SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT

Artificial Intelligence and the Threat to Our Humanity

STEPHEN Hawking had warned a few years back that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could spell the end of human race, a threat echoed by Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, Bill Gates, and many others. This is the apocalyptic vision that the robots we create, may decide we are an obsolete model deserving “retirement”. The truth, a more banal one, is that, are we letting machine algorithms take over what were human decisions earlier, decision making of the governments, the businesses and even ours.

Population Genetics Confirm Historians and Confound RSS Theories

A RECENT paper on a genome wide study of the South Asian population (A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals: BMC Evolutionary Biology, March 2017) strikingly confirms the work of historians, archaeologists and historical linguists. Data shows that there were indeed significant migrations from Eurasian steppes into South Asia, starting from 3,500 years ago. The South Asian population – current Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, and Sri Lankan population – have a significant central Asian component in their genetic make-up.

US Exits Paris Agreement

US President Donald Trump made the shocking, but not unexpected, announcement last week that the US is pulling out of the Paris Agreement (PA) on climate change. 195 countries had endorsed PA last December and 147 nations have since ratified it.  

The history of US betrayals of international climate agreements has thus repeated itself, the first time as tragedy, when President George W Bush walked out of the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 soon after being elected, and now as farce.

NSA's Hacking Tool in World's Biggest Malware Attack

LAST week, the world woke up to the largest cyber security threat ever, with a ransomware wannacry originating from NSA's cache of cyber weapons, infecting hundreds of thousands of computers. Computers in more than 150 countries have been infected by the ransomware, with the users locked out of their vital files and data. The criminal group behind wannacry want $300 in bitcoin as ransom, for releasing the files back to their users. The ransom note, displayed on the hacked machines, also say that the ransom will double if the victims do not pay up within three days.

RSS Marketing Illegal Mumbo Jumbo as Science for Making Super Babies

THE RSS linked Arogya Bharati has been running programmes for producing “fair, tall babies” with “high intelligence”; even if the parents are dark, short and with low intelligence. All this according to Arogya Bharati “experts” can be done by following Garbhasanskar, claimed to be ancient Indian wisdom. They have even set up Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra, a so-called research centre in Jamnagar, Gujrat. Garbhavigyan Anusandhan Kendra not only promises the parents of “getting the best progeny”, but also the “desired sex of offspring”.

Is Trump Starting a Second Korean War, This Time with Nuclear Weapons?

THE US has been positioning its aircraft carrier strike force Carl Vinson and USS Michigan, an Ohio class nuclear submarine, off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Trump has threatened that if China does not intervene, the US will “solve the problem” of a nuclear Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) “all by itself”; presumably through military strikes.

March for Science

EARTH Day, commemorated on April 22 each year, has always seen marches and demonstrations  highlighting dangers to life on the planet and mobilising people for the defence of the environment from wanton exploitation and profiteering. Earth Day this year was different. It saw rallies in cities round the world, especially in the US, under the banner March for Science. This year Earth Day was not about saving the planet, but about saving science and the institutions that engage in studying and propagating it. Who would have thought such a thing would happen?

Generic Prescribing of Medicines: Diktats are Not a Substitute for Sound Public Policy

IN a recent public meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government would take steps to reduce costs incurred on purchase of medicines by making it mandatory for doctors to prescribe medicines in generic name. In itself such a step by the government would be welcome. Unfortunately past experience shows that such pronouncements are mere empty promises that have no relation to the situation on the ground.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - SCIENCE & DEVELOPMENT