In July, San Francisco-based OpenAI stunned everyone with the capabilities of its AI language model, the GPT-3. The text generator can pen fiction, compose poetry and write business memos — all without any human intervention. Simply put, it is being seen as a tool that brings machines a wee bit closer to mimicking human intelligence. A look at how AI has come this far.The GPT-3, or Generative Pre-training Transformer 3, can use half a sentence as input and type out the rest correctly. It doesn’t stop at that. The text predictor can then type out a whole para, or a book, that make logical sense. The GPT-3, however, lacks the ability to reason abstractly. It is at a loss when faced with new ideas. First, what is the big fuss really?
Politics, geography, and tradition have long focused archaeological attention on the evolution of Homo sapiens in Europe and Africa. Now, new research is challenging old ideas by showing that early human migrations unfolded across Asia far earlier than previously known.
In a controversial new study, scientists cite artifacts dating the event to more than 26,000 years ago
The initial colonization of the Americas remains a highly debated topic1, and the exact timing of the first arrivals is unknown. The earliest archaeological record of Mexico—which holds a key geographical position in the Americas—is poorly known and understudied. Historically, the region has remained on the periphery of research focused on the first American populations2. However, recent investigations provide reliable evidence of a human presence in the northwest region of Mexico3,4, the Chiapas Highlands5, Central Mexico6 and the Caribbean coast7–9 during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene epochs. Here we present results of recent excavations at Chiquihuite Cave—a high-altitude site in central-northern Mexico—that corroborate previous findings in the Americas10–17of cultural evidence that dates to the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500–19,000 years ago)18, and which push back dates for human dispersal to the region possibly as early as 33,000–31,000 years ago. The site yielded about 1,900 stone artefacts within a 3-m-deep stratified sequence, revealing a previously unknown lithic industry that underwent only minor changes over millennia. More than 50 radiocarbon and luminescence dates provide chronological control, and genetic, palaeoenvironmental and chemical data document the changing environments in which the occupants lived. Our results provide new evidence for the antiquity of humans in the Americas, illustrate the cultural diversity of the earliest dispersal groups (which predate those of the Clovis culture) and open new directions of research. Chiquihuite Cave (Zacatecas, Mexico) provides evidence of human presence in the Americas between about 33,000–31,000 and 14,000–12,000 years ago, and expands the cultural variability known from sites of this date.
Protein sequences contain information specifying their three-dimensional structure and function, and statistical analysis of families of sequences has been used to predict these properties. Building from sequence data, Russ et al. used statistical models that take into account conservation at amino acid positions and correlations in the evolution of pairs of amino acids to predict new artificial sequences that will have the properties of the protein family. For the chorismate mutase family of metabolic enzymes, the authors demonstrate experimentally that the artificial sequences display natural-like catalytic function. Because the models access an enormous space of diverse sequences, such evolution-based statistical approaches may guide the search for functional proteins with altered chemical activities.Science , this issue p. The rational design of enzymes is an important goal for both fundamental and practical reasons. Here, we describe a process to learn the constraints for specifying proteins purely from evolutionary sequence data, design and build libraries of synthetic genes, and test them for activity in vivo using a quantitative complementation assay. For chorismate mutase, a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids, we demonstrate the design of natural-like catalytic function with substantial sequence diversity. Further optimization focuses the generative model toward function in a specific genomic context. The data show that sequence-based statistical models suffice to specify proteins and provide access to an enormous space of functional sequences. This result provides a foundation for a general process for evolution-based design of artificial proteins. : /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aba3304
Jonathan Wells notes that a figure in the totalitarian tradition was influenced by evolution from a very early age.
Biologist and author Adam Hart chooses his top books on natural selection, genetics and human evolution.
Nerve cells have a special ion channel that has a key role in starting the electrical impulse that signals pain and is sent to the brain. New research finds that people who inherited the Neanderthal variant of this ion channel experience more pain.