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

Astronomers reveal first-ever image of a black hole

Image credit - EHT Collaboration

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Scientists have revealed the first ever image of a black hole, a major milestone in astrophysics which not only backs up Einstein’s theory of general relativity but also opens up a new era of black hole observations. The image shows the event horizon – the gravitational point of no return beyond which nothing, … Read more

‘Trusting self-driving cars is going to be a big step for people’

When self-driving cars start to operate in a real-life context, it could be transformative for people's perception of autonomous driving, says Dr Bonnefon.

Self-driving cars are set to bring one of the biggest changes to our global transportation system in decades, but their potential to increase road safety should not be over-emphasised if we want to increase people’s trust in automated vehicles, says Dr Jean-François Bonnefon from the Toulouse School of Economics, France, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, … Read more