June 22, 2018: Friday News Roundup

How has your week been? One of the highlights around Udemy was the release of an original research report about millennials at work, which is included in today’s roundup, along with the latest on how technology is messing with humankind.

IBM Unveils System That ‘Debates’ With Humans
Artificial intelligence infiltrates yet another area of human activity… Yep, an IBM computer faced off against an Israeli college debate champ to argue the merits of government subsidies for space exploration. So far, the system has been programmed to debate on 100 topics, though it can’t get terribly deep into a real-time exchange.

This Startup Got $40 Million to Build a Space Catapult
Speaking of space exploration, this week, a startup announced its plans to build a machine to hurl rockets into space. While the company is understandably secretive about its methods, the idea is to skip propellants like kerosene and liquid oxygen and, instead, “get a rocket spinning in a circle at up to 5,000 miles per hour and then let it go.”

New Electronic Skin Gives Prosthetics A Sense Of Pain
More news from the world of science! If we can build a machine to debate like a human, can we create a synthetic that feels like a human? That would mark a huge leap forward for prosthetic devices, which aren’t able to perceive touch. Scientists are making progress.

Children Struggle To Hold Pencils Due To Too Much Tech, Doctors Say
While the machines gain skills, the people are losing some. Kids use technology with touch screens so much, their finger muscles aren’t developing enough for them to hold pencils. They actually lack hand strength and dexterity and “don’t have the fundamental movement skills.” Is this progress?

Enough With the Millennial Bashing
This byline from Udemy CEO Kevin Johnson uses our new 2018 Millennials at Work Report as its launching pad to make the point that millennials have more in common than not with older generations. The difference might be that the millennial generation is so large, they’ve got the power in numbers to demand the workplace changes they want to see, which include things like more learning and development opportunities and more flexibility around schedules and remote work.