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?
The US gets deeper into Middle East wars. What's the endgame? President Trump welcomed Egypt's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi to the White House today… just one of the changes in America's approach to the Middle East since Barack Obama left office. We hear about that and the escalation of warfare as well as civilian casualties.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.