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On May 11th, 1997, the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue, became the first-ever machine to beat a reigning chess world champion when it defeated Garry Kasparov in a six-game match. Kasparov didn't take the loss well, and accused IBM of cheating. But today he is championing artificial intelligence as a tool that will elevate humanity, rather than destroy it, as pessimists like Stephen Hawking fear.

The human advantage: Kasparov tells economist Tyler Cowen in a podcast interview Wednesday that despite the fact that computers long ago surpassed humans in chess-playing ability, collaboration between the two will always be most powerful. He says that in a game of chess, even a weak human player in conjunction with a well designed machine and superior interface can defeat even the most powerful computer on its own.

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Ben Geman, author of Generate
37 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.