Real-time WhatsApp advice aids surgery in rural Malawi

In remote, rural corners of Malawi, hospitals are often faced with life-and-death decisions. Women in need of emergency caesarean sections, older people with hernias, and children with appendicitis need surgery. But should they be rushed to the operating theatre or transferred to specialists in city hospitals? The answer depends on the patient’s condition, the distance … 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

In a picture: ‘Now we know what a black hole looks like’

by Jonathan O’Callaghan The first-ever image of an event horizon – the gravitational boundary of a black hole beyond which light cannot escape – was revealed on 10 April and is the best evidence yet that these phenomena really do exist. It was the result of a global collaboration of hundreds of scientists, using multiple … Read more

Gravitational waves helping to expose black holes, dark matter and theoretical particles

Image Credit - LSC/Alex Nitz

Gravitational waves – the invisible ripples in the fabric of space predicted by Albert Einstein – are opening up a new era of astronomy that is allowing scientists to see parts of the universe once thought to be invisible, such as black holes, dark matter and theoretical subatomic particles called axions. Almost 100 years after … Read more

Mining sewage for fertilisers and energy to prevent water shortages

Image Credit - Danilo Pinzon / World Bank (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Transforming the dirty water we flush down the drain into new products, such as clean energy and fertilisers, can help prevent reservoirs from running dry and change the way this valuable resource is viewed. Currently, water use risks leaving half the world facing severe scarcity by 2030 as demand outstrips supply. The linear way our societies … 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