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) …
Proteins are crucial to almost every fundamental biological process necessary for life. They do everything from create and maintain the shape of cells to serving as both signal and receiver for cellular communications. Proteins are composed on long chains of amino acids and they perform their varied tasks by folding themselves into precise 3D structures that determine how they function and interact with other molecules. Because their exact shape is so crucial to their function research into uncovering the exact shape is a central task to molecular biology. This task is especially important for the development of lifesaving and life-altering medicines.
Artificial intelligence systems can – if properly used – help make government more effective and responsive, improving the lives of citizens. Improperly used, however, the dystopian visions of George Orwell's "1984" become more realistic. On their own and urged by a new presidential executive order, governments across the U.S., including state and federal agencies, are exploring ways to use AI technologies. As an AI researcher for more than 40 years, who has been a consultant or participant in many government projects, I believe it's worth noting that sometimes they've done it well – and other times not quite so well. The potential harms and benefits are significant.
The world's first footage of a black hole in motion could soon be created by the scientists behind a groundbreaking image of the phenomenon released last week. Experts using the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) say they will produce a video of hot gases whirling chaotically around the shadow or'accretion disk' of the black hole. The supermassive black hole sits at the centre of the galaxy Messier 87, roughly 54 million light-years from Earth. EHT is a'virtual' telescope that uses data from observatories around the world to turn the whole of the Earth into one giant detector. Researchers believe that, as more telescopes join the EHT project, they can produce more detailed images and eventually film the black hole.
Scientists have been able to partially revive the brains of decapitated pigs that died four hours earlier in a groundbreaking study. Experts used tubes that pumped a chemical mixture designed to mimic blood into the decapitated heads of 32 pigs to restore circulation and cellular activity. Echoing Mary Shelley's classic novel Frankenstein, billions of neurons began acting normally and the deaths of other cells was reduced over the course of six hours. Electrical brain activity across the brain associated with awareness, perception and other high level functions were not observed, however. While the find is an exciting breakthrough, it is still a long way from proof that a person's consciousness can be recovered after they die, experts caution.
The work of a science writer, including this one, includes reading journal papers filled with specialized technical terminology, and figuring out how to explain their contents in language that readers without a scientific background can understand. Now, a team of scientists at MIT and elsewhere has developed a neural network, a form of artificial intelligence (AI), that can do much the same thing, at least to a limited extent: It can read scientific papers and render a plain-English summary in a sentence or two. Even in this limited form, such a neural network could be useful for helping editors, writers, and scientists scan a large number of papers to get a preliminary sense of what they're about. But the approach the team developed could also find applications in a variety of other areas besides language processing, including machine translation and speech recognition. The work is described in the journal Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, in a paper by Rumen Dangovski and Li Jing, both MIT graduate students; Marin Soljačić, a professor of physics at MIT; Preslav Nakov, a senior scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute, HBKU; and Mićo Tatalović, a former Knight Science Journalism fellow at MIT and a former editor at New Scientist magazine.
Clinical Informatics tells us that: "Every year in the U.S., approximately 2 million patients participate in roughly 3000 clinical trials; six million patients are needed to meet U.S. recruitment goals. Consequently, up to 90% of trials are delayed or over budget". Experts blame the lack of data available - to both patients and researchers - to explain why only 5% of cancer patients, for example, end up enrolling in clinical trials. A study from Carnegie Mellon University and Albert Ludwig University in Germany predicts that "AI could cut the cost of drug discovery by about 70%" and Krishna Yeshwant, general partner at Google Ventures, estimates "AI would cut (clinical trial) costs by 90 percent." Artificial intelligence seems like the perfect solution, but Zikria Syed writes in MedCityNews that "clinical trial technologies haven't changed much since the current categories -- clinical trial management systems, electronic data capture, and interactive voice response, -- were established in the late 1990s." A recent Deloitte study also that tells us "a number of clinical trial activities still use the same processes as in the 1990s." In a sector that is usually at the forefront of technology – biotechnology - it is hard to believe this is happening. I spoke to six innovators who were tackling the massive problem head on – scientists and entrepreneurs working to bring clinical trials to the people who need them – to find out what they are doing to solve the serious innovation problem. The list of people is impressive for the diversity of solutions they're offering to clinical trials: Anna Huyghues-Despointes, Head of Strategy, Owkin; Simon Smith, Chief Growth Officer, BenchSci; Leila Pirhaji, Founder & CEO, ReviveMed; Shai Shen-Orr, Founder, Cytoreason; and Daniel Jamieson, CEO Biorelate and Gunjan Bhardwaj, Founder & CEO, Innoplexus. Additionally we spoke to consultant Dr. Chrysanthi Ainali, Co-Founder Dignosis and Instructor for the KNect365 Learning Course AI & Real World Evidence for Clinical Trials to ask her thoughts on the specific challenges AI startups in clinical trials face. "Healthcare brings great challenges for a technology company. It is inherently conservative and risk averse - Hippocratic Oath: 'first, do no harm'" says Simon Smith, Chief Growth Officer at Benchsci.
A robot walks into a bar, but can it be funny? It cannot, according to scientists and linguists who arrived at this conclusion this April Fools' Day. The realization is not entirely a novel one though. Humour has become one of the last bastions that artificial intelligence is yet to wrap its head around. The world has been forced to sit up and take notice of -- and be alarmed by -- the steady progress of AI.
If you haven't heard the news this week, an international team of scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Collaboration photographed and confirmed the existence of Powehi: the supermassive black hole at the center of galaxy Messier 87, which is over 55 million light years away, has the mass of over 6.5 billion suns, and has a radius wider than our entire solar system. It is a very, very big black hole, and it is beautiful and utterly frightening. It was imaged with 5 petabytes of collected data from a network of geographically dispersed radio telescopes around the world, using a computer algorithm created by a young post-doctoral student from MIT, Katie Bouman. Of the many very important things about this discovery, this is what stands out for me: How it has put science front and center, reminding us that incredible mysteries in the universe are yet to be revealed to us, and that the end products of hard scientific research can be fun, exciting, educational and terrifying all at the same time. We finally got to see one.
Forward-leaning scientists and researchers say advancements in society's computers and biotechnology will go straight to our heads -- literally. In a new paper published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers embarked on an international collaboration that predicts groundbreaking developments in the world of'Human Brain/Cloud Interface's' within the next few decades. Using a combination of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and other more traditional computing, researchers say humans will be able to seamlessly connect their brains to a cloud of computers to glean information from the internet in real-time. In a new paper published in the Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers embarked on an international collaboration that predicts groundbreaking developments in the world of'Human Brain/Cloud Interface's' within the next few decades. According to Robert Freitas Jr., senior author of the research, a fleet of nanobots embedded in our brains would act as liaisons to humans' minds and supercomputers, to enable'matrix style' downloading of information.
On Wednesday 10 April, the first image ever taken of a black hole was released. The picture, which shows a black hole surrounded by a hazy red and yellow circle, provides an unprecedented peek at one of the most mysterious entities in the universe. One of the scientists involved in the development of the picture is Dr Katie Bouman. We'll tell you what's true. You can form your own view.