Ex-Machina is less a Movie about the Nature of AI and more about the Fantasies of Men

David Glance, University of Western Australia

The recent South by Southwest festival in Austin Texas this year featured the US premiere of a new movie about artificial intelligence called Ex Machina. The movie, directed by Alex Garland, has received mostly positive reviews, principally for its attempt, in the words of the reviewers, to explore issues about the nature of artificial intelligence and ultimately, its dangers to humanity.

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Mother Nature’s answer to our DNA's infidelity and the Discovery of DNA Repair

Michael Sean Pepper, University of Pretoria

Imagine a world in which nothing could go wrong. Completely predictable, without risk and with guaranteed equality for all. This utopia of course does not exist. It’s therefore not surprising that even Mother Nature can’t maintain complete fidelity in the most intimate element that defines who we are: our DNA.

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Virtual Reality: Explained with Optical illusions

Michael Abrash, the chief scientist for Facebook's Oculus, took the stage during day two of the F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco to blow everyone's mind with some trippy optical illusions. During the keynote, Abrash highlighted some interesting illusions to explain how we can trick our eyes into thinking what we're seeing is reality. And according to Abrash, these perceptions, and the assumptions our brain makes about them, are what make virtual reality work.

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Fluorescent Proteins Light up Science by Making the Invisible Visible

Marc Zimmer, Connecticut College

When you look up at the blue sky, where are the stars that you see at night? They’re there but we can’t see them. A firefly flitting across a field is invisible to us during the day, but at night we can easily spot its flashes. Similarly, proteins, viruses, parasites and bacteria inside living cells can’t be seen by the naked eye under normal conditions. But a technique using a fluorescent protein can light up cells' molecular machinations like a microscopic flashlight.

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Connecting Animals to the Cloud Could Help Predict Earthquakes

Yijun Yu, The Open University and Clara Mancini, The Open University

The recent earthquake in Nepal demonstrated yet again how difficult it is to reliably predict natural disasters. While we have a good knowledge of the various earthquakes zones on the planet, we have no way of knowing exactly when a big quake like the 7.8-magnitude event in Nepal will happen.

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