On this week’s update: a volcanic eruption in Hawaii, a plan to protect koalas, and the computer that can have a real conversation!
On this week’s news update...
A volcanic eruption causes destruction in Hawaii...
A new plan to protect koalas…
And the computer that can have a real conversation!
A volcanic eruption has been causing dramatic scenes on the island of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii, Pacific Ocean
The Kilauea volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, and the recent eruption has caused huge cracks to appear in the surrounding area.
The cracks are called fissures, and they’re created when lava and gas burst through the ground.
Dozens of homes have been destroyed, and many people have had to leave their communities to stay safe.
Scientists are monitoring the volcano closely, as there’s a risk of more powerful eruptions in the coming weeks.
Next up, it’s Animal Watch.
The koala is one of Australia’s most recognisable animals, but the number of koalas in the wild is falling.
Conservationists believe there are now fewer than 43,000 of them left.
One of the biggest threats to koalas is a loss of habitat.
The eucalyptus forests they live in are often cleared to build new roads and homes.
Now, a new fund has been set up to help the animals, in the state of New South Wales, in Australia.
New South Wales, Australia
Around £25 million will go toward protecting the koalas’ natural habitat by creating forest reserves, as well as building a new hospital for sick and injured koalas.
It’s hoped that this new plan will help koala numbers grow once again.
And finally, it’s Tech Beat.
Hair salon: “Hello, how can I help you?” Duplex: “Hi, I’m calling to book a women’s haircut for a client. Um, I’m looking for something on May 3rd.”
What you’re hearing is a conversation between a real person and a computer, called Duplex.
Tech company Google recently revealed this exciting new development.
Hair salon: “Sure, give me one second.” Duplex: “Mmm-hmm.”
Duplex can understand and react to a human conversation, something that machines have struggled to do before now.
Hair salon: “What service is she looking for?” Duplex: “Just a women’s haircut for now.” Hair salon: “Okay, we have a 10 o’clock.” Duplex: “10am is fine.” Hair salon: “Okay, what’s her first name?” Duplex: “The first name is Lisa.” Hair salon: “Okay, perfect. So I will see Lisa at 10 o’clock on May 3rd.” Duplex: “Okay, great, thanks.” Hair salon: “Great. Have a great day. Bye.”
It’s a big step forward in communication between people and machines.
That’s all for this week – we’ll see you next time!
A recent eruption at the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii has caused huge cracks called fissures to appear in the surrounding area. Fissures are created when lava and gas burst through the ground.
A conservation plan has been put in place to help koalas in New South Wales, in Australia. About £25 million will be spent on creating forest reserves to protect their habitat.
Technology company Google has created a type of computer that can understand and react to a human conversation.
Spark a discussion
What are fissures, and how are they created? What is Kilauea's normal volcanic activity like, and how is this eruption different? Are volcanic eruptions more likely to happen in some parts of the world than others?
Why are koala numbers in the wild going down? How is the new fund aiming to protect koalas? What other animals are at risk because of human activity?
Why was tech company Google excited about Duplex? Does Duplex sound like a real person to you? Why or why not? What do you think Duplex could be used for?
Discover more about the topics covered in this week's News update