This Week in Science: Dogs, Frogs, and Has A.I. Developed Feelings?

It’s time for “Nerd News,” covering the most important news for your brain you may have missed.  Here’s a quick rundown of this week in science . . .

1.  A software engineer at Google got suspended after claiming a new chatbot named “LaMDA” has become “sentient” and has feelings now.  He posted a long conversation he had with it, and it’s pretty freaky.  Experts disagree with him though.  They say the bot is just really good at mimicking human language.  (A related survey asked people if they think computers will ever have feelings, and 21% said yes.)

2.  In space news:  China released . . . then deleted . . . a report that said they may have picked up signals from an alien civilization.  Or, it could just be a glitch.

3.  In addiction news:  A study found that having a stroke can sometimes make people crave nicotine less and help them quit smoking.  If doctors can figure out why, it might lead to better treatments for addiction in general.

4.  In pet news:  Researchers found that when dogs think of their favorite toys, their brains can remember what each toy looks like and SMELLS like.  And a study found cats might go crazy for catnip because it works as a natural bug repellant.

5.  And finally:  A study found tiny frogs the size of a Skittle are too small to be good jumpers.  Their inner ear is so tiny, they have no balance. “The Atlantic” did a story on it with the headline, “A Frog So Small, It Could Not Frog”.