Reviews & Previews
Gods and RobotsAdrienne MayorPrinceton Univ., $29.95
Artificial intelligence and robotics are hot scientific fields today. But even in the brave new world of AI, there’s nothing new under the sun, writes classics and science history scholar Adrienne Mayor in Gods and Robots.
In a breezy and thought-provoking account, Mayor describes how ancient Greek, Roman, Indian and Chinese...
News in Brief
Robots imbued with a certain kind of common sense may soon be able to follow instructional diagrams to build things.
When studying pictures for assembling IKEA furniture or LEGO villages, humans are naturally good at inferring how to get from A to B. Robots, on the other hand, normally have to be painstakingly programmed with exact instructions for how to move. “Even when you try to...
Letters to the Editor
Beer today, gone tomorrow01/08/2019 - 07:00 Particle Physics, Climate, Robotics
Rising temperatures and more frequent droughts could cut barley crop yields worldwide by the end of the century, leading to beer shortages and high prices, Jennifer Leman reported in “Add beer to the list of foods threatened by climate change” (SN: 11/10/18, p. 5).
Online reader Jean Beaulieu was hopeful that scientists will figure out an easy way to grow...
To spread misinformation like wildfire, bots will strike a match on social media but then urge people to fan the flames.
Automated Twitter accounts, called bots, helped spread bogus articles during and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election by making the content appear popular enough that human users would trust it and share it more widely, researchers report online November 20 in...
News in Brief
A robot made of several smaller robotic pieces can autonomously transform its body into shapes best suited for a particular task.
The bot primarily consists of wheeled, cubic “modules” that link up with one another using magnets, forming a small assortment of body types reminiscent of cars or snakes. The brains of the operation reside in a specialized module equipped with cameras and a...