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Norway: AI, gender equality and fake news: Nobel laureates discuss at Starmus02:41

Norway: AI, gender equality and fake news: Nobel laureates discuss at Starmus

Norway, Trondheim
June 19, 2017 at 16:34 GMT -00:00 · Published

A panel of the world's leading experts in science took on some of the biggest questions facing science in the 21st century on Monday, the second day of the Starmus International Festival in Trondheim.

US astronomer and Nobel laureate Adam Riess argued that in the face of 'fake news'‚ and disregard for 'experts' scientists must "fight really hard to get back to the facts" and no longer have the "luxury" of being able to say "such and such and people would accept that as true."

Astrophysicist and Nobel laureate George Smoot added that viewpoints not fitting in with someone elses worldview tend to be dismissed as "a conspiracy, that people are presenting incorrect facts".

On a positive note Riess said gender diversity within science was on the up, "it's getting much better at the early end of the pipeline. I know in my field of physics and astronomy, we have gone from 10-20 percent to maybe 40 percent [women]" though he admitted there would be a delay before this new cohort was "collecting their nobel prizes at the end of the assembly."

For the final question, the scientists were asked whether the Nobel Prize might ever be handed to an intelligent robot rather than a human being.

Smoot was the only one to tackle the issue saying that within 50 years it was "quite possible that there will be a robot that is as smart as all humans and knows everything - all humans have ever done including every movie, every book, every science paper".

Norway: AI, gender equality and fake news: Nobel laureates discuss at Starmus02:41
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A panel of the world's leading experts in science took on some of the biggest questions facing science in the 21st century on Monday, the second day of the Starmus International Festival in Trondheim.

US astronomer and Nobel laureate Adam Riess argued that in the face of 'fake news'‚ and disregard for 'experts' scientists must "fight really hard to get back to the facts" and no longer have the "luxury" of being able to say "such and such and people would accept that as true."

Astrophysicist and Nobel laureate George Smoot added that viewpoints not fitting in with someone elses worldview tend to be dismissed as "a conspiracy, that people are presenting incorrect facts".

On a positive note Riess said gender diversity within science was on the up, "it's getting much better at the early end of the pipeline. I know in my field of physics and astronomy, we have gone from 10-20 percent to maybe 40 percent [women]" though he admitted there would be a delay before this new cohort was "collecting their nobel prizes at the end of the assembly."

For the final question, the scientists were asked whether the Nobel Prize might ever be handed to an intelligent robot rather than a human being.

Smoot was the only one to tackle the issue saying that within 50 years it was "quite possible that there will be a robot that is as smart as all humans and knows everything - all humans have ever done including every movie, every book, every science paper".

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