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Learning to Trust Machines That Learn

Imagine lying on a hospital bed. Doctors with grave expressions hover. One leans down to tell you that you are terribly sick and says they recommend a risky procedure as your best hope. You ask them to explain what’s going on. They cannot. Your trust in the doctors ebbs away.

Replace the doctors with a computer program and you more or less have the state of artificial intelligence (AI) today. Technology increasingly insinuates itself into our lives, affecting the decisions we make and the decisions others make for us. More and more, we give computers responsibility and autonomy to decide on life-changing events. If your hospital bed happens to be in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, for example, your oncologist might have asked IBM’s Watson for advice. Watson is a computer system that can answer questions posed in everyday language, most famously using its skills to win the TV quiz show Jeopardy! in 2011.

White supremacists surrounded counterprotesters at the University of Virginia campus on August 11. Shay Horse /Associated Press

In memory: Anthropologist Sinoto’s work key to understanding Polynesian migration


Honolulu Star-Advertiser
In memory: Anthropologist Sinoto’s work key to understanding Polynesian migration
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Internationally renowned anthropologist Yoshihiko Sinoto, whose archaeological work spanned more than 60 years and provided the basis for understanding the Polynesian migration, died Wednesday of natural causes at age 93. “He was a giant in the field …

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