Daniel Lemire is a computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ) in Montreal. His research is focused on software performance and data engineering. He is a techno-optimist and a free-speech advocate.
If you are going to train computers to emulate medical doctors, you need objective assessments of medical conditions. That may prove more difficult than it sounds. Human experts rarely agree on medical diagnosis and therapies. How can you assess an artificial intelligence in these conditions? Somewhat ironically, the first step might be to learn to assess better the medical doctors themselves. This may not prove popular.
Researchers are making progress toward reconstructing speech from neural patterns (Nature paper). The accuracy is still low but it is getting credible. One day, we may be able to speak through a brain implant.
Neanderthals are often believed to have vanished because they could not hunt as efficiently as homo sapiens: they needed to get close to the prey to kill it unlike us. However, it seems that neanderthals could throw their spears far away.
A highly cited Canadian medical researcher (Sophie Jamal) has been banned from getting further research funding in Canada because of how she fabricated data. When caught, she put the blame on her assistant. She is cited about 1000 times a year and she is the author of about 50 research articles. She lost her job at the University of Toronto where she was a professor and her medical license. She was the research director of the Centre for Osteoporosis & Bone Health.
As I am fond of saying, it is almost trivial in research to fabricate results. Thus, while it is hard to know for sure how frequently results are just made up, it is probably more frequent than most people expect. And before you object that work is peer reviewed: when reviewing a manuscript, you are not going to redo the work to check that it works. Even if you wanted to check the work, it is often impossible to do it in an economical fashion. That’s why I argue that we have to take into account the reputation of the authors when reviewing a science paper. If you have found someone’s results to consistently be reliable in the past, it is reasonable to give them more credibility in the future. Reputation matters.
According to an article in the Guardian, aspirin prevents cancers. (To my knowledge, this has not been robustly demonstrated yet.)