So You Were Afraid To Ask: What is AI, Actually?

Artificial Intelligence is the loose name for a group of technologies that allow computers, fed with mountains of data and clever algorithms, to perform cognitive tasks that previously required human brainpower.


Beating human champions at Go or Chess, getting Alexa and Siri to understand voice commands, detecting fraudulent activity on your credit card, or automatically recognizing the faces in your Facebook photos are just a few ways AI is being used today. But those functions are going to grow dramatically in the coming years: driving cars, taking care of your elderly parents, or controlling autonomous lethal weapons.

From a political standpoint there are three big issues. First, who controls all the personal data that feeds AI algorithms. Is it you, your government, or the company that makes the phone/browser/app that you’re using right now? Second, who regulates what’s inside those algorithms and how that data is used? Third, is Vladimir Putin right that whatever nation leads in AI will “rule the world”?

In the end it wasn't even close. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party won a stunning victory in the UK's snap elections yesterday, taking at least 364 seats out of 650, delivering the Tories their largest majority since 1987.

Johnson read the public mood correctly. After three years of anguish and political uncertainty over the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union, he ran on a simple platform: "Get Brexit Done." In a typically raffish late-campaign move, he even drove a bulldozer through a fake wall of "deadlock." Despite lingering questions about his honesty and his character, Johnson's party gained at least 49 seats (one seat still hasn't been declared yet).

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This holiday season, how concerned should I be about smart toys and their vulnerability to hacking?

You should be concerned both, that Internet connected toys can be hacked and also that they have shoddy privacy practices. And then the voice files of your kid talking to their teddy bear will end up in the cloud, accessible to all kinds of creepy people. On the other hand, Internet connected toys are great. Kids need to learn about technology. So, tradeoffs.

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David Miliband: Now that Boris Johnson has won a majority in the House of Commons, what's going to happen to Brexit?

If only Brexit could get done in 60 seconds? Because the result of the general election obviously means that Britain will leave the European Union, but it does nothing to clarify our future relations with the European Union. The Johnson victory is undoubtedly a very strong one, and he will try and interpret it as a victory for himself and for the Conservative Party and the attraction that they offer to Labour voters.

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Once a widely heralded human rights champion who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for advancing democracy in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi has now taken up a different cause: defending her country from accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Yesterday was the court's final day of hearings over that country's military-led crackdown against the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017, which left thousands dead and forced more than 740,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh. Here's what you need to know about the proceedings.

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