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March 24th, 2019 at 10:15 am

Trained neural nets perform much like humans on classic psychological tests

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Neural networks were inspired by the human brain. Now AI researchers have shown that they perceive the world in similar ways.

In the early part of the 20th century, a group of German experimental psychologists began to question how the brain acquires meaningful perceptions of a world that is otherwise chaotic and unpredictable. To answer this question, they developed the notion of the “gestalt effect”—the idea that when it comes to perception, the whole is something other than the parts.

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March 24th, 2019 at 10:10 am

Imagining the Smart Cities of 2050

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Tomorrow’s cities are reshaping almost every industry imaginable, and birthing those we’ve never heard of.

Riding an explosion of sensors, megacity AI ‘brains’, high-speed networks, new materials and breakthrough green solutions, cities are quickly becoming versatile organisms, sustaining and responding to the livelihood patterns of millions.

Over the next decade, cities will revolutionize everything about the way we live, travel, eat, work, learn, stay healthy, and even hydrate.

And countless urban centers, companies, and visionaries are already building out decades-long visions of the future.

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March 24th, 2019 at 10:04 am

Scientists are discovering the secrets behind whole-body DNA regeneration

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A team at Harvard has released a study on panther worms which revealed a regenerative master switch called early growth response, or EGR.

Scientists want to know why some fauna, like some species of the humble jellyfish, can regenerate their whole bodies following an injury. In a paper published last Friday, a team at Harvard have made some breakthroughs.

With three-banded panther worms as their test subjects, Harvard’s Assistant Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Mansi Srivastava and her team discovered a master control gene that’s activated by noncoding DNA, according to the Harvard Gazette.

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March 23rd, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Be prepared to bug out over this insect-inspired winged drone

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A French inventor took to Kickstarter last week to raise funds for an insect-inspired winged drone called MetaFly. It generated quite a bit of buzz. At the time this article was published, more than 1,850 people had pledged more than $187,500 to bring the drone to market.

Unlike traditional commercial drones, which use propellers to generate lift, winged drones use, you guessed it, wings to take flight. Much like the bees it’s modeled after, MetaFly flaps its wings vigorously, creating a differential between draft and lift — an efficient flight mechanic used by flying animals. Thanks in part to this efficiency, the drone is lightweight and maneuverable, if at times a bit erratic in flight.

“[MetaFly’s] purpose is to allow you to discover and experience this unique way of flying,” Edwin Van Ruymbeke, MetaFly’s inventor, told Digital Trends. “This is exciting at a whole different level compared with usual drones or flying models.”

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March 23rd, 2019 at 12:06 pm

A Harvard Professor Says Half of All Colleges Won’t Exist in 10 Years (and Why a New Model Might Provide a Better Path to Career Success)

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Sound far-fetched? Clayton Christensen’s argument is based on a premise familiar to successful entrepreneurs.

Similar to the prediction made by Futurist Thomas Frey in 2013, many colleges will soon struggle to survive.

If you’ve ever used the word disruption to refer to innovations that create new markets and displace long-established companies and products, you might have Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen and his best-selling book The Innovator’s Dilemma to thank.

More recently, Christensen has predicted traditional colleges and universities are ripe for disruption, arguing online education will undermine their business models (because education is, ultimately, a business) to such a degree that many won’t survive.

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