AlphaFold and the state of AI in biotech

AlphaFold was all over the news this week. What it’s done is hugely important, but also nowhere near enough. In case you’ve forgotten your high-school biology, proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids. They can be extremely complicated molecules, but one of the more interesting things about them is that their function can […]

The resurgence of national tech wars

It used to be the case that much of “high tech” was considered a national security issue. This wasn’t just about ballistic missiles and targeting software. Today, everyone has strong encryption, but through the 1990s, cryptographic software was considered “munitions”, and was strongly controlled. The same applied to microchips. With the collapse of the Soviet […]

Apple is building a search engine?

The whole business-news world was awash with speculation this week that Apple is building its own search engine (The Telegraph ($/2), Financial Times ($), Forbes, Forbes again, c|net, etc…). These sites all point out that Google is under anti-trust scrutiny, and part of that is the purported $8–12 billion that Google pays Apple to be the default search engine on Apple devices; and […]

Which is the larger long-term danger, COVID-19 or GPT-3?

That’s the question a computer-science friend of mine recently asked — which of course leads one to query, what the heck is GPT-3? GPT stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, and is one of the outputs of the OpenAI initiative. GPT-3 is … the 3rd version of GPT. What it does is, given a word, try to […]

WWDC and privacy

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference was last week. As expected, one of the biggest announcements was that they’re moving away from Intel and to their own chips. And, although it wasn’t front and center, it was mentioned enough that I’m sticking with my prediction that this is all about “AI”, and we’re going to see […]

Apple moving to ARM on Macs, what does it mean?

There’s a rumor that Apple will be moving to ARM chips on the Macintosh product line. It’s still just a rumor, and we’ve been hearing such things for a few years now, but now it’s out on Bloomberg, which is saying Apple intends to make this announcement the week of the 22nd, at their World […]

AI finds strong, new antibiotic

The growth in antibiotic-resistant microbes has been a problem for years — and we’ve had no real plan on how to deal with it. Currently, this results in about 35,000 deaths per year in the U.S., and predictions are that the global number will exceed 10 million deaths per year by 2050. With the help […]

China, Uyghur, TikTok

China is spreading Uyghur recognition across the country At least twelve projects across China are mandating that the ability to identify Uyghur be built into their facial-recognition systems. Imagine if US police RFPs started mandating Navajo recognition? Or if the English started mandating Welsh recognition? Remember, TikTok is controlled by China Seventeen-year-old Feroza Aziz wanted […]

AI is getting really good, but it’s probably not as good as you think

AI startup DeepMind, acquired by Google in 2014 and most famous for its crushing prowess in games like Chess and Go, is setting its sights on real scientific problems, but its successes and failures point to how much data is really required for modern AI to accomplish anything meaningful. Their current project is to predict […]