The first results from the mission depict a complex Martian interior and geology, but raise new questions about the planet’s history

By Neel V. Patel

On the outside, Mars is a cold, barren hellscape. But beneath the surface, it is teeming with quakes and other geological activity.

That’s the story we’re learning from the first results from NASA’s InSight mission, published across several papers in Nature Geoscience (and one in Nature…


These canaries in the coal mines of AI would be signs that superintelligent robot overlords are approaching

By Oren Etzioni

Could we wake up one morning dumbstruck that a super-powerful AI has emerged, with disastrous consequences? Books like Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom and Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark, as well as more recent articles, argue that malevolent superintelligence is an existential risk for humanity.

But one can…


IBM thinks quantum supremacy is not the milestone we should care about.

By Gideon Lichfield

Google’s most advanced computer isn’t at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, nor anywhere in the febrile sprawl of Silicon Valley. It’s a few hours’ drive south in Santa Barbara, in a flat, soulless office park inhabited mostly by technology firms you’ve never heard of.

An…


It has fueled prosperity of the last 50 years. But the end is now in sight.

By David Rotman

Gordon Moore’s 1965 forecast that the number of components on an integrated circuit would double every year until it reached an astonishing 65,000 by 1975 is the greatest technological prediction of the last half-century. …


Without design fiction, critical hits like Black Mirror would look very different

By Tim Maughan

Bruce Sterling wasn’t originally meant to be part of the discussion. It was March 13, 2010, in Austin, Texas, and a small group of designers were on stage at the South by Southwest interactive festival, talking about an emerging discipline they called “design fiction.”

“They asked me…


The robot mandala is a faster and — proponents argue, easier — way to create the traditional sand artwork used for Buddhist meditation

By Tanya Basu

For six hours, a circular robot flits up and down a wall, sketching out a lotus with myriad intricate designs embedded in each petal. Four marker pens color in the designs. It looks beautiful. …


Synthetic versions of the deadly virus could help test treatments. But what are the risks when viruses can be synthetized from scratch?

By Antonio Regalado

The world is watching with alarm as China struggles to contain a dangerous new virus, now being called SARS-CoV-2. It has quarantined entire cities, and the US has put a blanket ban on travellers who’ve been there. …


Artificial intelligence won’t be very smart if computers don’t grasp cause and effect. That’s something even humans have trouble with.

By Brian Bergstein

In less than a decade, computers have become extremely good at diagnosing diseases, translating languages, and transcribing speech. They can outplay humans at complicated strategy games, create photorealistic images, and suggest useful replies to your emails.

Yet despite these impressive achievements, artificial intelligence has glaring weaknesses.

Machine-learning…


The AI moonshot was founded in the spirit of transparency. This is the inside story of how competitive pressure eroded that idealism.

By Karen Hao

Every year, OpenAI’s employees vote on when they believe artificial general intelligence, or AGI, will finally arrive. It’s mostly seen as a fun way to bond, and their estimates differ widely. …


A lack of government regulation isn’t just bad for consumers. It’s bad for the field, too.

By Angela Chen and Karen Hao

Perhaps you’ve heard of AI conducting interviews. Or maybe you’ve been interviewed by one yourself. Companies like HireVue claim their software can analyze video interviews to figure out a candidate’s “employability score.” The algorithms don’t just evaluate face and body posture for appearance; they…

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