AI for Earth: a gamechanger for our planet


On 11 December 2017, at the One Planet Summit in Paris, Microsoft announced our $50m, five-year commitment to using AI to improve sustainability, known as AI for Earth. In the past year, the program has grown to support 233 grantees doing work with impact in more than 50 countries and all seven continents. We have also seen the science, from the IPCC and others, that indicate progress is still too slow and uneven to achieve a 2-degree future agreed to in the Paris Accord. Below, you'll see our vision for the program and in following pieces, you'll see how we're continuing to accelerate our efforts. On the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate accord, the world's political, civic and business leaders came together in Paris to discuss one of the most important issues and opportunities of our time: climate change.

Advancing human exploration: Is space the final frontier, and how can data and AI get us there? ZDNet


Fifty years is a long time by human standards, and an eon by technology standards. In 1969, not many organizations even knew what a computer was, let alone used one. Though it's trivial, revisiting and comparing the compute power of then to what we have now can help us realize the effort it took to realize the achievement that the moon landing was. The scale of our compute and storage capabilities has changed dramatically as Moore's law has been in full effect. Like many "laws," Moore's law is more like a rule of thumb, stating that the number of transistors in dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years.

How Machine Learning Can Help Your Business Fight Climate Change


Machine learning (ML) is touted as a technology on the verge of changing how we plan and optimize not only our businesses, but also our lives. The onset of the climate crisis leads us to ask questions about how we can use this technology to help fight ― and eventually prevent ― overall climate change over the next few decades. I'd like to take a few minutes to help frame the discussion for anyone interested in using ML to combat this threat. However, it is important to understand that, like many other efforts aimed at combating climate change, it won't be a straight-forward and overnight process. Rather, it will require (re)thinking many of the ways we operate our businesses and ―even more ― how we operate as humans.

Robots, Not Humans, Are The New Space Explorers

NPR Technology

This illustration shows NASA's Cassini above Saturn's northern hemisphere before making one of its "Grand Finale" dives. This illustration shows NASA's Cassini above Saturn's northern hemisphere before making one of its "Grand Finale" dives. When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon 50 years ago, it was an inspiring moment for people around the world. But another kind of explorer is responsible for much of the modern enthusiasm for space exploration. "Since the days of Apollo, the greatest adventures in space have been these robots that have gone all over the solar system," says Emily Lakdawalla, a self-described planetary evangelist at the Planetary Society.

InSight lander moves its support structure to uncover its stuck 'mole' in preparation for rescue

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Insight lander got one step closer to extricating a crucial device that has been wedged in Martian soil since February. In the first of several planned maneuvers, NASA's Insight lander carefully moved part of its support structure which was obscuring the agency's view, using the lander's robotic arm. The successful move puts a probe called the'mole' within NASA's view for the first time since it was ordered to stop drilling earlier this year. NASA's Insight Lander carefully moved part of its support structure which was obscuring the agency's view, using the lander's robotic arm. 'We've completed the first step in our plan to save the mole,' said Troy Hudson of a scientist and engineer with the InSight mission at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in a statement.

Novacene by James Lovelock review – a big welcome for the AI takeover

The Guardian

In an acerbic 1976 article on AI research, the computer scientist Drew McDermott was the first to contrast the phrases "artificial intelligence" and "natural stupidity". Four decades later, researchers warn of the threat posed by computer "superintelligence", but stupidity is still a far greater peril: both the age-old natural stupidity of humans and the newfangled artificial stupidity displayed by algorithms – such as chatbots supposed to be able to diagnose illness, or facial-recognition software that throws up false matches for ethnic minorities – in which we place far too much trust. An alternative reason to be cheerful about the coming machine takeover is offered here by the eminent scientist and inventor James Lovelock. A chemist by training, who invented instruments for Mars rovers and helped to discover the depletion of the ozone layer, Lovelock is most celebrated in pop culture for his "Gaia hypothesis". First formulated in the 1960s, it proposes that Earth and its biosphere comprise a single, self-regulating system.

Chemical Patterns May Predict Stars That Host Giant Planets - Eos


Does this star have a planet? A new algorithm could help astronomers predict, on the basis of a star's chemical fingerprint, whether that star will host a giant gaseous exoplanet. "It's like Netflix," Natalie Hinkel, a planetary astrophysicist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, told Eos. Netflix "sees that you like goofy comedy, science fiction, and kung fu movies--a variety of different patterns" to predict whether you'll like a new movie. Likewise, her team's machine learning algorithm "will learn which elements are influential in deciding whether or not a star has a planet."

10 Best Movie Robot Sidekicks Cultured Vultures


They say "behind every good man, there is a woman," but in the world of blockbuster movies, the best allies to have by your side are often of the robotic persuasion. Always ready to dig you out of a rough spot, or march gung-ho into a battle, the movie robot sidekick has become a staple in modern sci-fi and action/adventure. Sure, there have been some bad-ass solo robots over the years like Optimus Prime, Ava of Ex-Machina fame, and even Robocop (although, technically he's a cyborg), but we're here celebrating the sidekick. The robots that make the best partners in crime. Whether it's intergalactic co-pilots, shape-shifting planetary protectors, or time-travelling androids, join us as we count down the 10 best movie robot sidekicks.

NASA's InSight lander is gearing up to help rescue a instrument trapped beneath Mars' surface

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA is gearing up for a rescue operation that they hope will save a critical instrument on its Mars lander that remains trapped just centimeters below the surface. In March, after less than a year on Mars' surface, NASA's InSight Lander reported that a critical instrument -- a'mole' probe that is designed to burrow into the planet and assess heat emissions -- hit a snag. For several months, the probe, which was meant to bore 16 feet downward, has been trapped just 30 centimeters beneath the planet's surface after less than a month into its burrowing process. A newly devised plan, however, could extricate the probe once and for all. NASA's InSight probe will try to save a critical instrument that is trapped beneath Mars' surface.

Ford turns more than 650MILLION 500ml plastic bottles into carpet for some of its vehicles

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Ford is recycling over one billion plastic bottles every year to develop elements of he car's interior, reducing the amount of plastic ending up in a landfill. The American car maker has revealed that their Romanian-built EcoSport SUVs' carpets are made using 470 single-use bottles from recycled plastic bottles. The combined weight is said to weigh an estimated 8,262 metric tons and, if they were laid end to end, would stretch more than twice around the world, they said. Plastic fantastic: Ford has revealed that its EcoSport SUV features carpets that are made from recycled plastic bottles. According to the United Nations Environmental Agency, the world produces around 300 million tons of plastic each year, half of which is single-use items.