Free Online Course on Rationality, AI Antibiotics, Science in Tabloids, Robots

Written by Argumentful

Another course from the module taught by Prof. Steven Pinker at Harvard was made available free of charge on Panopto. The topic is Rational Choice Theory and Game Theory and includes among others the Utility Theory, the Prisoners’ Dilemma and concepts of game theory.  Follow @sapinker to get links to other presentations.

The peer-reviewed journal Cell published a paper about the use of machine learning to identify new antibiotics. The approach used was to train a deep learning model using the ZINC15 database which contains millions of compounds. The algorithm found 23 potential antibiotics, eight of which were structurally different from any known antibiotics. One of them named halicin which worked when tested on mice. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to find a cure for common cold, flu and other viruses in a similar way. published a very valuable debunking of two tabloid articles published in The Sun and Mail Online. Both articles were based on a study published in a reputable journal, BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health, but did a lousy job in conveying the detailed message especially in the article headlines. This is very representative for how the press present scientific findings inaccurately by removing important details around number of subjects and probability as well as being guilty of the classical logical fallacy “correlation is not causation”, which is particularly bad since the authors mentioned this very clearly.

Let’s wrap it up with a compilation of videos showing how robots at Boston Dynamics have evolved over the last 10 years. Impressive. And scary.

Boston Dynamics 10 Years challenge on Robots

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