2018-02-28 (Wednesday)

Today, I learned that:

We are in the middle of the Winter Olympic games and the Paraolympic games, but did you know that not only humans compete in skiing? Watch the video in reference #1 and marvel about what our AI friends can do!

On various occasions, I have told you the story about a new fantastic material called graphene. If you want to catch up on those, look at my posts from 2016-02-01, 2016-05-22, 2016-10-29, and 2017-06-23. And here comes another interesting fact from “down under”. Researchers in Australia have produced a very effective water filter using graphene film with microscopic nano-channels. When tested with the polluted waters in Sydney harbor, the result was so good that they could drink the water without any health issues. See more in reference # 2 below.

Finally, look at this amazing photo! It shows the light emitted by a single atom. More information can be found in reference #3 below.

Single atom light

The tiny dot in the center of the screen, between the two metal electrodes, is the light emitted by a single atom. Photo taken by quantum physics professor David Nadlinger, University of Oxford.

That’s what I learned in school !


1: Skiing robots hit the slopes in South Korea

2: Graphene film makes dirty water drinkable in a single step

3: A ‘trapped’ atom is visible to the naked eye

*: What did you learn in school today ?


2018-01-09 (2 years !!!)

Today, I learned that:

What started out as a dream (literally) is now reality since 2 years ago. Of course I am talking about this blog. Thanks to all my followers for your encouraging remarks and faithfulness! And instead of publishing a new header photo today, for some time ahead, each time you open my blog again there will be a random photo from the first two years to catch your eye!

My main topic today is AI, robots, and how they interact with us humans to make the world a better place to live:

One month ago, the Swedish writer Johan Nyberg published his column in Radio Sweden’s weekly news program, Godmorgon, världen (“Good morning, world”). It was an interesting story on how today’s computers can perform many of the routine tasks in any many disciplines much more efficiently than human beings, but the best solution of all is when the two work together in a team. He gives various examples on such successes, not only chess, but also everyday situations in big service companies such as Amazon, which besides the investment in 45 000 robots during the last three years also has employed 250 000 people. So his closing remarks are that we should not have any fear that the computers will grab our jobs, but that workers with computers will take the jobs from workers without computers. See also reference #1 below for a complete transcript (in Swedish).

Then, a couple of days later, I heard another interesting story of how AI computers and people interact with good result. X-ray images that need to be analysed by a physician can now be pretreated by a computer which scans the images to present the doctor with results of areas where s/he can look further to make a more accurate and faster diagnose as compared to the old method when few areas were chosen out of random or a hunch. Reference #2 discusses this topic (also in Swedish).

And yesterday, there were two interesting topics on the same issue: In the morning, I heard that in the Southern city of Trelleborg, the city administration’s social assistants are delighted, because a “robot” (in fact an app on their web) is now taking care of the investigative, preparatory work, such as checking with the tax authorities etc., when a person is applying for social allowance. They now enter only in the decisive phase, which leaves them available for more personal contacts, and the result is that they have been able to find new jobs for those people in record numbers and huge savings in not needing to pay out social allowances.

At the same, in a later edition of the same news program, it was reported that their counterparts as social assistants in the city of Kungsbacka, immediately south of Göteborg (Gothenburg in English) are  disappointed, they would like to continue turning papers instead of doing proactive work, so 12 out of the 16 assistants have handed in their resignation notes, as a protest against a similar system which will begin to operate in the month of May. More about these two cases can be found in reference #3 below (also in Swedish).

With so many interesting news stories from Sweden, why not learn Swedish and accompany the news yourself? If you are interested, drop me a message to Swedish lessons and I am sure we can work out something interesting!

Finally, did you hear that a robot recently reported having been molested by a human being? Its name is R2Me2 of course!

That’s what I learned in school !


1: Krönika av Johan Norberg

2: Aj aj blir AI AI – Möt din blivande läkare datorn

3: Socialsekreterare säger upp sig när robot ska ta över deras arbetsuppgifter

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2017-11-17 (Friday)

Today, I learned that:

Besides dedicated software applications, e.g. translation software, without any doubt, it is the general applications word processing and spreadsheet calculations I use most, as I guess is the case for most people.

Of those, it is especially the spreadsheet that I tend to use for almost any task. Back in the 1980s, unfortunately I did not use the very first spreadsheet, Visicalc, which was introduced for the Apple II in 1979. More about that in reference # 1 below. But soon after that, I already started to use various of its successors, which during the following decades have included such softwares as Lotus 1-2-3, Multiplan, Quattro, Excel and Numbers.

Now there is even celebrated a Spreadsheet Day, on October 17 every year, in remembrance of the date of introduction of Visicalc. And on that day this year, I had the pleasure of receiving a newsletter from a person who knows a great deal about spreadsheets. Her name is Mynda Treacy, and in that newsletter she presented a comprehensive article about how to work with dates and times in Excel, which currently is the most commonly used spreadsheet application worldwide. If you think that it is difficult to use them in Excel, Mynda will explain it to you in an easy fashion, complete with all the formulas you need. See reference # 2, where you can download the article and accompanying spreadsheet file, as well as sign up for her newsletter.

And now back to another favourite topic of mine, robots. Examples of that can be seen in my posts from 2016-03-12 and 2017-03-12. In both of them were presented robots from the American company Boston Dynamics, named Atlas and Handle. Now, its new owner, the Japanese company Softbank, reveals how Atlas has developed since we last saw it. How about the following backflip? More about Atlas, including a video, can be found in reference # 3 below.

Atlas 2017

The humanoid robot Atlas performing acrobatics with a perfect backflip.

That’s what I learned in school !


1: VisiCalc: Information from its creators, Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston

2: Excel Date and Time – Everything you need to know

2: Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot is a parkour master

*: What did you learn in school today ?