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“In 50 years, we’ll probably have a robot conducting this session,” said author Anupama Raju in her opening comments on Monday at the session “The Future is Now” in the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), giving voice to an increasingly popular concern: will robots take over the world, our jobs and life as we know it?
A panel of eminent technologists Meredith Broussard and Toby Walsh was in conversation with Raju on the concluding day of the Festival.
“Scientists work within the envelope of the dreams that writers tell us,” said Walsh, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) professor, stating that the world is now waking up to the ideas that have been explored by science fictions writers such as Isaac Asimov for over 50 years.
Data journalism professor Broussard said that Hollywood has “coloured” our perception of AI with movies such as “The Terminator”, which portray robots as “evil machines that take over humanity”.
She called the fictional narratives “interesting but far from reality”, stating that there is “very little to fear” about AI.
Walsh argued that the real concern with AI is actually its “incompetence: We are giving decision making ability to machines that are not capable of making choices that are fair and meet the values of the society we’d like”.
Walsh, who has written “2062: The World that AI Made”, however, batted for the greater rationality of machines over humans.
“Humans are terribly irrational,” she said.
Broussard argued that computers, limited by their ability to merely executing what they are programmed to do, would “discriminate by default: The world is racist and sexist and has all kinds of social and economic inequality”.
Agreeing that AI doesn’t have an opinion and simply reflects the values of the people who build it, Walsh said that using computers to make a fairer world would certainly require immense prudence and hard-work.
“It’s the same as how chemistry makes the world a better place if we think carefully about not over-fertilising our soil or using nuclear bombs.”
The panel also explored the impact of AI through the example of the popular debate on the use of driverless cars.
Walsh said that driverless cars would help save millions of lives, be economically beneficial by reducing transportation costs, prevent truck attacks by terrorists, and free people to do more productive tasks than driving.
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Broussard, author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World”, was admittedly “sceptical”.
Narrating an incident where she almost got killed by a driverless car, she explained, among other issues, how such cars’ “image-recognition algorithms could be easily defeated”, thereby resulting in accidents.
The JLF concludes later on Monday evening. (IANS)
By- Digital Hub
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The prestigious British-based, Booker Prize, is one of the most prestigious and acclaimed awards given annually to the best work of fiction. This award is given to a work of fiction which is primarily written in English language and published in the United Kingdom or Ireland by the writers of any nationality.
This year, six authors were nominated for their work of fiction, and the winner will be announced on the 3rd of November.
The books which were shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize 2021 are:
1. The Fortune Men by Nadifa Mohamed
British-Somali writer, Nadifa Mohamed's novel, 'The Fortune Men', is a chilling reimagining of Mahmood Mattan's story. Mattan, who is the main character in the book, was a Somali seaman who was wrongfully imprisoned and executed for a murder in Wales.
2. Bewilderment by Richard Powers
Pulitzer-winner, Richard Powers' book is a story of a young astrobiologist, who is in search of finding life on other planets, and his troubled son, Robin. The book is a mixture of sci-fi and family romance. Interestingly, this is Powers' first book after winning the Pulitzer Prize in the year 2019.
3. Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
This book is about the lives of pilot Marian Graves and Hadley Baxter, who was a troubled Hollywood actress. In the 1950s, Marian embarked on a journey to travel the world but then disappeared without a trace. Fifty years later, Hadley is drawn to play Marian's character, which indirectly leads her to probe the mysteries of the latter's life.
4. No One is Talking About This by Patricia Lockdwood
This is the first book by the American poet and memoirist. " 'No One Is Talking About This' is like a love letter to the endless scroll and a profound, modern meditation on love, language, and human connection from a singular voice in American literature," reads the book's blurb. This book was also one of the finalists for this year's Women's Prize for Fiction.
5. A Passage North by Anuk Arudpragasam
The Sri Lankan author's book tells the story of a young man who travels to Sri Lanka's war-torn North. The story deals with the themes of loss, longing, the legacy of war, and how it affects everyone. The author had earlier won the DSC Prize for his debut book "The Story of a Brief Marriage".
6. The Promise by Damon Galgut
Damon Galgut is a South African author. In this book, the author pens down the story about a white South African family living around in Pretoria, and the crisis they face during the last few years because of apartheid.
Today, 17 September,marks the 133rd birth anniversary of Michiyo Tsujimura, who was a Japanese scientist, and worked extensively on decoding the nutritional value of green tea.
Tsujimura spent her early career as a science teacher. And, in 1920, she chased her dream of becoming a scientific researcher at the Hokkaido Imperial University, where she began to analyse the nutritional properties of Japanese silkworms, in which she was very much interested.
After a few years, Tsujimura transferred to the Tokyo Imperial University, and began researching the biochemistry of green tea alongside Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, who is well known for his discovery of vitamin B1.
In their joint research in this area, it was revealed that green tea contained significant amount of vitamin C, which is the first of many, yet unknown molecular compounds in green tea.
Later on, in 1929, Tsujimura isolated catechin, which is bitter ingredient of tea. Then, the next year, she isolated tannin, which is an even more bitter compound. All these findings formed the foundation for her doctoral thesis– "On the Chemical Components of Green Tea", and through all this hard work, she graduated as Japan's first woman doctor of agriculture in the year 1932.
Moreover, Tsujimura also made history as an educator when she became the first ever Dean of the Faculty of Home Economics at the Tokyo Women's Higher Normal School in the year 1950.
Even today, a stone memorial in honor of Dr. Michiyo Tsujimura’s achievements can be found in her birthplace of Okegawa City.