Few aeroplanes land automatically but new systems could make this the norm

Almost half of fatal plane accidents happen between final approach and landing. Image credit - Pixabay/ windhaven1077, licensed under Pixabay license

by Jonathan O’Callaghan When it comes to planes cruising through the air, many of us are used to the idea of them flying on autopilot with little or no input from a human pilot as they travel from one destination to another. Landing a plane under autopilot, known as autoland, is a different matter. While … Read more

Basic research to world-changing applications can take 6 months – or 50 years

The science that made smartphones possible was done in the 1940s and 1950s. Image credit - Pixabay/ 7721622, licensed under Pixabay license

All technology and innovation have a science base but to get there requires patience, as the journey from curiosity-driven basic research to a world-changing technology can take six months or 50 years, a panel of Nobel and Kavli prize laureates has said. Professor Ben Feringa, who won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2016 for his … Read more

Concerns linger over workplace robots, even as they deliver benefits

Robots can already take over some repetitive tasks from human workers, now research focuses on more interaction between the two. Image credit - KUKA Roboter GmbH, Bachmann, the image is in the public domain

People harbour lingering fears about the impact of robots on their jobs and welfare, but machines in the workplace have produced benefits that researchers believe are likely to continue. But for that to happen, challenges such as earning workers’ trust and improving safety and human-robot interaction must be overcome. In the EU, 72% of people are … Read more

AI can help us fight climate change. But it has an energy problem, too

Data centres that store and process algorithms use a lot of energy but there is little discussion about their environmental impact. Image credit - 123net/Wikimedia, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Annette Ekin Artificial intelligence (AI) technology can help us fight climate change – but it also comes at a cost to the planet. To truly benefit from the technology’s climate solutions, we also need a better understanding of AI’s growing carbon footprint, say researchers.   AI is changing the way we work, live and solve … Read more

Notre Dame: Medieval stonemasons built vaulted ceilings to protect against fires

Medieval stonemasons knew very well what they were doing when they built ceiling vaults such as those found in Notre Dame, says gothic vault expert. Image credit - CC0

Medieval stonemasons built soaring vaulted ceilings such as those of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France, using techniques that are still not completely understood today. The challenge of restoring Notre Dame after the fire in April presents an opportunity to unravel the techniques of the time, says Professor David Wendland, chair of construction … Read more

Can artificial intelligence help end fake news?

Artificial intelligence can be used to create deep fakes - audio, pictures and videos that make people say and do things they never did. Image credit - PxHere

by Tom Cassauwers Fake news has already fanned the flames of distrust towards media, politics and established institutions around the world. And while new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) might make things even worse, it can also be used to combat misinformation. Want to make yourself sound like Obama? In the past, that might have required physically … Read more