Algorithms associating appearance and criminality have a dark past

Cover: Physiognomies of Russian criminals from The Delinquent Woman (1893) by Cesare Lombroso. Courtesy the Wellcome Collection ‘Phrenology’ has an old-fashioned ring to it. It sounds like it belongs in a history book, filed somewhere between bloodletting and velocipedes. We’d like to think that judging people’s worth based on the size and shape of their …

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In a battle of AI versus AI, researchers are preparing for the coming wave of deepfake propaganda

In a battle of AI versus AI, researchers are preparing for the coming wave of deepfake propaganda AI-powered detectors are the best tools for spotting AI-generated fake videos. The Washington Post via Getty Images John Sohrawardi, Rochester Institute of Technology and Matthew Wright, Rochester Institute of Technology An investigative journalist receives a video from an …

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If a robot is conscious, is it OK to turn it off? The moral implications of building true AI’s

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Something about our current moment seems to have put a particular strain on our personal relationships. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Why friendships are falling apart over politics

Cover: Something about our current moment seems to have put a particular strain on our personal relationships. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images Why friendships are falling apart over politics Something about our current moment seems to have put a particular strain on our personal relationships. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images Melanie Green, University at Buffalo …

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The information arms race can’t be won, but we have to keep fighting

Arms races happen when two sides of a conflict escalate in a series of ever-changing moves intended to outwit the opponent. In biology, a classic example comes from cheetahs and gazelles. Over time, these species have evolved for speed, each responding to the other’s adaptations. A host of weirder examples come from the biology of …

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Private browsing: What it does – and doesn’t do – to shield you from prying eyes on the web

Private browsing: What it does – and doesn’t do – to shield you from prying eyes on the web The major browsers have privacy modes, but don’t confuse privacy for anonymity. Oleg Mishutin/iStock via Getty Images Lorrie Cranor, Carnegie Mellon University and Hana Habib, Carnegie Mellon University Leer en español Many people look for more …

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Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images

Dating over Zoom? Don’t be surprised if those online sparks fizzle in person

Cover: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images Dating over Zoom? Don’t be surprised if those online sparks fizzle in person Let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Peter Dazeley/The Image Bank via Getty Images Sheril Kirshenbaum, Michigan State University For those dipping their toes into the dating pool during …

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Descartes was wrong: ‘a person is a person through other persons’

According to Ubuntu philosophy, which has its origins in ancient Africa, a newborn baby is not a person. People are born without ‘ena’, or selfhood, and instead must acquire it through interactions and experiences over time. So the ‘self’/‘other’ distinction that’s axiomatic in Western philosophy is much blurrier in Ubuntu thought. As the Kenyan-born philosopher …

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Are ‘you’ just inside your skin or is your smartphone part of you?

In November 2017, a gunman entered a church in Sutherland Springs in Texas, where he killed 26 people and wounded 20 others. He escaped in his car, with police and residents in hot pursuit, before losing control of the vehicle and flipping it into a ditch. When the police got to the car, he was …

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Is artificial-womb technology a tool for women’s liberation?

While some women experience pregnancy and childbirth as joyful, natural and fulfilling, others find themselves recoiling in horror at the physical demands of carrying and sustaining a child in their womb, and even more so at the potential brutality of giving birth. Some might view the blood, sweat and tears as a necessary and unavoidable …

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