Magazine article AI Magazine

AI in the News

Magazine article AI Magazine

AI in the News

Article excerpt

"Always Interesting"

http://www.aaai.org/aitopics/html/current.html

The items in this collage were selected from the AI TOPICS Web site's "AI in the News" collection that can be found-complete with links to the item's source and related AI TOPICS pages-at www. aaai.org/aitopics/html/current.html. Please note that: (1) an excerpt may not reflect the overall tenor of the item, nor contain all of the relevant information; and, (2) all items are offered "as is" and the fact that an item has been selected does not imply any endorsement whatsoever.

-Jon Glick, Webmaster, AI TOPICS

A Growing Web of Watchers Builds a Surveillance Society. David Shenk. The New York Times. January 25, 2006 (www.nytimes.com). "If the American public seems a bit confused about the raging debate of security versus civil liberties- Bush/Cheney versus the A.C.L.U.-it may be because the debate itself has been outpaced by technology. In our post-9/11, protowireless world, democracies and free markets are increasingly saturated with prying eyes from governments, corporations and neighbors. For better and worse, free societies are fast entering the world of total surveillance. ... Allowing a computer to read your e-mail may not sound threatening, but with advanced pattern-recognition software, scanning many messages over time could produce a powerful consumer profile. As these machines get smarter and smarter, it may soon be far more worrisome to let a machine 'read' your information than to have a human reading it. ... These are today's tools. What about tomorrow's? The hallmarks of the new digital tool-building age are machines that are increasingly smart, small, cheap and communicative. We are, without question, headed into a world where-mostly by our choice-the minute details of our bodies, lives and homes will be routinely tracked and shared, with potential for more convenience and safety but also abuse."

Better Robots Could Help Save Disaster Victims. Kurt Kleiner. New Scientist News Service. January 5, 2006 (www.newscientist.com). "In the wake of the tragic accident that killed 12 trapped miners in West Virginia, US, roboticists are saying that a new generation of search and rescue robots could help save lives in future disasters. ... Although they tried to use a robot to move ahead and test conditions, the robot, a commercial model usually used for bomb disposal, was not specifically designed for mine work and became bogged down after moving just 21 metres into the tunnel. They're slow [robots]. They won't cause an explosion, but they don't do much,' says Robin Murphy, director of the Center for Robot Assisted Search and Rescue at the University of South Florida, US. But new robots, designed to squirm through rubble, or crawl through boreholes, or clamber over obstacles on legs, could someday go into mines quickly ahead of rescuers. ... Howie Choset, a roboticist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, US, is working on a robot that can squirm snakelike through small spaces that might be left after a mine or building collapses."

Science Project-After 175 years, the Museum of Science is embarking on a mighty mission: to get schoolchildren excited about engineering and technology, help the US compete in the global economy, and, oh yes, make field trips more fun. John Hanc. The Boston Globe. December 11, 2005 (www.boston.com). "[O]ne of New England's most popular attractions is attempting a dramatic shift that is being watched closely by science museums around the country. …

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