FROM Douglas Hofstadter
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?
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Trump's Russia ties intensify with Comey firing Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe contradicted the Trump White House today, insisting the Bureau had not lost faith in former Director James Comey. He promised to notify the committee of any interference into investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Vladimir Putin's Russia. What do we know about those contacts… and how they relate to Trump's business interests and those of his family?
Trump, the GOP and the rule of law Conservatives — and some Republicans — are criticizing the President for "the mess he made" in firing FBI Director James Comey. We hear about a potential successor, the possibility of "obstruction of justice" and the constitutional separation of powers.