Now We’re Using AI to Interpret “Mysterious Space Signals”
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Article by Jazz Shaw August 13, 2019 (hotair.com)
• Fast Radio Bursts (FRB’s) are very brief and “mysterious space signals” that originate from galaxies throughout our universe, though not from our own Milky Way galaxy. FRBs are composed of compact, complex radio waves, and are difficult to track and pin down. Many of the intense flashes have traveled billions of light-years across space.
• Now, according to the New York Post, a doctoral student at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia named Wael Farah has matched the Molonglo telescope in Canberra with an artificially intelligent machine-learning system that recognizes FRB signatures as they arrive to produce the finest records of FRBs yet. Farah’s research was recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
• FRBs have “mysterious structures, patterns of peaks and valleys in radio waves that play out in just milliseconds”, quite unlike what you’d expect to see from a massive collision or explosion that randomly happen throughout the universe. So what are they? Are they signs of intelligent alien civilizations? If so, they must be up to something pretty spectacular to produce enough energy to reach us with that much power from far off galaxies.
• Then the question is, is detecting aliens a good enough excuse to unleash even more Artificial Intelligence into the global web? Carl Sagan warned us long ago that alerting advanced extraterrestrial civilizations to our presence was probably a bad idea. Steven Hawking once warned that while AI doesn’t hold actual malice against humans, if the AI’s goals aren’t aligned with our own, we’re in trouble.
• So now we’re mixing the search for possible extraterrestrials with Artificial Intelligence. What could possibly go wrong?
While still being a bit on the frightening side, the science behind this story is still kind of cool and worth a look. The “mysterious space signals” referenced in the title are probably more familiar to those of you who follow such topics as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). They originate all over the universe, though not from our own Milky Way Galaxy (yet, thankfully), and are composed of compact, complex radio waves that don’t seem like the sort of thing you’d get from a normal spacial event like a supernova or the creation of a black hole.
The problem is, they are rare and very brief, so we’ve had trouble trying to track them and pin them down. Now a laboratory in Australia has worked out a way to use Artificial Intelligence to do just that.
(NY Post quote) Wael Farah, a doctoral student at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, developed a machine-learning system that recognized the signatures of FRBs as they arrive.
Farah’s system trained the Molonglo telescope in Canberra to spot FRBs and switch over to its most detailed recording mode, producing the finest records of FRBs yet.
“It is fascinating to discover that a signal that traveled halfway through the universe,” he said. The research was recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Many of the intense flashes have traveled billions of light-years across space.
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Carl Sagan, fast radio bursts, Melbourne Australia, Milky Way Galaxy, Molonglo telescope, New York Post, podcast, Royal Astronomical Society, Steven Hawking, Swinburne University of Technology, Wael Farah