AlphaGo: beating humans is one thing but to really succeed AI must work with them
By Michael Cook
One of the lesser-played corners of that board is the subfield of AI called computational creativity. For the last five years, I’ve worked on a system called Angelina, which designs simple video games on its own. This field recently had its own AlphaGo moment of sorts, as the European What-If Machine project helped generate the premise behind a West End musical, Beyond The Fence. We’re building software that can engage with people creatively, or as we sometimes put it, to exhibit behaviours that observers would describe as creative. So our field is defined in terms of external forces – someone or something else needs to validate our work as creative, we can’t simply beat our opponent into submission and declare ourselves more artistic.
How the internet is disrupting politics
By Timothy B. Lee
Over the past two decades, the internet has lowered barriers to entry in a wide variety of industries. As a result, once-dominant institutions have seen their power — and in some cases their existence — threatened. In the book industry, Amazon has destroyed traditional booksellers. In the music industry, online services like iTunes and Pandora have undercut the power of traditional record labels. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft have undercut the power of traditional taxicab companies that once had a stranglehold on major urban markets. Now it's happening in the political system.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
By Corby Kummer
The New Republic
There is enough for everyone, we are just throwing it away. The food we waste is piling up in landfills and much of it is perfectly edible, there’s just an image problem. Unattractive produce doesn’t even make it to the grocery store. Their struggle is now being recognized, and unfairly discarded ugly food has a place in soup kitchens, trendy restaurants and on your plate.
Sea level rise projected to displace 13 million in US by 2100; US bars Atlantic drilling
Reuters and Associated Press
Reuters By Will Dunham
AP by Matthew Daly
Spring Break is going to look very different for the class of 2100. Miami beaches and the Florida Keys are just some of the coastal casualties we’ll experience as climate change continues. Good thing President Obama cares about preserving American springtime traditions. By not allowing offshore drilling on the US Atlantic Coast, spring breakers will continue to enjoy amateur beach volleyball tournaments and wet t-shirt contests for years to come. #yourewelcome
LABOR & ECONOMY
Oil and gas industry has pumped millions into Republican campaigns
By Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengtsson
Fossil fuel millionaires collectively pumped more than $100m into Republican presidential contenders’ efforts last year – in an unprecedented investment by the oil and gas industry in the party’s future. About one in three dollars donated to Republican hopefuls from mega-rich individuals came from people who owe their fortunes to fossil fuels – and who stand to lose the most in the fight against climate change.
Welcome To The Post-Work Economy
By Ben Schiller
If the goal of the economy is to provide decent-paying work for everyone, that economy clearly isn't doing a good job at the moment. Real wages for most Americans haven't increased in 40 years. Real unemployment—which includes the "under-employed"—is above 10%. Many jobs are now part-time, flexi-time, or "gigs" with no benefits and few protections. And, we spend a lot of money to subsidize so-called "bullshit jobs": more than 50% of fast food workers receive some form of public assistance, for instance.
GLOBAL CONFLICT & DEVELOPMENT
Hadi Should Look Southward for Legitimacy--Not North
By Adam Simpson
Gulf State Analytics
In March 2015, Yemeni President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the southern city of Aden as Houthi rebels descended on his presidential palace. Since then, he and his government have touted their legitimacy primarily from Saudi Arabia, which is chief among the coalition of nations fighting on Hadi’s behalf to wrest control of Yemen from the Houthis and their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) support Hadi, and many Yemenis as well see their country’s internationally-recognized government as the least-worst alternative to Houthi domination. However, as the conflict enters its second year, Hadi and his backers have not yet made the case that the government can articulate a viable future.
Russia begins withdrawing forces from Syria
By Holly Yan and Tim Hume
Russia began withdrawing its forces from Syria on Tuesday in a move that will leave the Syrian government to fend for itself to a much greater extent -- but with a greatly strengthened hand in negotiations over the country's future. The first group of Russian planes left Hmeymim air base in Syria on Tuesday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Russia's surprise announcement Monday that it would begin withdrawing its forces from the conflict came as suddenly as its devastating airstrike campaign that started in September.
Brookings to donors: Middle-phase funding key for scaling quality education
By Jeff Tyson
Scaling up quality education in developing countries will require sustained funding beyond the pilot phase — the time when most projects now end, according to the Brookings Institution. Donors should coordinate with one-another to ensure short-, medium- and long-term funding is secured, the think tank recommends.
So, America, this is how other countries do gun control
By Juliette Jowit, Sandra Laville, Calla Wahlquist, Philip Oltermann, Justin McCurry, and Lois Beckett
Even the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting that left 20 first-graders dead was not enough to convince American lawmakers to pass new gun control laws, with many people seeing the ownership of guns as a crucial check on government tyranny. The country’s highest court has ruled that outright bans on civilian ownership of handguns are unconstitutional. After similar mass shootings, other countries have taken more dramatic steps to regulate gun ownership. A look at four countries show that tougher gun laws have been central to these efforts, but that enforcement and culture may also play important roles in preventing violence.
How single women are transforming American politics
By Danielle Kurtzleben
It used to be that marriage was when adulthood began for American women. Moving straight out of their parents' house (or a college dorm) and into a house with a husband was simply the expected, preordained path for many women.But in the past few decades, wedding rings have become optional accessories. And as the American single woman flourished, she also profoundly changed (and is still changing) the economy, politics and the basic social fabric of the U.S. At least, that's what Rebecca Traister argues in her new book, All the Single Ladies. Traister, who considers herself a "liberal feminist," spoke to NPR about the political shifts that single women are creating, as well as how feminism is factoring into the 2016 election.