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Tag: Humans

How computers may eventually beat humans at their own games

How computers may eventually beat humans at their own games

Technology
This is an Inside Science story. A new computer program taught itself superhuman mastery of three classic games -- chess, go and shogi -- in just a few hours, a new study reports. These findings could help lead to artificial intelligence programs that could learn to play and master any game, and perhaps other human tasks, researchers said. From the first days of computing, games have served as benchmarks of how well machines perform in tasks humans also find challenging. Since the computer Deep Blue beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, AIs have defeated humans at even more computationally difficult games. For example, in 2016, AlphaGo from the company DeepMind in London bested a master of the ancient Chinese game of go, achieving one of the Grand Challenges of AI at least a...
Pig hearts transplanted into baboons – could humans be next?

Pig hearts transplanted into baboons – could humans be next?

Technology
Pig hearts have been transplanted into baboons - a development that could pave the way for humans to receive porcine organs in future. Researchers from Germany, Sweden and Switzerland said two Anubis baboons had survived for six months, while another two lived for at least three months.Previously, the longest a baboon had survived after such a procedure was 57 days.Since then, genetic modifications have been made to the hearts and a new transplant technique has been developed. Image: The transplant procedure was refined during three trials. File pic The pigs were modified so that they produced a human version of two proteins which block an immune response in alien cells.It was also ensured that they generated thrombomo...
Humans 'off the hook' for African mammal extinction

Humans 'off the hook' for African mammal extinction

Science
New research has disputed a longstanding view that early humans helped wipe out many of the large mammals that once roamed Africa.Today, Africa broadly has five species of massive, plant-eating mammal; but millions of years ago there were many more types of giant herbivore.Why so many types vanished is not known, but many experts have blamed our tool-using, meat-eating ancestors.Now, researchers say the mammal decline began long before humans appeared.Writing in the journal Science, Tyler Faith, from the Natural History Museum of Utah, and colleagues argue that long-term environmental change drove the extinctions.This mainly took the form of an expansion of grasslands, in response to falling atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO₂)...
UK robot 'to pave way for humans to explore Mars'

UK robot 'to pave way for humans to explore Mars'

Technology
Work has started in Britain on building on a robot vehicle that will be sent to look for life on Mars. The European Space Agency's Mars rover is being constructed in Stevenage with the aim of exploring the Martian surface in 2021.It has a drill to probe up to two metres under the surface of Mars and has instruments on board that can examine the samples it finds.The 300kg robot vehicle is capable of travelling 2cm a second for at least 90 days, but scientists hope it will remain active for as long as the latest American rover Curiosity, which landed in August 2012 and is still exploring. Image: An artist's impression of the ExoMars rover on the Red Planet's surface. Pic: ESA Liz Seward, senior strategist ...
Viruses affected gene flow between humans, Neanderthals

Viruses affected gene flow between humans, Neanderthals

Science
Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Previous studies have confirmed interbreeding among humans and Neanderthals. Now, a new genetic survey has revealed gene flow between humans and Neanderthals was mediated by viral transmissions. "It's not a stretch to imagine that when modern humans met up with Neanderthals, they infected each other with pathogens that came from their respective environments," David Enard, an assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, said in a news release. "By interbreeding with each other, they also passed along genetic adaptations to cope with some of those pathogens." Scientists think humans first interacted with Neanderthals in Eurasia, after migrating out of Africa 70,000 years ago. Humans brought viruses that Neanderthals had no natural im...