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Machine learning-driven results entirely bypass the traditional search box.

Several weeks ago, without much fanfare, Google added new shortcut icons to its mobile app and website. They appear immediately under the search box to provide quick access to current weather, sports, entertainment and restaurant information.

These are essentially prepackaged queries, using a range of data behind the scenes, to replace typing with tapping. These shortcuts have quietly turned Google’s local search and discovery experience into a powerful competitor to Yelp.

Below is a screen grab of the conventional local-mobile search experience for “lunch near me.” Users see a local pack, a map, organic links and images down the first page (not pictured). Here’s what it looks like — pretty familiar:

But when you tap the “eat & drink” shortcut, you get a different experience that brings a much richer set of results. Also on display is the full range of Google’s mobile and location data capabilities.

Google is providing personalized recommendations and offering a plethora of other choices and options. These are grouped by interest, cuisines, atmosphere and various attributes. All of this is driven and accompanied by rich data. This is also an argument for adding more enhanced data as part of your local SEO strategy.

Google presents “places for you,” based on your location history — your actual visits to other restaurants that establish patterns and preferences. Google also uses machine learning to group venues into useful categories by interest and attributes: “popular with foodies,” “best lunch,” “recently opened,” “great beers” and so on.

It’s not clear how much usage this is getting; Google hasn’t done much to build awareness other than place the shortcuts under the search bar. But it offers a dramatically improved experience that eliminates the need to do multiple queries and click around. It’s like a super carousel on AI. (Note: I didn’t say “steroids.”)

The experience represents a template for other kinds of mobile search results beyond the four categories currently present. Shopping and Travel come immediately to mind. Android features more shortcuts than iOS.

Currently, you can buy movie tickets via the entertainment shortcut. We can expect more transactional capabilities like this to roll out to other categories.

Right now there are no ads, but assume there will be if it gains widespread usage. If it indeed does gain momentum, we could see large numbers of people entirely bypass the search box in certain key categories.

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Source: This article was published searchengineland.com By Greg Sterling

Categorized in Search Engine

NASA is in hot pursuit of a supermassive black hole that is hurtling through its galaxy.

NASA finds astonishing supermassive black hole HURTLING through galaxy

The huge phenomenon which has a mass of approximately 160 million times that of our sun and is being propelled at an astonishing speed.

Boffins at NASA believe that it could have been formed when two smaller black holes collided and merged. 

However, the experts believe that the gravitational waves generated by the clash could be stronger in one direction, causing the supermassive black hole, which are usually stationary and consume everything that crosses their path due to their immense gravitational pull, to be shot across the universe.

NASA said in a statement: “The strength of the kick depends on the rate and direction of spin of the two smaller black holes before they merge.

supermassive black hole
After all of this searching, a good candidate for a recoiling black hole was discovered.”

“Therefore, information about these important but elusive properties can be obtained by studying the speed of recoiling black holes.”

Scientists found the recoiling supermassive black hole candidate, which is in a galaxy 3.9 billion light years from Earth, by “sifting through X-ray and optical data for thousands of galaxies”.

 

 

black hole merge
NASA believes two black holes merged

They used observations from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to look for X-ray emissions and correlated their findings with images from the Hubble Space Telescope to see if the supermassive blackhole is moving.

NASA said: “After all of this searching, a good candidate for a recoiling black hole was discovered.”

It added: “The host galaxy of the possible recoiling black hole also shows some evidence of disturbance in its outer regions, which is an indication that a merger between two galaxies occurred in the relatively recent past. 

“Since supermassive black hole mergers are thought to occur when their host galaxies merge, this information supports the idea of a recoiling black hole in the system.”

Source: This article was published express.co.uk By SEAN MARTIN

Categorized in Science & Tech

Scientists believe they have moved a step closer to proving the existence of a parallel universe with the discovery of a mysterious ‘cold spot’.

This cool patch of space, that was first spotted by the NASA WMAP satellite in 2004, is part of the radiation that was thought to have been produced during the formation of the universe some 13 billion years ago.

However, research conducted by Professor Tom Shanks from Durham University has uncovered a new theory – that the Cold Spot was formed when universes COLLIDED.

The cold spot could be evidence of a larger multiverse (Flickr)
The cold spot could be evidence of a larger multiverse (Flickr)

Professor Shanks theorises that this is ‘the first evidence for the multiverse – and billions of other universes may exist like our own”.

He explained: “We can’t entirely rule out that the spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard [theory of the Big Bang].

“But if that isn’t the answer, then there are more exotic explanations.

“Perhaps the most exciting of these is that the Cold Spot was caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble universe.”

He added: “If further, more detailed, analysis… proves this to be the case then the Cold Spot might be taken as the first evidence for the multiverse.”

Source: This article was published Yahoo News UK By Andy wells

Categorized in Science & Tech

Scientists have just made a huge finding in space that could permanently change our search for alien life.

Scientists have discovered something big about 40 light years away, something that could completely change the search for alien life. An exoplanet that is orbiting a red dwarf star may be the best place to look for signs of life outside our solar system, according to a statement from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysis.

Scientists used ESO’s HARPS instrument at LaSilla and linked it with telescopes around the world to discover this so-called “super-Earth” orbiting in the star’s habitable zone. The planet is much more massive than Earth, and it likely still has an atmosphere, a key ingredient for any planet to host life.

It’s certainly one of the most exciting finds in modern astronomy, and it will make a big target for future studies that will likely focus on its atmosphere: how thick it is, what it’s composed of, and the like. The findings were published in the April 20 issue of hte journal Nature.

The statement is below.

The study of alien worlds is entering its next phase as astronomers amass the best planets outside our Solar System to look for signs of life. A newly discovered “super-Earth” orbiting in the habitable zone of a nearby small star, has catapulted itself to the top of that list.

“This is the most exciting exoplanet I’ve seen in the past decade,” said lead author Jason Dittmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science − searching for evidence of life beyond Earth.”

The newfound planet is described in a paper appearing in the April 20th issue of the journal Nature.

Located just 40 light-years away, the planet was found using the transit method, in which a star dims as a planet crosses in front of it as seen from Earth. By measuring how much light this planet blocks, the team determined that it is about 11,000 miles in diameter, or about 40 percent larger than Earth.

The researchers have also weighed the planet to be 6.6 times the mass of Earth, showing that it is dense and likely has a rocky composition. Small, potentially habitable planets have been found in the TRAPPIST-1 system, located a similar distance from Earth, but only one of those worlds has had its density measured accurately, showing that it isn’t rocky. Therefore, some or all of the others also might not be rocky.

Since this planet transits its star, unlike the closest world to the solar system Proxima Centauri b, it can be examined for the presence of air. As the planet moves in front of the star, the star’s light will be filtered through any atmosphere and leave an imprint. Large, next-generation telescopes will be needed to tease out these subtle signals.

“This planet will be an excellent target for the James Webb Space Telescope when it launches in 2018, and I’m especially excited about studying it with the ground-based Giant Magellan Telescope, which is under construction,” said co-author David Charbonneau of the CfA.

The planet orbits a tiny, faint star known as LHS 1140, which is only one-fifth the size of the Sun. Since the star is so dim and cool, its habitable zone (the distance at which a planet might be warm enough to hold liquid water) is very close. This planet, designated LHS 1140 b, orbits its star every 25 days. At that distance, it receives about half as much sunlight from its star as Earth.

Although the planet is potentially habitable now, it might have faced a hellish past. When the star was young, it would have bathed the planet in a harsh ultraviolet glare that could have stripped any water from the atmosphere, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect like we see on Venus.

However, since the planet is larger than Earth, it might have possessed a magma ocean on its surface for millions of years. Powered by heat from naturally radioactive elements, that churning ocean of lava may have fed steam into the atmosphere long after the star calmed to its current, steady glow. This process could have replenished the planet with water, making it suitable for life as we know it.

“Right now we’re just making educated guesses about the content of this planet’s atmosphere,” said Dittmann. “Future observations might enable us to detect the atmosphere of a potentially habitable planet for the first time. We plan to search for water, and ultimately molecular oxygen.”

In contrast with the TRAPPIST-1 star, LHS 1140 spins slowly and does not emit much high-energy radiation, which also may help the likelihood of life on its planet.

LHS 1140 b was discovered using the MEarth-South telescope array at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. This collection of eight telescopes, with its companion facility MEarth-North, studies faint, red stars known as M dwarfs to locate orbiting planets using the transit method.

In follow-up work the team was able to detect LHS 1140 wobbling as the planet orbits it, using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) installed on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6m telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. This information was combined with data from the transit method, allowing the team to make good measurements of the planet’s size, mass and density.

The MEarth Project is supported by the National Science Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

Source : babwnews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Scientists have just made a huge finding in space that could permanently change our search for alien life.

Scientists have discovered something big about 40 light years away, something that could completely change the search for alien life. An exoplanet that is orbiting a red dwarf star may be the best place to look for signs of life outside our solar system, according to a statement from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysis.

Scientists used ESO’s HARPS instrument at LaSilla and linked it with telescopes around the world to discover this so-called “super-Earth” orbiting in the star’s habitable zone. The planet is much more massive than Earth, and it likely still has an atmosphere, a key ingredient for any planet to host life.

It’s certainly one of the most exciting finds in modern astronomy, and it will make a big target for future studies that will likely focus on its atmosphere: how thick it is, what it’s composed of, and the like. The findings were published in the April 20 issue of hte journal Nature.

The statement is below.

The study of alien worlds is entering its next phase as astronomers amass the best planets outside our Solar System to look for signs of life. A newly discovered “super-Earth” orbiting in the habitable zone of a nearby small star, has catapulted itself to the top of that list.

“This is the most exciting exoplanet I’ve seen in the past decade,” said lead author Jason Dittmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). “We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science − searching for evidence of life beyond Earth.”

The newfound planet is described in a paper appearing in the April 20th issue of the journal Nature.

Located just 40 light-years away, the planet was found using the transit method, in which a star dims as a planet crosses in front of it as seen from Earth. By measuring how much light this planet blocks, the team determined that it is about 11,000 miles in diameter, or about 40 percent larger than Earth.

The researchers have also weighed the planet to be 6.6 times the mass of Earth, showing that it is dense and likely has a rocky composition. Small, potentially habitable planets have been found in the TRAPPIST-1 system, located a similar distance from Earth, but only one of those worlds has had its density measured accurately, showing that it isn’t rocky. Therefore, some or all of the others also might not be rocky.

Since this planet transits its star, unlike the closest world to the solar system Proxima Centauri b, it can be examined for the presence of air. As the planet moves in front of the star, the star’s light will be filtered through any atmosphere and leave an imprint. Large, next-generation telescopes will be needed to tease out these subtle signals.

“This planet will be an excellent target for the James Webb Space Telescope when it launches in 2018, and I’m especially excited about studying it with the ground-based Giant Magellan Telescope, which is under construction,” said co-author David Charbonneau of the CfA.

The planet orbits a tiny, faint star known as LHS 1140, which is only one-fifth the size of the Sun. Since the star is so dim and cool, its habitable zone (the distance at which a planet might be warm enough to hold liquid water) is very close. This planet, designated LHS 1140 b, orbits its star every 25 days. At that distance, it receives about half as much sunlight from its star as Earth.

Although the planet is potentially habitable now, it might have faced a hellish past. When the star was young, it would have bathed the planet in a harsh ultraviolet glare that could have stripped any water from the atmosphere, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect like we see on Venus.

However, since the planet is larger than Earth, it might have possessed a magma ocean on its surface for millions of years. Powered by heat from naturally radioactive elements, that churning ocean of lava may have fed steam into the atmosphere long after the star calmed to its current, steady glow. This process could have replenished the planet with water, making it suitable for life as we know it.

“Right now we’re just making educated guesses about the content of this planet’s atmosphere,” said Dittmann. “Future observations might enable us to detect the atmosphere of a potentially habitable planet for the first time. We plan to search for water, and ultimately molecular oxygen.”

In contrast with the TRAPPIST-1 star, LHS 1140 spins slowly and does not emit much high-energy radiation, which also may help the likelihood of life on its planet.

LHS 1140 b was discovered using the MEarth-South telescope array at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. This collection of eight telescopes, with its companion facility MEarth-North, studies faint, red stars known as M dwarfs to locate orbiting planets using the transit method.

In follow-up work the team was able to detect LHS 1140 wobbling as the planet orbits it, using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) installed on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6m telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile. This information was combined with data from the transit method, allowing the team to make good measurements of the planet’s size, mass and density.

The MEarth Project is supported by the National Science Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

Source : babwnews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Today, NASA will announce a new finding which the space agency says will ‘inform the broader search for life beyond Earth’.

A report from a former NASA employee suggests that the finding relates to hydrothermal vents in an icy ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Categorized in Science & Tech

Hidden algorithms reflect and amplify racism and other human biases, but researchers hope to fix them

In 1796, German physiologist Franz Joseph Gall thought he had made a world-altering discovery. By carefully measuring the contours of the human skull, he hypothesized, one could infer information about an individual — including their mental capabilities, personality, skills, and social proclivities.

The result was phrenology, a strain of nineteenth century pseudoscience that went on to inspire centuries of “scientific” justifications for racism. Almost a century later, Italian anthropologist Cesare Lombroso founded a school of criminology that claimed criminality is a trait inherited at birth, theorizing that these “criminaloids” can be detected by measuring the distances between certain features on the face. The theories were later used alongside other fields like eugenics to justify slavery, the Nazis’ pursuit of a white Aryan master race, and other historical atrocities.

While these theories have long since been debunked, a chilling aspect of their legacy lives on in some of today’s advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Much like phrenology, researchers say machine learning algorithms are now being given far too much power, invisibly influencing decisions on everything from whether a school teacher gets fired to whether a criminal suspect is released on bail. And perhaps most worryingly, their decisions are frequently painted as “objective” and “unbiased” — when in reality they’re anything but.

Consider a recent paper, in which two Chinese researchers describe an artificial neural network they say can predict whether someone will commit a crime based solely on their facial features. The researchers claim the system’s results are “objective,” reasoning that a computer algorithm has “no biases whatsoever.”

Private companies are already pitching these capabilities to law enforcement agencies. An Israeli face recognition company called Faception has controversially claimed its algorithms can predict whether someone is a “terrorist” or a “pedophile” with 80 percent accuracy. The company is now actively seeking to sell its software to police and governments, telling the Washington Post that it has already signed contracts with at least one unnamed government’s “homeland security agency.”

But a brief look at the researchers’ paper shows the system is trained by analyzing photos of people who have already been convicted under the criminal system. In other words, the system simply defines the common facial features of people who have been labeled “criminal” in the past and reapplies that label to people with similar features. The result evokes a computer-aided rehash of phrenology, with computer vision and learning algorithms standing in for cranial measurement tools.

Thus, those who are already disproportionately targeted by the criminal justice system — African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for drugs, for instance, despite using them at around the same rate as whites — are again disproportionately branded by the algorithm, whose stewards then defend the results by pointing to the system’s supposed “objectivity.”

Rather than removing human biases, the algorithm creates a feedback loop that reflects and amplifies them.

“We should always be suspicious when machine learning systems are described as free from bias if it’s been trained on human-generated data. Our biases are built into that training data,” Kate Crawford, a principle researcher at Microsoft, said during a talk on AI last week at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Crawford warned that biased and opaque machine learning algorithms can become especially dangerous in the wrong hands. She mentioned a system built by Palantir, a data-mining company built by President Trump’s’ tech advisor Peter Thiel, that could help power Trump’s crackdown on immigrants and Muslims. And she noted how primitive computer-aided systems helped authoritarians of the past commit atrocities, like the Hollerith tabulating machines built by IBM, which helped the Nazis track and identify Jews and other groups during the World War II.

Today, an algorithm can be the perfect weapon for authoritarian leaders because it lets them efficiently and opaquely enforce systems that are already biased against oppositional and marginalized groups. For example, in a major exposé last year, ProPublica discovered that systems used by courts in Broward County, Florida to assign “risk scores” to criminal defendants consistently rated black defendants with a higher level of risk than whites facing the same charges.

Even worse, authorities who use such systems can easily make claims to their “neutrality” and distance themselves from the consequences — while hiding the system’s inner workings from public view.

“The reason a lot of these algorithms are put into place is so people can deny responsibility for the process as a whole,” Cathy O’Neil, a mathematician and author who frequently writes about the human impacts of big data, told Vocativ. “Sometimes the standard for whether it works or not is whether someone gets to abscond from responsibility, or better yet, whether they get to impose a punitive, inscrutable process.”

In her recent book “Weapons of Math Destruction,” O’Neil outlines several examples of how machine learning systems can mirror and amplify human biases to destructive ends. A recurring theme, she said, is that many of those system are built by third parties and haven’t been independently assessed for bias and fairness. But so far, the algorithms’ creators lack either the means, the desire, or the incentives to conduct those tests.

“It’s a very, very dumb thing,” O’Neil said. “Can you imagine buying a car not knowing whether it’s gonna drive, or not knowing whether it’s safe? That’s just not a reasonable way of going about it. It’s like a car industry where we haven’t developed standards yet.”

AI researchers say that creating those standards is one of the most crucial steps to making machine-learning systems accountable to the humans they pass judgement on. Last September, AI Now, an Obama White House-commissioned report that has since spun off into a research organization led by Crawford, highlighted the need to create tools capable of bringing accountability to “black box” algorithms. That includes mechanisms that allow people affected by these systems to contest their decisions, seek redress, and opt-out of automated decision-making processes altogether.

“AI systems are being integrated into existing social and economic domains, and deployed within new products and contexts, without an ability to measure or calibrate their impact,” the report warns. “The situation can be likened to conducting an experiment without bothering to note the results.”

AI auditing tools wouldn’t necessarily need to inspect the system’s proprietary source code, said O’Neil. They would only need to analyze its input data and the resulting decisions to help humans determine whether the system is functioning correctly and fairly, or whether a skewed dataset is contaminating the output by introducing harmful human bias.

On a more fundamental level, fighting discriminatory AI is about making sure the systems are being ethically designed in the first place. That means teaching ethics alongside regular STEM education and building new standards for accountability into every step of the process, so that the injustices of the past don’t get hard-coded into the robots and neural networks of the future.

“A lot of these algorithms are trotted out in the name of fairness,” says O’Neil. “We should do better than pay lip service to fairness.”

Source : vocativ.com

Categorized in Online Research

My Business Insights Show How You’re Being Found

Google has rolled out enhanced insights for Google My Business pages. When logged into GMB, you’ll now be able to see the total views to your GMB page, where visitors are coming from, and how they found your page.

Google Search vs. Google Maps

Where are the visitors to your GMB page coming from? Google Search and Google Maps both send traffic to GMB pages, and now you’ll be able to see a breakdown of how many visitors are coming from which source.

Direct vs. Discovery

How are people finding your GMB page? At times people will find it by directly typing your business or brand name in the search bar. At other times, people may find it by searching for a related keyword. Now Google will show you a comparison between who found your page by searching for your name directly, and who discovered it by searching for a related keyword. Unfortunately, when it comes to the actual keywords used to find your GMB page, those are ‘not provided’.

With the addition of these new insights Google finds it no longer necessary to include Google+ statistics in the GMB dashboard, so those have been removed going forward. The company expects to introduce even more new insights to GMB pages in the near future.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/new-google-business-insights-show-youre-found/170448/

Categorized in Business Research

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