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June 07, 2022

Dear Reader,

Recently, DeepMind announced that its new AI system, dubbed Gato, can perform a variety of different tasks. But the dream of an artificial general intelligence is still far off, as Gary Marcus explains in this week's lead story. "Machines may someday be as smart as people, and perhaps even smarter, but the game is far from over," he writes. "There is still an immense amount of work to be done in making machines that truly can comprehend and reason about the world around them. What we really need right now is less posturing and more basic research."

Sophie Bushwick, Associate Editor, Technology

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial General Intelligence Is Not as Imminent as You Might Think

A close look reveals that the newest systems, including DeepMind’s much-hyped Gato, are still stymied by the same old problems

By Gary Marcus

Defense

Kyiv Cruise Missile Strike Highlights Need to Protect U.S. Cities

A top U.S. commander wants to test technology that can better defend domestic targets

By Jason Sherman

Weather

The 'Wall of Wind' Can Blow Away Buildings at Category 5 Hurricane Strength

The test facility is helping engineers design safer homes—but it’s not powerful enough to mimic the stronger hurricanes fueled by climate change

By The Conversation US,Richard Olson,Ameyu B. Tolera,Arindam Chowdhury,Ioannis Zisis

Privacy

Political Affiliation Influences Our Fear of Data Collection

It’s not government Americans don’t trust with their data; it’s the opposite political party

By Samuel Dooley,Angelica Goetzen,Elissa M. Redmiles

Space Exploration

'Unsustainable': How Satellite Swarms Pose a Rising Threat to Astronomy

SpaceX and other companies are still struggling to make their satellites darker in the night sky

By Alexandra Witze,Nature magazine

Computing

The Weather Myth: Lost Women of Science Podcast, Season 2, Bonus Episode

When we first started researching Klára Dán von Neumann, we thought she was “the computer scientist you should thank for your smartphone’s weather app.” It turns out that’s not true

By Katie Hafner,The Lost Women of Science Initiative

Politics

To Prevent Nuclear Annihilation, Resume Negotiations Immediately

The war in Ukraine shows the urgency of nuclear arms control

By The Editors

Artificial Intelligence

AI Can Predict Potential Nutrient Deficiencies from Space

New work maps a region’s nutrient landscape

By Rachel Berkowitz
FROM THE STORE

Technology vs. Truth: Deception in the Digital Age

In the digital age, information, both true and false, spreads faster than ever. The same technology that provides access to data across the globe can abet the warping of truth and normalization of lies. In this eBook, we examine the intersection of truth, untruth and technology, including how social media manipulates behavior, technologies such as deepfakes that spread misinformation, the bias inherent in algorithms and more.

Buy Now

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The move has the potential to seismically shift the power balance between consumers and electronics manufacturers."

Jason Koebler, VICE

FROM THE ARCHIVE

Will Artificial Intelligence Ever Live Up to Its Hype?

Replication problems plague the field of AI, and the goal of general intelligence remains as elusive as ever

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