Been Taught Stealin’

The number of self-check out terminals around the world is predicted to reach 325,000 by 2019 and some stores have even become fully self service. But for some supermarket customers, the removal of store clerks has been a green light for dishonest behaviour. Customers are now relatively autonomous in the picking, payment and packing of goods they wish to purchase, but trusting them to process an honest and correct transaction is not without problems. Jeff and Anthony have an unexpected item in the bagging area and need some help.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Doggie Data Care

What can artificial intelligence learn from dogs? Quite a lot, say researchers from the University of Washington and Allen Institute for AI. They recently trained neural networks to interpret and predict the behavior of canines. Their results, they say, show that animals could provide a new source of training data for AI systems — including those used to control robots. Jeff and Anthony learn that you can teach a new bot an old dog’s tricks.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Sight off the Bat

While hunting for dinner, the big brown bat must hone in on flitting insects and keep track of its surroundings to avoid crashing into them. Now, scientists have taken a peek at what’s going on in these bats’ brains while they swoop and dive. They identified a brain region that helps the animals map where objects are in relation to their own bodies, and saw that individual brain cells changed their behavior while the bats focused their attention on a particular object. The findings could help us understand certain aspects of attention issues in people as well as how bats and animals navigate while on the move.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Passing the Sniff Test

A dog searching for a lost child is typically given an item of clothing to smell. But what does that scent “look” like? To find out, scientists tested 48 dogs, half of which had special police or rescue training. Jeff and Anthony discuss whether or not this study stinks.  More Details/Download MP3 →