Science and Tech Links (October 21, 2017)

Rodney Brooks writes about the 7 Deadly Sins of AI Predictions. The text articulates a lot of my personal doubts about much of what I see on the news regarding AI. Some people seemed to read this article as a rebutal of AI itself, which I find puzzling as I did not read that at all. If anything, Brooks seems to believe AI will be much bigger than we can possible imagine. He does talk about predictions being flawed. I can’t argue with that.

The Canadian Space Agency is worried about Canada’s vulnerability to solar flares and the like. As a first step, it has published a request for proposals to run studies on the effects of space weather events on the Canadian infrastructure (PDF). The study won’t focus only on cataclysmic scenarios but also at more-routine effects of space weather, like solar wind, flares that affect radio frequencies, radiation storms that send particles towards us and geomagnetic storms that can disrupt satellite systems and other technologies. If you know me, you’ll know a solar flare frying the electrical grid is my nightmare scenario.

After six years in service, the first Chinese space station, Tiangong 1, is set to fall back to earth sometime in the next few months. Still not clear exactly when, it should happen late this year or early 2018. I’d love to get my hand at a piece of that. As a space exploration geek, I find it incredibly sad that the Chinese space program is relatively secret. I’d love to know more.