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Links for 2020-11-21
1 min read

Links for 2020-11-21

  1. How tri-color e-ink works [Adafruit Industries / Youtube]
  2. Climate change may have been a major driver of ancient hominin extinctions [SAPIENS]
  3. Computer scientists achieve ‘crown jewel’ of cryptography. “The road from a theoretical breakthrough to a practical protocol can be a long one, Barak said. “But you could imagine,” he said, “that maybe 50 years from now the crypto textbooks will basically say, ‘OK, here is a very simple construction of indistinguishability obfuscation, and from that we’ll now derive all of the rest of crypto.’” [Quanta]
  4. The key to smarter robot collaborators may be more simplicity. “Using this idea, a robot could store very simple descriptions of its surrounding agents’ actions. In a game of air hockey, for example, it might store its opponents’ movements with only one word: “right,” “left,” or “center.” It can then use this data to train two separate algorithms: a machine-learning algorithm that predicts where the opponent will move next, and a reinforcement-learning algorithm to determine how it should respond. The latter algorithm also keeps track of how the opponent changes tack on the basis of its own response, so it can learn to influence the opponent’s actions.” [MIT Technology Review]
  5. The people whose minds are completely blank. “It might be said that the mind of patients with Auto-Activation Deficit is on stand-by when they are alone, but recovers almost all of its capabilities when stimulated by social interactions. But some patients with AAD experience an even more curious symptom: they cannot think. “Their mind is ‘empty, a total blank,’ they say. In the most typical cases, they have no thoughts and no projections in the future,” the researchers wrote.” [RealClearScience]
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