In New York, a charity is buying up outsize debt to forgive it. Bills for hospital stays can be expensive, and loan companies may charge high interest rates. Ownership of those debts can be bought and sold for cents on the dollar, turning the loans, and their future returns, into speculative investments for traders. RIP Medical Debt bought $1.5 million worth of medical debts for $12,500 and then forgave the debtors. The charity plans to continue raising funds for its mission.
In London, artificial intelligence leveled up its strategic gameplay ability, again. Robots have been beating humans at increasingly complicated strategy games since 1994, when a computer program beat world checkers champion Marion Tinsley at his own game; since then, computers have won victories in chess and the game Go. In December 2018, the most complex game yet fell to a bot named AlphaStar, owned by Google’s parent company, Alphabet. AlphaStar went 5-0 against a human world champion in “StarCraft II,” a vastly complicated strategy video game. To secure its victory, AlphaStar compressed 200 years’ worth of gameplay into two weeks.
In San Bruno, Calif., YouTube is removing conspiracy videos from “recommended” lists. YouTube’s algorithm suggests videos to users based on past watching habits, but it’s not always funny cat videos. For example, consuming legitimate news content can sometimes pull up conspiracy videos arguing that Earth is flat. YouTube won’t fully remove the videos, since they don’t violate community guidelines, but it will work to prevent people who weren’t looking for them from accidentally finding them.