Artificial sentience straddles the fields of philosophy and engineering.

Throw robots into the mix and it gets really interesting.

Seeker examines what it mean for a robot to be self-aware.

The Creative Machines Lab at Columbia University https://www.creativemachineslab.com/“At the Creative Machines Lab we build robots that do what you’d least expect robots to do: Self replicate, self-reflect, ask questions, and even be creative. We develop machines that can design and make other machines – automatically.”

Commercially viable quantum computing could be here sooner than you think, thanks to a new innovation that shrinks quantum tech down onto a chip: a cryochip.

Seeker explains:

It seems like quantum computers will likely be a big part of our computing future—but getting them to do anything super useful has been famously difficult. Lots of new technologies are aiming to get commercially viable quantum computing here just a little bit faster, including one innovation that shrinks quantum technology down onto a chip.

With quarantines back in the public consciousness, you’d be surprised to hear that the Apollo 11 astronauts were themselves quarantined upon returning to Earth.

Vox explains:

In this episode of History Club, Vox’s Phil Edwards and Coleman Lowndes chat with Amy Shira Teitel of The Vintage Space about the Apollo 11 quarantine.

It was an unusual process for an unprecedented task: keeping potential moon germs from entering the Earth’s atmosphere (and affecting its population).

To try to isolate the Apollo astronauts from the Earth, NASA went to extraordinary lengths. They clothed them in “Biological Isolation Garments,” transported them on a converted Airstream trailer, and then quarantined them for weeks in a Lunar Receiving Lab specially built to analyze moon samples and, of course, the men who went there.

The quarantine was a strange capstone to the journey to the moon — but also a necessary one that’s surprisingly resonant today.

Last week, I explained to my son how 8-bit graphics worked.

I can’t tell you how many sheets of graph paper I went through designing sprites back in the day.

Although it was possible, I never made my own on Font on the Commodore 64.

In his book Arcade Game Typography, type designer Toshi Omagari breaks down the evolution, design, and history of arcade game fonts.

He guides you through the delightful 8-bit world and breaks it down pixel by pixel in the video below.

With the rise of a the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s also a sharp rise in scammers trying to profit on the situation.

Unfortunately, WHO’s email servers are not helping with the situation.

During the coronavirus pandemic, scammers have sent several emails using the domain of the World Health Organization. Some are addressed from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, and carry attachments that can install malware on the victim’s device. Others announce a coronavirus cure that you can read all about in an attachment. They each appear to be sent from the WHO’s who.int email address.

Computers just got a lot better at mimicking human language. Researchers created computer programs that can write long passages of coherent, original text.

Language models like GPT-2, Grover, and CTRL create text passages that seem written by someone fluent in the language, but not in the truth. That AI field, Natural Language Processing (NLP), didn’t exactly set out to create a fake news machine. Rather, it’s the byproduct of a line of research into massive pretrained language models: Machine learning programs that store vast statistical maps of how we use our language. So far, the technology’s creative uses seem to outnumber its malicious ones. But it’s not difficult to imagine how these text-fakes could cause harm, especially as these models become widely shared and deployable by anyone with basic know-how.

Read more here: https://www.vox.com/recode/2020/3/4/21163743/ai-language-generation-fake-text-gpt2