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Controlling superconducting regions within an exotic metal
  • By combining a novel metal, CeIrIn5, with a sapphire crystal, scientists can draw superconducting circuits into the crystal.
  • Until now, the superconducting states were virtually impossible to manipulate in superconductors.
  • CeIrIn5 has a unique property where some of it can be superconductive, while other parts of it retain a normal metallic state.
  • Scientists that discovered this have also created a model that enables the design of complex conducting patterns by varying the temperature of the material.
  • This could lead to new technologies, including a quantum version of a conventional transistor.

France to become first EU country to use nationwide facial recognition ID app
  • Alicem is a mobile app that will enable French citizens to access public services, and will go live after a 6-month trial period.
  • It will read data from an electronic passport chip, and validate the citizen’s identity by confirming the data with facial recognition.
  • The government insists that it will be secure, and will delete all facial data within seconds of logging in.
  • Digital security experts warn that if France doesn’t use the most secure, bleeding-edge technology, then it might be too soon for a system like this.

The rise of the financial machines
  • Last month (September 2019) marked the first time that AI-controlled funds managed more American equities than humans.
  • Computers have moved on from buying and selling stocks, to the much more complex task of monitoring the economy and investing capital.
  • New AI programs write their own investing rules, some of which humans cannot comprehend.
  • AI in finance has risks -- financial instability, sudden market crashes, lack of governance -- but it’s growing in strength, and it’s here to stay.

Machine learning finds new metamaterial designs for energy harvesting
  • Machine learning turns 2,000 hours of calculations into 23 hours, in order to design a new type of metamaterial.
  • The designed material is proof of concept for a new type of devices to create electricity from heat.
  • A thermophotovoltaic device like this could turn specific frequencies of infrared light into energy.

A.I. Researchers See Danger of Haves and Have-Nots
  • Recent research shows that in the last 6 years, the volume of calculations needed to be a leader in AI has increased 300,000 times.
  • This has changed the dynamic of innovation in technology, which used to be driven by universities, but now only Big Tech can afford to run sophisticated models.
  • What’s more, scientists estimated that training a huge deep-learning model can generate the same carbon footprint as the lifetime of five American cars.
  • Some say this calls for “green AI” (which wouldn’t rely only on increasing raw computational power), and greater democratization of resources for AI research.
  • Big Tech isn’t staying idle, and various teams at the biggest technology companies are working towards addressing these problems.




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