Evolving AI 🧬, reversing ageing 🧓🏽 and Amazon continues to hire 🔨!

Technology


Artificial intelligence is evolving all by itself

Researchers have created software that borrows concepts from Darwinian evolution to build AI programs that improve generation after generation without human input. The program compares the algorithms’ performance against hand-designed algorithms. Copies of the top performers are “mutated” by randomly replacing, editing, or deleting some of its code to create slight variations of the best algorithms. The program replicated decades of AI research in a matter of days, and its designers think that one day, it could discover new approaches to AI.

3-D printers help override biometric security measures

The cybersecurity organization Cisco Talos Intelligence Group found that spoofing fingerprints can be achieved with an 80 percent success rate, and that expensive equipment is not needed to pull it off. With fingerprint scans commonly used in smartphones, computers, USB devices and home and office locks, millions of users are vulnerable. The security team acknowledged that successfully breaking and entering a device through biometrics was fairly complex. But they were nevertheless able to achieve the feat with a readily available 3-D printer that recreated a finger and print with a simple mold and glue.

Science


One type of exercise “reverses” ageings effect on stem cells — study

As people age, it becomes harder for people to bounce back from a workout, injury, or illness. Consistent exercise can slow down the degenerative process however a new study suggests we may not have to settle for slowing down. According to new research in mice, aerobic exercise may actually reverse ageing’s effect on essential muscle stem cells involved with tissue regeneration. If the research translates to humans, it means jogging, swimming, cycling, and other aerobic activities can help older people recover as quickly and efficiently as their younger selves.

Tech not hurting social skills of ‘kids these days’

Researchers compared teacher and parent evaluations of children who started kindergarten in 1998 (six years before Facebook) – with those who began school in 2010 (debut of the first iPad). Results showed both groups of kids were rated similarly on interpersonal skills such as the ability to form and maintain friendships and get along with people who are different. They were also rated similarly on self-control, such as the ability to regulate their temper. “In virtually every comparison we made, either social skills stayed the same or actually went up modestly for the children born later.”

Business


Amazon is hiring 75,000 more workers to keep up with demand during pandemic

Amazon plans to hire 75,000 more workers to meet increased demand for household essentials and other goods spurred by the coronavirus. The tech giant has already hired 100,000 new workers for its distribution centres. Amazon said it now expects to spend more than $500 million in pay increases for workers, up from its previous estimation of $350 million. Amazon is racing to bring on workers to meet surging demand; at the same time faces pressure from lawmakers and workers to take more safety precautions and potentially close facilities hit by the virus.

Ford expects coronavirus shutdown to cause $600 mln quarterly loss

Ford Motor Co expects to post a pre-tax loss of about $600 million for the first quarter as the coronavirus outbreak pummelled its sales and shuttered vehicle assembly plants, resulting in a 21% drop in vehicle sales to dealers versus the same quarter in 2019. The news sent Ford’s shares down more than 5%. Only Ford’s joint ventures in China, where the COVID-19 pandemic has been receding, are currently producing vehicles. The U.S. market, with its highly profitable pickup truck and SUV segments, generates the overwhelming majority of Ford’s profits.

Miscellaneous


White-tailed eagles have been spotted in England for the first time in 240 years

White-tailed eagles, one of the largest birds of prey with a 2.5-metre wingspan — have been spotted for the first time in 240 years soaring above the North York Moors. Also known as Sea Eagles, they went extinct in England in the early 20th century due to illegal killing. But thanks to a pioneering project by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation, there is new hope. Six eaglets were released in the Isle of Wight as part of a five-year plan to eventually introduce 60 birds to the coasts, cliffs, woodlands and estuaries around the Solent.

A 64-year-old man accidentally ejected himself from a fighter jet at 2,500 feet

A surprise company outing to an air base caused a 64-year-old French man so much stress that he flung himself from a fighter jet in mid-air, grabbing the ejector button in a panic and tumbling through the skies above France before landing in a field. When the jet was 2,500 feet above ground and the pilot began to climb, the passenger panicked and reached for something to hold onto. Unfortunately, that something was the ejector seat button. To make matters worse, he had not securely attached his helmet, which went flying in mid-air.

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