Sunday, June 30, 2024

GPT passed the Turing Test -- And No One Noticed

The Turing test used to be the key benchmark for artificial intelligence. The idea, going back to Alan Turing, was that a human interrogator would have a chat with a respondent, and the human needs to figure out whether the respondent is either human, or an AI. GPT has now officially passed that test. Would you be able to tell it apart from a human?

Saturday, June 29, 2024

What will they think about us in 2085?

The more depressing the present becomes, the more I like thinking about the future. Here I have collected some speculations about what changes are on the horizon, from the end of monogamy to autonomous vehicles and synthetic wombs.

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Superintelligent AI Will Try to Control Us, Geoffrey Hinton Says

A heated debate was recently ignited after Geoffrey Hinton gave an interview in which he says he is very worried that we will soon lose control over superintelligent AI. Meta’s AI chief Yann LeCun disagrees with the concern, and I… I think they’re both wrong. Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

MOND is so back

One of the biggest ongoing dramas in science is whether or not dark matter is real. A new update speaks strongly against dark matter and gives a boost to its alternative: Modified Newtonian Dynamics. Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

String Theorists Have Calculated the Value of Pi

String theorists have calculated the value of pi. Didn’t we already know the value of pi? At least the first one hundred trillion digits or so. Yes, but this is an interesting story about the relation between maths and physics. Let’s have a look.

This video comes with a quiz which you can take here:

Sunday, June 23, 2024

Why do people hate scientists?

A lot of people seem to dislike scientists. A recent poll in the United States showed that 7% of Americans think that scientists are not likeable. Is this a global trend? What are some reasons people don’t like scientists? Here are my thoughts.

Saturday, June 22, 2024

Climate scientists can’t agree on how warm it is

I recently read that the world has crossed 1.5 degrees of warming above the pre-industrial level, the limit set in the Paris agreement. Then I read that we crossed it several years ago. Then some climate scientists objected. Why can’t climate scientists agree on how warm the Earth is? Have we already broken the Paris agreement? I have the summary.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Biggest Self-Own in Quantum Computing, Ever

Quantum computing, so the fairy tale goes, is the next big thing in technology. News has popped up time and time again noting major advancements in the field, but the latest statement from company D-Wave had people scratching their heads. Are quantum computers really the next big thing? Who’s at the forefront of the field now? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Gravity Without Mass Could Explain Dark Matter

I recently read that you can have gravity without mass. Ha, no way, I thought and had a look at the paper. It's wild, people. The author says that there are hollow spheres scattered across the universe that have no gravitational attraction and that these spheres explain dark matter. I will try to sort it out for you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

This New Idea Could Explain Complexity

The universe creates complexity out of simplicity, but despite many attempts at understanding how, scientists still have not figured it out. We do know that complexity relies on the emergence of new features and laws, but then again we don't understand emergence either. The first step must be to clearly define what we are talking about and to measure it. A group of scientists now put forward a way to do exactly this. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dark Energy comes from Anti-Universe, New Theory Says

Dark Energy is the name that astrophysicists have given to what ever accelerates the expansion of our universe. In a recent paper, a physicist has now claimed that it's nothing to do with dark energy, it's that we are entangled with an “anti-universe.” I thought this was complete nonsense until I noticed the idea is closely related to Eric Verlinde’s emergent gravity that I was quite fond of before it basically disappeared.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Big News for Quantum Computing: First Scalable Platforms

A lot of big banks are banking on quantum computing because they think it’ll give them an edge in trading. Though I have on previous occasions noted my doubt that we’ll see any useful quantum computers within the next ten years, two new papers detailing new methods of scaling quantum computers have shifted my perspective. Let’s have a look.

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Is the intelligence explosion near? A reality check.

I had a look at Leopold Aschenbrenners recent (very long) essay about the supposedly near "intelligence explosion" in artificial intelligence development. I am not particularly convinced by his argument. You can read his essay here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

This could test Stephen Hawking’s prediction

Stephen Hawking’s most famous prediction is that black holes decay by emitting radiation. This prediction has never been tested and most physicist, me included, think that it's basically impossible to test. So I was surprised to see that a group of astrophysics recently claimed they can put the prediction to the test because black hole mergers produce morsels. What does that mean? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

AI Learned to Lie Deliberately (but it’s kinda funny)

We just saw another open letter about the risks of artificial intelligence, calling for more regulation. Justified or not, AI worry is making some people’s life miserable. Are concerns that AI will lead to humanity’s extinction overblown or not talked about enough? A recent review paper about AI learning to lie has been eye-opening. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 09, 2024

The Benefits of Climate Change

Climate change is bad -- we hear this a lot. But this isn't the full story. Climate change also has benefits. And I think we need to talk about those too. Some regions of this planet will see milder climate and better conditions from agriculture. We'll see fewer people freeze to death, and, yes, some plants actually benefit from carbon dioxide.

Saturday, June 08, 2024

Why Bitcoin Mining is Good for the Environment -- And why it isn't

I was under the impression that Bitcoin mining was bad for the environment. It turns out that the situation is much more controversial and interesting than I originally thought. So what is it, is bitcoin good? Or is it bad? Let’s have a look.

Thursday, June 06, 2024

“Are we the idiots?” – Bill Gates on Planting Trees

Bill Gates has recently been under fire following an interview in which he said that planting trees won’t save us from climate change. Is he right? Is this just another quote taken out of context? What does the science say? Let’s have a look.

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Musk is Right: Neutrinos Are Evidence for New Physics

Elon Musk made a surprising tweet about neutrinos, writing that “Anything that potentially challenges the Standard Model is a very interesting experiment.” What is he going on about? Is he correct? Let’s have a look.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

AI’s Dirty Little Secret

here’s a lot of talk about artificial intelligence these days, but what I find most interesting about AI no one ever talks about. It’s that we have no idea why they work as well as they do. I find this a very interesting problem because I think if we figure it out it’ll also tell us something about how the human brain works. Let’s have a look.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Hypersonic Arms Race: What You Need to Know

Hypersonic weapons have been in the headlines a lot over the past year as Russia, China, and the US race to develop the next generation of high-tech missiles. But are these supersonic sensations all hype and less hype-r? Let’s have a look.

Saturday, June 01, 2024

Howard's Theory of Everything is Nonsense, but I try to Say it Nicely

Actor Terrence Howard claims that he has invented a theory of everything that improves physics, based on the idea that 1x1=2. After an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, his ideas have unfortunately attracted attention.