This week in ideas: Building a cheaper MRI, reconciling God and AI, and the next Einstein
Welcome back to another edition of This Week in Ideas, where the Freethink team shares our favorite stories from the week gone by. Obviously, these are our favorite stories from other people, but you should also check out the ones we’ve told ourselves in the Coded series. (It’s shaping up to be an incredible primer on the state of cybersecurity, which means there’s plenty of tips on how to protect yourself from both malevolent hackers and overreaching spy agencies.)
Is it time to disrupt the MRI? “MRIs aren’t perfect. They require a gigantic magnet that can weigh several tons. The magnetic field produced by the device is so powerful it can throw a metal chair across a room. And the whole apparatus can cost several million dollars. Matthew Rosen and his colleagues at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston want liberate the MRI. They’re hacking a new kind of scanner that’s fast, small, and cheap. Using clever algorithms, they can use a weak magnetic field to get good images of our brains and other organs. Someday, people may not have to go to hospital for an MRI. The scanners may show up in sports arenas, battlefields, and even the backs of ambulances.”
**The next Einstein could be a home-schooled seven-year-old from Maryland: ** “Romanieo began exhibiting his understanding of elements as only a child could. One day, he used his popcorn snack to create model atoms, his father said. With his little hand forming a nucleus, he used popcorn kernels as protons, neutrons and electrons to make elements such as nitrogen and lithium.”
Is AI a Threat to Christianity? “While most theologians aren’t paying it much attention, some technologists are convinced that artificial intelligence is on an inevitable path toward autonomy. How far away this may be depends on whom you ask, but the trajectory raises some fundamental questions for Christianity.”
Your uplifting story of the week: “ A firefighter helped save a Boston Marathon bombing victim. Now they’re getting married.”
And for the outdoor types: Field & Stream tells you how to build every type of outdoor fire.
Feature image via STAT