Andrew Friedman: 'If we had to assign blame at this point, it should be me who is taking that'

Los Angeles Times

The overall team performance will obviously get much better as we click on at least two of those cylinders. When we get some of our guys back in the next week, we're confident our offense is going to perform better. It's incumbent upon us, with our bullpen, to get back to what we were doing last year. We're confident we have the guys down there to perform way better than we have.


Should people know they're talking to an algorithm? After a controversial debut, Google now says yes

Los Angeles Times

Will we demand to know when we're speaking with a bot? Or will we accept that we'll wind up unwittingly conversing with algorithms? Or do we see them merely as tools, unworthy of the values that bind civil society together? These are questions ethicists, developers and designers are puzzling over. How we respond could have far reaching implications for how humans ultimately treat each other.


Scientists make a maze-running artificial intelligence program that learns to take shortcuts

Los Angeles Times

In recent years, AI researchers have developed and fine-tuned deep-learning networks -- layered programs that can come up with novel solutions to achieve their assigned goal. For example, a deep-learning network can be told which face to identify in a series of different photos, and through several rounds of training, can tune its algorithms until it spots the right face virtually every time.


Waymo self-driving car involved in collision in Arizona

Los Angeles Times

Police in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler are investigating a collision involving a self-driving vehicle owned by Google spinoff Waymo. Authorities say the crash happened Friday afternoon when a Honda sedan swerved to avoid hitting another car. As a result, they said, the Honda went into opposing traffic lanes and hit the Waymo car. Police said the Waymo vehicle was in autonomous mode and had an occupant in the driver's seat who suffered minor injuries. Waymo is owned by Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company.


Angélique Kidjo on what an old Talking Heads album still has to say

Los Angeles Times

But like the original, this "Remain in Light" represents an act of outreach. To make it, Kidjo teamed with Jeff Bhasker, an A-list American pop producer known for his work with Beyoncé and Kanye West. And there are cameos by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and Devonté Hynes of Blood Orange -- just two of the countless young art rockers indebted to Talking Heads.


Elon Musk's performance on Tesla's earnings call could make people afraid to buy his stock -- or his cars

Los Angeles Times

Let's be clear about this: Musk has no statistical grounds to state categorically that autonomous systems are safer than human-driven vehicles. That conclusion might stand to reason, since human error is blamed for most vehicular deaths and injuries, but autonomous systems might create dangerous situations we can't yet anticipate. His apparent assumption that the debate is over -- "Vehicles that we're producing are capable of full autonomy," he said -- is a little scary, considering how much still needs to be learned about the functioning of fully autonomous cars, and about the interaction of autonomous systems with humans in the cockpit.


Humans are too high-maintenance for Mars. We should keep sending robots only

Los Angeles Times

Frail humans require too much "stuff" to survive in space: oxygen, food, water, heating, cooling, pressurization, medication, sanitation, suits, restraints and so much more. These items add up to weight, bulk, layers of gear, electronics, storage and living space.