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Smelling Disease, Why You’re a Privacy Hypocrite, and AI’s Imitation Game—The Download, May 2, 2017

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Three Things You Need to Know Today

AI That Wants To Be You 
Machine learning is becoming an excellent mimic. Armed with the most accurate digital model of a human face ever created, a team of computer scientists has built an AI that can turn a simple 2-D snap into an accurate 3-D model of someone’s head. Meanwhile, Canadian startup Lyrebird claims to have an AI that can impersonate another person’s voice. Our own Will Knight contemplates a world in which artificial intelligence makes it harder than ever to tell real from fake.

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Machines That Sniff Out Disease
The doctor will smell you now. Some diseases have a scent: many cancer tumors give off an odor that dogs can identify. Now, the New York Times suggests that the technology required to detect those scents in a medical setting has matured. British firm Owlstone is testing sensors to identify lung cancer, University of Pennsylvania researchers are seeking out ovarian cancer by sniffing blood, and an Israeli team claims to spot 17 diseases with 86 percent accuracy via breath analysis.

The Future of Live TV Online
Internet giants are still fighting for eyeballs. Netflix and Hulu have changed the way we consume box sets and movies, but now there’s a tussle to win people over to streamed live TV: Twitter is to show Bloomberg news, Amazon will air Thursday night football, and Facebook makes no secret of its own ambitions. Trouble is, for live TV people still turn to ... well, the TV. This Recode article investigates how the NFL is weighing its options to perfect the transition from TV to the tubes.

Ten Fascinating Things

California's newly proposed cap-and-trade program for CO2 could set some of the highest prices in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.

What looks like a tiny mechanical ostrich chasing after a car? Actually, this pioneering two-legged robot.

We all grumble about intrusions into our digital lives, then keep on using the services that betray us. Here’s why we’re so hypocritical about online privacy.

The Chinese government is hiring 20,000 people to build the country’s own version of Wikipedia.

The Ford Fusion Energi is the first car to come loaded with Amazon’s AI assistant, Alexa. The Verge took its tech for a test drive.

In Switzerland, a bold new attempt to regrow a retreating glacier will blow artificial snow over the huge body of ice during the summer to keep it from melting.

The government is getting a tech upgrade: Donald Trump has signed an executive order to modernize federal IT systems.

Aquaculture provides half of the world’s seafood. But feed shortages and sustainability issues mean that the industry is innovating to help meet demand.

Chinese Internet giant Tencent is continuing its push into artificial intelligence with a new machine learning lab in Seattle.

Here’s how the world’s first nanocar race played out over the weekend—sadly, without a nano-scale chequered flag in sight.

Quote of the Day

"We’d love it if every world leader used Twitter as their primary mechanism to talk to their constituencies."

— Twitter’s chief operating officer, Anthony Noto, has lofty desires for his social network's use as a political communication tool.


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Geoffrey Hinton tells us why he’s now scared of the tech he helped build

“I have suddenly switched my views on whether these things are going to be more intelligent than us.”

ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it

The narrative around cheating students doesn’t tell the whole story. Meet the teachers who think generative AI could actually make learning better.

Meet the people who use Notion to plan their whole lives

The workplace tool’s appeal extends far beyond organizing work projects. Many users find it’s just as useful for managing their free time.

Learning to code isn’t enough

Historically, learn-to-code efforts have provided opportunities for the few, but new efforts are aiming to be inclusive.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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