New method peeks inside the ‘black box’ of artificial intelligence

Computer scientists have developed a promising new approach for interpreting machine learning algorithms. Unlike previous efforts, which typically sought to ‘break’ the algorithms by removing key words from inputs to yield the wrong answer, the researchers instead reduced the inputs to the bare minimum required to yield the correct answer. On average, the researchers got the correct answer with an input of less than three words. More details

Jurassic Park for Perfume: Ginkgo Bioworks Reconstructs Scents From Extinct Plants

Synthetic biologists resurrect fragrance-producing genes from bygone plant species Move aside, Chanel No. 5. Scientists have now created a scent that’s even older than the iconic perfume, even if it has only just wafted into human nostrils for the first time in more than 100 years. That’s because the piney, earthy perfume derives its fragrance compounds from a Hawaiian hibiscus flower that vanished from the dry-land forests of Maui in the early 1910s.  Researchers at Ginkgo Bioworks, one of the largest synthetic-biology companies in world, succeeded in resurrecting the smell by expressing the genes needed for making the defunct flower’s pungent aroma molecules in microbes. Ginkgo unveiled—and demoed—the new perfume at the company’s inaugural annual meeting in Boston last week. It’s like “Jurassic Park, but for perfume,” says Ginkgo’s creative director, Christina Agapakis. In the ’90s-era book-turned-film franchise, scientists at the fictional biotech company InGen revived dinosaurs by first extracting DNA Continue reading Jurassic Park for Perfume: Ginkgo Bioworks Reconstructs Scents From Extinct Plants