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Author Archives: Vanessa Bates Ramirez

New Progress in Desalination Tech

By Vanessa Bates Ramirez In early 2018, Cape Town, South Africa came dangerously close to being the world’s first major city to run out of water. People lined up for blocks to collect spring water. Stores sold out of receptacles like buckets and bowls. Bottled water was rationed in tourist-heavy parts of the city. April 12 was designated “Day Zero”—the ...

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What Would It Mean for AI to Become Conscious?

As artificial intelligence systems take on more tasks and solve more problems, it’s hard to say which is rising faster: our interest in them or our fear of them. Futurist Ray Kurzweil famously predicted that “By 2029, computers will have emotional intelligence and be convincing as people.” We don’t know how accurate this prediction will turn out to be. Even ...

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SETI Is Making a New ‘Mixtape for Aliens’, and You Can Contribute

For centuries, people have looked up at the sky and wondered whether we’re alone in the universe. Science fiction and popular media have imagined various ways humans might encounter and communicate with life from other parts of the galaxy. When the Voyager spacecrafts were launched in 1977, they carried copies of the Golden Record, a compilation of sounds and images ...

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