Here are this week’s headlines:
- Artificial Intelligence progresses further
Reported by Anna Flaherty
Google’s DeepMind A.I. technology is now able to learn to play, and win, the Chinese game of Go without any initial data or help from humans.
The game of Go is arguably more strategic than chess, as it contains many more possible moves. It has more possible moves than there are atoms in the universe. The AlphaGo program, created by Google, has already beaten two of the world’s best players. This is particularly impressive as it has developed its intelligence without human players, and no data other than the rules of the game, something that has never been accomplished before. The technology figured everything out by playing against itself, with no other contribution being made. Within 3 days it was beating the original program by 100 games to 0. David Silver, who led the team, pointed out that within 72 hours, a machine surpassed the level of knowledge that took humanity thousands of years to gain.
DeepMind’s CEO’s say that the technology will have more general applications in scientific research, although they point out that we are still some time from achieving full A.I. However, this achievement itself has come sooner than anyone anticipated, so the future is unpredictable.
Read more here.
- More women come forward with allegations against Harvey Weinstein
Reported by Sarah Mullane
Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced academy award winning film producer, has asked for a second chance following fresh allegations of sexual assault being made against him. He told reporters that he was “not doing okay” and that “we all make mistakes” before reportedly checking himself in to European rehab clinic for sex addiction.
Following the New York Times initial report at the beginning of October, a string of celebrities has come forward to accuse the film mogul of sexual assault. High profile actors, such as Angelina Jolie and Cara Delevingne, are amongst those who have spoken out about the inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour displayed toward them. The recent surge of claims sheds light on decades of abuse at the hands of a man who has used his position of power and influence to coerce young and vulnerable women. As a result of the allegations made against him, the board of his own company, The Weinstein Company, has terminated his employment. The producer has now also been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In addition to the serious allegations of sexual misconduct, several women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape. These include British actress Lysette Anthony and American actress Rose McGowan. McGowan had previously alleged on twitter that she had been raped by a studio executive, claiming the behaviour was an “open secret in Hollywood/Media”. Weinstein has unequivocally denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
The most recent allegations have prompted both UK and US police to conduct separate investigations into the claims, details of which have not yet been disclosed to the public. Response to these reports has seen an overwhelming surge of support for the victims, by both celebrities and members of the public. Prevalent members of the film industry have come forward to publicly condemn Weinstein’s actions, with George Clooney denouncing his behaviour as “indefensible”. However, some stars have been under fire for not having acted on allegations sooner, such as Colin Firth, who has expressed his shame for not having done more when he was made aware of allegations by a co-star.
As more reports flood in, the Hollywood film scene has become exposed as an industry in which new-comers have “little choice but to keep quiet about harassment” in fear of hindering their chances at a future career. This scandal has not only opened up conversation on the abuse of powers in Hollywood, but also in all other areas of work, with the hashtag ‘MeToo’ circulating on social media in order to expose the scale of sexual abuse around the globe.