FROM David Gondek
Are Computers Learning to Think? In 1997, IBM's " Deep Blue " computer defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov. This week, " Watso n" defeated two champion humans on Jeopardy . Because Watson answered some tricky questions, IBM says the machine has "the ability to understand natural human language." Watson isn't available on your laptop — yet. It's a supercomputer the size of 10 refrigerators, programmed by 25 IBM scientists with the equivalent of one million books, including entire encyclopedias. It performs 80 trillion operations per second. But does Watson really think? Super-computers already invest on Wall Street and land airplanes at busy airports. What will they do next? Is artificial intelligence nearing the point where it replaces not just our jobs but also our minds?
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
In Janesville, WI, Middle America meets the new American dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn't prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. We hear what's happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.