Researchers use AI to predict outbreak of water wars in the future


Important resources like minerals, oil and diamonds often go hand-in-hand with conflict and poor governance. But when it comes to one particular resource -- the most important resource of all -- many think a different theory will hold true. Often referred to as the water wars thesis, it suggests that growing water scarcity will drive violent conflict as access to water dries up for certain communities. Analysts worry that people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations will battle for dwindling water supply, inflaming tensions. In a new study, researchers tried to map out how water wars will emerge around the world and which countries are most likely to see water-related conflict in the coming decades.

I'm worried Artificial Intelligence could make us stupid


Once upon a time if I wanted to find my way to somewhere unfamiliar, I would have pulled out a map and plotted my route. These days I just put the destination into my smartphone and let it make all the decisions. Is this a simple, practical thing to do or, by relying on increasingly smarter phones, are we allowing them to make us, day by day, a little bit dumber? I've spent the last few days at an international conference on artificial intelligence pondering just this question. We were discussing, among other things, the effect that the rise of machine intelligence is having on our brains.

Scientists grow functioning human neural networks in 3-D from stem cells


A team of Tufts University-led researchers has developed three-dimensional (3-D) human tissue culture models for the central nervous system that mimic structural and functional features of the brain and demonstrate neural activity sustained over a period of many months. With the ability to populate a 3-D matrix of silk protein and collagen with cells from patients with Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other conditions, the tissue models allow for the exploration of cell interactions, disease progression and response to treatment. The development and characterization of the models are reported today in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, a journal of the American Chemical Society. The new 3-D brain tissue models overcome a key challenge of previous models -the availability of human source neurons. This is due to the fact that neurological tissues are rarely removed from healthy patients and are usually only available post-mortem from diseased patients.

Nat Geo and OpenROV are giving away 1000 robot submarines


Despite having lived in close proximity to it for hundreds of thousands of years, humanity has yet to explore even a fraction of the Earth's ocean. We have more thoroughly mapped the surfaces of moon and Mars than we have the seafloor. National Geographic and OpenROV hope to change that next year with the Science Exploration Education (SEE) initiative. The organizations are teaming up to give away 1,000 remotely operated underwater drones to any research organization or citizen scientist who wants one (and, obviously, asks while there are still some in stock). "One of the limiting factors for understanding the ocean is the risks, costs, and accessibility issues of experiencing these underwater ecosystems," David Lang, co-founder of OpenROV, said in a statement.

Why the Search for Aliens Could Unite Us Here on Earth


If aliens are trying to talk to us (or even if they are not), Jill Tarter will be the one to find them. She cofounded the SETI institute in 1984 and ran its research center for many years. She was also the inspiration for Jodie Foster's character in the 1997 movie Contact. Astrophysicist Maggie Turnbull, who is currently running for governor of Wisconsin, began working with Tarter in the late '90s and is now affiliated with the SETI Institute. She's currently working on a NASA telescope called WFIRST, set for space launch in 2025. The two scientists take slightly different approaches to their search for extraterrestrial life.

Meet the CHUGBOT: Robotic hand that can catch a beer and crush it could revolutionize prosthetics

Daily Mail

Scientists have developed what could turn out to be the most lifelike robotic prosthetic hand yet. The technology, developed by researchers from Cornell University, takes a page from the machinery used in a car to give the robotic arm dexterity that's comparable to a human. And to demonstrate this, the hand was able to nimbly catch a can of beer and even crush it with remarkable strength. Researchers created a life-like robotic prosthetic hand that uses a'transmission' to allow it to alternate between strength and speed. The transmission, which they call an elastomeric passive transmission, is essentially a cylindrical spool with a'tendon' wrapped around it.

AI for drug development: What's possible and what's just hype? - STAT


If a group of chemists found 18 more potent versions of a drug out of a sea of 3,000 potential chemicals in the span of a few weeks, they might be hailed as superhumans. That actually happened at Relay Therapeutics, said Dr. Donald Bergstrom, the company's head of R&D. But the driving force behind it wasn't human at all -- it was artificial intelligence. AI and machine learning have been hailed as a powerful new tool for drug discovery. But despite the hype, there is still a huge gap between the potential and the reality.

Where the world will run out of water: Research shows area that will lose water from climate change

Daily Mail

New research has revealed the areas where real-life'waterworld' riots are most likely to happen. Researchers mapped the areas where future global conflict is most likely to break out as a result of climate change-fueled water shortages. Researchers believe vulnerable areas could face'hydro-political issues' due to water shortages within the next 50 to 100 years. Researchers used machine learning to identify'pre-conditions and factors' that might lead to depleting water resources, particularly areas that contain water shared by bordering nations Researchers said the areas most likely to be hit by'hydro-political' issues are those with already stressed water basins. This includes the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates and Colorado rivers.

Mystery of how a tiny dandelion seed can fly up to 500 miles is solved

Daily Mail

Tiny dandelion seeds have been known to waft up to 500 miles (800km) just using the power of the wind. Now scientists have found out their secret and say their super efficient mini parachutes could revolutionise designs for remote-controlled stealth drones. Never-before-seen air bubbles that surround the seeds on the yellow-flowered weed are believed to be the secret to one of'nature's best flyers'. Dandelion seeds are said to be four times more efficient than what is currently possible with man-made parachute designs. Tiny dandelion seeds have been known to waft up to 500 miles (800km) just using the power of the wind.

You have no idea what artificial intelligence really does


WHEN SOPHIA THE ROBOT first switched on, the world couldn't get enough. It had a cheery personality, it joked with late-night hosts, it had facial expressions that echoed our own. Here it was, finally -- a robot plucked straight out of science fiction, the closest thing to true artificial intelligence that we had ever seen. There's no doubt that Sophia is an impressive piece of engineering. It didn't take much to convince people of Sophia's apparent humanity -- many of Futurism's own articles refer to the robot as "her."