Wie kann künstliche Intelligenz zur Bekämpfung des Klimawandels oder zum Schreiben von Geschichten eingesetzt werden? Werden die Treibstoffe der Zukunft aus Gemüse hergestellt werden? Und wieso leben Optimisten länger als Pessimisten?

Mit Fragen wie diesen haben sich die Schüler/innen des Englisch-Leistungskurses von Frau Wallin im 3. Semester im Rahmen eines Projektes auseinandergesetzt. Auf der Grundlage eigener Recherchen haben die Schüler/innen englischsprachige Blogeinträge zum Semesterthema „Science and technology“ verfasst. Hier nun die Ergebnisse:

 

AI – Creating humans and making up stories

AI is getting better and better from first simple pattern recognition to now being able to make up humans and stories. Today I want to present you a German article by the „Süddeutsche Zeitung“ written by Michael Moorstedt published on February 21, 2019 titled „AI as an author – Written by machines“ that is exactly about the use of artificial intelligence to write stories.

There is a website that shows you portraits of people that don’t exist. „Thispersondoesnotexit.com“ uses an algorithm made by tech firm Nvidia to create the non-human human faces. At first glance most pictures look real, but if you try to spot mistakes, then you will most likely find some.

But AI isn’t just good at creating artificial faces but also good at making up stories with the help of a new algorithm called „GTP-2“. Earlier AI had problems with forming coherent sentences, as they would forget what they were writing about halfway through the sentence – but not anymore, thanks to the new algorithm and 40 gigabytes of written text. The two researchers who created the algorithm let the AI write a story about Unicorns that can speak English. Yes, you read that correctly: Unicorns that speak English. Within that text, the AI made claims about DNA tests being done on the unicorns and made-up fake researchers with fake quotes to match.

The researchers also claim that it could answer questions and write convincing reviews for products. That is why they are going to keep „GPT-2“ away from the public because of its possible malicious use.

So overall, AI is getting more advanced being able to write logical and coherent articles and creating artificial faces.

By Jan Bunke


Programing artificial intelligence for our environment

We humans face our most difficult challenge, which is to save our environment before it collapses. Europe has a hard time to handle this problem on its own, but what if they were assisted not by humans, but by artificial intelligence?

The German Federal Environment Ministry has launched an initiative called “AI for the environment, climate, nature and resources“, which serves to stand up to our ecological challenge. This information comes from the website “umweltwirtschaft.com” if you prefer to read the whole article.

They are looking for project that are going to use artificial intelligence in order to deal with environment and climate difficulties and to make a first step to form a much greener digitization. A budget of 27 million euros is going to be provided to fund this initiative.

Federal Minister for the Environment Svenja Schulze has stated that they will aim to support such projects in order to make it much easier for them to create AI which will facilitate environmental protection.

There will be two funding lines for two specific project groups. The first group consists of interested candidates who aim to present their skills and their potential ideas. The second group is made up of advanced projects that are already promoting the creation of artificial intelligence and are going to work for the benefit of the environment. Perhaps you could inform yourself more if you are interested to join one of the two groups.

The Federal Environment Ministry sees a great opportunity in the AI initiative, since it could assist us with cleaning the air, water und grounds more efficiently, reducing emission levels in traffic, producing concrete and metal with less power consumption or reducing overfishing in the seas. Conservation organizations are already working for instance on AI that take photos of fishes and put them in their memory data and categorize each fish to their according species.

In conclusion, the Federal Environment Ministry started an AI initiative because the work of artificial intelligence could help us to treat our environment more carefully and to actually help our nature and reduce its problems.


Does plastic waste destroy the Earth?

I am going to show you some catastrophic consequences of plastic waste in the ocean. To show you this, I am going to outline you some aspects of the newspaper article “ Plastic waste in the ocean causes greenhouse gases“ written by Anja Krieger and published by Deutschlandfunk in 2018.

Firstly, some researchers from the University of Hawaii wanted to know which amount of greenhouse gases the ocean releases, but sadly the ocean releases much more greenhouse gases than thought. Furthermore, plastic is the cause of this high amount of greenhouse gases. The researchers found out that if the tropical sun shines on plastic, the plastic produces greenhouse gases like methane and ethylene.

Secondly, plastic waste ends up in many places, e.g. in the ocean, in rivers, lakes and on the ground.

To put it in a nutshell, plastic waste produces greenhouse gases like methane and ethylene. Greenhouse gases increase global warming, which destroy our environment, e.g. glaciers melt in the North Pole causing sea levels to rise.

By Hakan Diken


The myths and truths surrounding our „lungs of the earth“

The Amazon is crucial for the survival of our whole ecosystem; its destruction can lead to catastrophic consequences. Following the fires happening in the Amazon rainforest, I decided to create a little blog post about a recently uploaded article called: „Myths and truths in the reporting on the rainforest“, by the German magazine Cicero, published on 27 August 2019, to spread more awareness by clearing some fallacies.

Even though every age group should know about these catastrophic news, I am aware that online blog posts are more likely to be read by younger generations. Nevertheless, I hope to inspire people to talk about this topic, especially considering its lack of media coverage.

Journalist and biologist Christian Schwägerl wrote this article in order to clear out the facts surrounding the fires happening in the Amazon.

Firstly, he mentions the fallacy of our oxygen household being endangered, since it is believed the Amazon rainforest is responsible for 20 % of the production of our oxygen. Plants do not operate photosynthesis by night, which transforms the 20% to a mere 6%.

Secondly Schwägerl says the actual problem of these fires is the extinction of biodiversity, as well as the destruction of the „Kulturreichtum“. Many indigenous people still live in the Amazon and therefore their homes and culture are left completely vulnerable to the fires.

Lastly he wants to make clear that fires in the Amazon rainforest are nothing unusual. Supposedly every year there is a „fire season“, most likely based on arson, with no clear view of the actual damage that has been caused in the past.

All in all, the article sums up facts about the fires in the Amazon rainforest. However, there is no indication of possible solutions to stop the fires from spreading. Why do you think is that? Would you say the media covered this topic well? We will see what kind of actions are going to follow.

By Alina Gensig


No longer a pessimist, live longer as an optimistic.

Optimistic people live longer than pessimistic people. An American study has proven the close connection between optimism and life expectancy. Today I’d like to present you a German article by “Wissenschaft aktuell”, whose title could be translated as „Optimists live longer”. It was published on August 2019 and written by Joachim Czichos, who explains the given topic quite well so that we can get a closer look at the actual reasons behind this phenomenon.

A health-conscious lifestyle contributes to a high life expectancy, which is most likely easier to approach as an optimistic human being. Now, what does it mean to be an optimistic person? A typical optimist is someone who is hopeful about the future and tends to expect that good things will happen. To keep it short: Optimistic people have a positive attitude.

Nevertheless, it’s still quite unclear how being optimistic can affect one’s life expectancy. Optimists may be able to control their emotions better than pessimists, which would lead to less stress. Referring to this case, being optimistic also means to be more consistent in terms of eating healthily and doing sports regularly.

To sum it up, think positively as much as you can, wherever you can and it will most certainly help you to live a better and longer life. So JUST DO IT!

By Doguhan Kabadayi


Cuba starts producing computers in 2017?

Although it is expected of a second-world country such as Cuba to be least modernized in regards to simple technology, it indeed turned out that their development in this category is far behind. However, it would be unfair to say that they haven’t improved at all—in fact, I was impressed how far they have come. When doing research on the general technology and science of our generation, I came across an article that spiked my curiosity; an article on how Cuba had started its production of computers, written by Vilma Guzman. The article was published on January 1, 2017 and mainly deals with the production of computers in Cuba and the reasoning behind it.

Cuba had opened a factory in 2017 to grow within the technological aspect of the industry; this was done via the production of tablets and computers. The aim was to expand their knowledge, research and production in computer science, communication as well as electronics in general. Examples of this would include the production of laptops with i3, Celeron, and i5 processors and, as already previously mentioned, tablets. In the same year, 2017, they planned to manufacture and produce 50,000 computers for other companies as well as state authorities.

This was also made possible with the help of experts from the Cuban University of Information Science. Their role in this included being responsible for the general operating system as well as the creation of applications for the new devices produced. All in all, considering the fact that it was only two years ago, it is a pretty vital topic to address both the fact how Cuba has been so far behind in modernization regarding technology, as well as the fact that Cuba is actually beginning to improve this. While it might seem like a cause of concern, it is more of a positive aspect to see second-world countries such as this one willing to ‘get out of their shells’ and join the generation despite the different political ideologies. The development of this is a huge step for them and should benefit them in the future.

By Abdula Temirov


Are vegetables our solution for powering cars in the future?

I want to discuss some problems with you, especially climate change, reduced  fuel prices and our shrinking oil resources.

We, especially for the younger generation, could have the solution to this problem right in front of us. It is the change from fossil fuel to vegetable oil, which is a concept of ATG (Alternative Technology Group) presented in their website article “ATG Pflanzenöl-Umrüstsatz“.

Now I am going more into detail. Natural vegetable oil like rapseed oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil are carbon-neutral, non-toxic and easily biodegradable. But you should remember that vegetable oil is not the same as a biofuel, because biofuels are produced chemically.

Vegetable oil is gained on a natural basis, the power and the (fuel) consumption is still the same with a price of 0.85 € per liter. And this price is going to save a lot of money in the long term. The only requirement is that we would have to convert our cars to use the vegetable oil in an appropriate way, because vegetable oil needs a higher temperature to start. Otherwise it will negatively influence the power and the life span of properly working engines.

Now I hope you have a general insight about a possible way to solve our problems and deal with the climate change. Every one of us can start to change with world now in a natural and cheaper way.

I hope you enjoyed the blog entry and let me know what you are thinking about the idea or maybe give me some other ideas.

By David Wylegalla


Living on Mars?

Would you volunteer to live on Mars? If you actually would, there might be a possibility in a few years to at least visit the planet. A German article published by ‘‘Spiegel Online‘‘ on 28.08.2019 deals with the first tests with the prototype and plans for the future of SpaceX.

SpaceX has started the production of a new rocket, which is supposed to land on Mars. The prototype is called “Starhopper”, which is nothing more than a little box build of stainless steel. Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX is very motivated and promises that humanity is going to see Mars very soon. “Starhopper” flew about one minute, 150 meters high and a distance of 100 meters. The prototype is around nine meters wide, which is also only a small copy of what the “Starhopper” is going to be looking like in the future to prevent risks of crashes with a huge “Starhopper”. The first test was conducted on Tuesday, 27 August 2019 and was completed safely.

The production of “Starhopper”, which was started back in December 2018, wasn‘t the only rocket project. “Blue Origin” led by Jeff Bezos is also creating such rockets. Elon Musk can‘t really give us a specific date, but he estimates that 2025 is going to be the year of people visiting the red-brown planet, in contrast to NASA, who says that a realistic date would be around the year 2030.

All in all, one can say that humanity is going to visit Mars this decade, which is our decade.