Artificial Intelligence

Deep learning is used in everything from speech recognition software to the assessment of mortgage applications. But as we discover in the new BBC Focus magazine, the only trouble is, we don’t really know how it works…  - subscribe here.

  • What laboratory-grown ‘mini brains’ can tell us about our own grey matter and the diseases that afflict it.
  • Get yourself a serious dose of Yuletide knowledge, from cooking the perfect turkey to optimising your tinsel-to-fairylight ratio.
  • Could data-crunching warn us about the next major attack before it actually happens? New research suggests it just might.
  • Mammoth tusks are worth a lot of money – and Siberia has thousands of them, spawning an illegal trade with nasty consequences.

Can computers think? Since the 1950s we have been trying to make computers that mimic the brain's complex neural networks. There has been  success with specific challenges, such as when Deep Blue beat chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, but consciousness and general intelligence remain long term goals. More recent developments such as IBM's question answering system Watson, and Apple's intelligent personal assistant Siri have focused on answering  user's closed questions.

What does it mean to be a machine?

Transhumanism is the subject of To Be A Machine, the the 2017 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize-shortlisted book by Mark O’Connell, which explores the philosophy and science behind improving our minds and bodies beyond what nature gave us.

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9 of the funniest science songs on the internet

Songs about science – not the most likely genre to trouble to Top 40, but you’d be surprised as to how enthusiastic scientists are at teaching their art through song. Oh yes, and comedians also seem to be on a similar wavelength. Here are some of our favourite science songs.