Summary of “The Bots Beat Us. Now What?”

In his correspondence, he criticized computer programs for making “Gross blunders” and called one of them “a piece of junk.” After his triumph over the program, Fischer disappeared again, and wouldn’t play another documented game for 15 years.
For decades, the best humans were better than any machine at marquee, blue-chip intellectual games like chess in the West and Go in the East.
Since at least 1950, the games have also played host to programmers who have tried to master them, enticed by besting the genius widely thought to be required of a chess or Go master.
These twin pillars of intellectual competition – chess and Go – aren’t the only games that have appeared in the crosshairs of the engineers, of course.
Among them: an encyclopedia of cognitive science and a volume titled “Robots Unlimited.” A cartoon pinned above his desk showed a man playing chess against a toaster: “I remember when you could only lose a chess game to a supercomputer.”
“StarCraft is way, way bigger than chess or Go or any of these games,” Churchill said.
Every single computer scientist who works on games whom I’ve ever spoken to has uttered to me, often with a twinge of contrition, the phrase “Test bed.” It’s not about the game, man, it’s about what comes next.
Maybe Bobby Fischer, whose whole life was devoted to playing a board game – and who some would argue was driven mad by a board game – got it right in his letters 40 years ago.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Earth’s sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn”

A “Biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.
Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost.
The new work instead takes a broader view, assessing many common species which are losing populations all over the world as their ranges shrink, but remain present elsewhere.
The scientists found that a third of the thousands of species losing populations are not currently considered endangered and that up to 50% of all individual animals have been lost in recent decades.
The scientists found billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost all over the planet, leading them to say a sixth mass extinction has already progressed further than was thought.
The ultimate cause of all of these factors is “Human overpopulation and continued population growth, and overconsumption, especially by the rich”, say the scientists, who include Prof Paul Ehrlich, at Stanford University in the US, whose 1968 book The Population Bomb is a seminal, if controversial, work.
Prof Stuart Pimm, at Duke University in the US and not involved in the new work, said the overall conclusion is correct, but he disagrees that a sixth mass extinction is already under way: “It is something that hasn’t happened yet – we are on the edge of it.”
A messy prolonged climate change event, again hitting life in shallow seas very hard, killing 70% of species including almost all corals.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How economics became a religion”

We follow an even more powerful religion, around which we have oriented our lives: economics.
At the end of the 20th century, amid an economic boom that saw the western economies become richer than humanity had ever known, economics seemed to have conquered the globe.
The hubris in economics came not from a moral failing among economists, but from a false conviction: the belief that theirs was a science.
The American Economic Association, to which Robert Lucas gave his address, was created in 1885, just when economics was starting to define itself as a distinct discipline.
Such responses served to remind practitioners of the taboos of economics: a gentle nudge to a young academic that such shibboleths might not sound so good before a tenure committee.
If you think describing economics as a religion debunks it, you’re wrong.
Paradoxically as economics becomes more truly scientific, it will become less of a science.
This is an edited extract from Twilight of the Money Gods: Economics as a Religion and How it all Went Wrong by John Rapley, published by Simon & Schuster on 13 July at £20.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It Takes a Theory to Beat a Theory: The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis”

The key to these laws is adaptive behavior in shifting environments.
Economic behavior is but one aspect of human behavior, and human behavior is the product of biological evolution across eons of different environments.
On many days since the financial crisis began, the collective behavior of financial markets might be better described as the madness of mobs.
Neuroscience and evolutionary biology confirm that rational expectations and the Efficient Markets Hypothesis capture only a portion of the full range of human behavior.
Although the work of Damasio and his collaborators have given us a much deeper understanding of what we mean by rational behavior, economists believe they already have an excellent theory of economic rationality: expected utility theory.
Like Herbert Simon’s theory of bounded rationality, the Adaptive Markets Hypothesis can easily explain economic behavior that’s only approximately rational, or that misses rationality narrowly.
The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis goes farther and can also explain economic behavior that looks completely irrational.
The Adaptive Markets Hypothesis refuses to label such behaviors “irrational.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google is funding the creation of software that writes local news stories”

Google’s Digital News Initiative has committed £622,000 to fund an automated news writing initiative for U.K.-based news agency, The Press Association.
The money will help pay for the creation of Radar, snappily named software designed to generate upwards of 30,000 local news stories a month.
The Press Association has enlisted U.K.-based news startup Urbs Media for the task of creating a piece of software that turns news data into palatable content.
It’s similar to a model The Associated Press has employed for a while now here in the States, mostly tackling financial and niche sports stories.
A quick Google News search of the tell-tale tagline “This story was generated by Automated Insights.” reveals hits from news outlets across the U.S. In a news release heralding the financial commitment, Press Association Editor-in-Chief Peter Clifton called the move a “Genuine game-changer,” stressing that the partnership will focus on stories that might not otherwise be written up as local newspapers continue to die off in this massive fourth-estate extinction.
“Skilled human journalists will still be vital in the process,” he explained, “But Radar allows us to harness artificial intelligence to scale up to a volume of local stories that would be impossible to provide manually.” People will be involved in the curation and editing of the stories and, hopefully, help limit the possibility of accidentally publishing incorrect information in an era when “Fake news” is an equally barbed insult on all sides of the political spectrum.
Human news writers regularly point out that AIs tend to lack nuance and a flair for language in the stories they churn out.
That’s probably a fare criticism, but it’s easy to see how the rise of robotic news could be a justification – if not a direct cause – for further job loss in the industry.

The orginal article.

Summary of “On Preserving Human Memory: Evernote Founder’s Impossible Mission”

Stepan Pachikov, the founder of Evernote, is a Silicon Valley pioneer whose innovations include the first handwriting input for handheld computers and significant early work in 3D technology and virtual reality.
As the inventor and founder of Evernote, Pachikov’s life work has been the human memory, untangling personal thoughts from the greater narrative of history, and then putting the particles back together again for future generations.
From Pachikov’s deep need to both remember and be remembered came the concept that today is Evernote.
From the impossible vision of a full brain backup, Pachikov scaled back to a product that could extend human memory to make things easy to find.
The result, of course, was Evernote, which Pachikov started in 2002.
Even now, at 67, Pachikov believes the essence of life is memories, so he’s satisfied with the legacy that he’ll leave in the form of Evernote, which he hopes will continue to evolve.
Pachikov, who had been commuting between Silicon Valley-based Evernote and the apartment in Manhattan with his wife Svetlana, settled down permanently in New York to engage in his passion for the arts.
Returning to Evernote’s roots, O’Neill credits Pachikov’s vision for giving him a roadmap for where he’ll take Evernote in the future.

The orginal article.

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Dogs still retain many of their ancestral behaviors, but less is known about any latent “Dog-like” tendencies among modern wolves.
“What we learned from our study is that while dogs may be more attached to their human caretaker in the sense of dependence and using their owners as a secure base, wolves are also able to form lasting affiliative relationships with their caretakers, though without a sense of dependence.”
These wolves came from the Family Dog Project, an initiative founded in 1994 by József Topál and his colleagues to study the behavioral and cognitive aspects of the dog-human relationship.
In the first experiment, eight wolves were exposed to visitors when in the company of other wolves, but for the second experiment, nine wolf puppies had to go it alone.
There are limitations to studying wolves as precursors to dog behavior.
Dogs are not descended from wolves; both wolves and dogs split from a common ancestor around 15,000 years ago-an ancient animal whose behavior we’re not able to study.
“Dogs bond tightly with humans, and as it turns out, wolves are capable of that too.”
“My guess would be that there’s variation between individual dogs and individual wolves, but overall, that dogs show less fear of strangers than wolves do. The reduction of fear is thought to be a critical part of domestication.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows”

In a new comprehensive study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were domesticated.
Researchers surveyed the DNA of more than 200 cats spanning the last 9,000 years, including ancient Romanian cat remains, Egyptian cat mummies, and modern African wildcat specimens.
The earlier ancestors of today’s domestic cats spread from southwest Asia and into Europe as early as 4400 B.C. The cats likely started hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent about 8,000 years ago, where they settled into a mutually beneficial relationship as humans’ rodent patrol.
The results suggest that prehistoric human populations probably began carrying their cats along ancient land and sea trade routes to control rodents.
The study sheds light on the late emergence of the blotched or striped coat markings, which began to appear in domesticated tabby cats in the Middle Ages.
Overall, cats became a domesticated companion of humans without changing much, says evolutionary geneticist and article coauthor Eva-Maria Geigl.
Domestic cats look similar to wildcats, but they aren’t solitary, tolerating both humans and other cats.
Though everyone might not agree on cats’ perfection, felines are among the most popular pets in the world today, with as many as 74 million cats living in U.S. homes.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In the AI Age, “Being Smart” Will Mean Something Completely Different”

To date, many of us have achieved success by being “Smarter” than other people as measured by grades and test scores, beginning from our early days in school.
The smart people were those that received the highest scores by making the fewest mistakes.
What is needed is a new definition of “Being smart,” one that promotes higher levels of human thinking and emotional engagement.
Smart machines can process, store, and recall information faster and better than we humans.
In an age of smart machines, our old definition of what makes a person smart doesn’t make sense.
What is needed is a new definition of being smart, one that promotes higher levels of human thinking and emotional engagement.
The new smart will be determined not by what or how you know but by the quality of your thinking, listening, relating, collaborating, and learning.
The new smart will be about trying to overcome the two big inhibitors of critical thinking and team collaboration: our ego and our fears.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Cats are an extreme outlier among domestic animals”

Unlike dogs, whose bodies and temperaments have transformed radically during the roughly 30,000 years we’ve lived with them, domestic cats are almost identical to their wild counterparts-physically and genetically.
We know that humans have lived with cats for at least 10,000 years-there’s a 9,500-year-old grave in Cyprus with a cat buried alongside its human, and ancient Egyptian art has a popular motif showing house cats eating fish under chairs.
Then the researchers started to see weird data points, like an Egyptian cat at a Viking sea port during the Middle Ages, and Asian cats at a Roman Red Sea port during the height of the Roman Empire.
The researchers note that the ancient world’s obsession with Egyptian cats was so intense that it became a political issue, and a “Local ban on cat trading [was] imposed in Egypt as early as 1700 BCE.” Still, Egyptian cats continued to “Spread to most of the Old World.” Over time, Mediterranean house cats were all from the Egyptian clade.
Though these cats traveled the world with humans, they were never properly domesticated.
At that moment, cats became more like other domestic animals.
Years, we might have as many breeds of domestic cats as we do dogs.
Tomorrow’s cat lovers might be living with baby-faced tigers or ultra-fluffy purse cats who look like kittens forever.

The orginal article.