No more bad movies? How artificial intelligence could predict box office success, how the US is moving towards a cashless society and why stress could be good for longevity, Our round-up of provoking thoughts, penetrating insights and digital curiosities…

No more bad movies? AI could predict box office success

Some movies are surprise box office hits, and others that seem a guaranteed success can unexpectedly fail to bring in the crowds. But now artificial intelligence may be able to predict which films will be popular and which will lose money at the box office, thanks to algorithms, according to Science. If the model is improved further, it could even help producers decide whether a movie will be a money-spinner before it is even made – helping them decide which ones to invest in. It could also save audiences from having to sit through films they wish they had avoided.

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Animals must adapt faster to survive

Animals are not adapting fast enough to climate change, creating a growing threat to many common species, the Guardian reports. A new study shows a dangerous lag between global warming and behavioural changes in the natural world, like what time in the year birds lay eggs, and could mean a significant risk to reproduction and survival, it said.

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Stress ‘could help longevity’

Stress is normally viewed as negative for health and wellbeing, but researchers in the US have found that a particular type of stress can actually improve longevity. According to, citing a study in the journal Science Advances, ‘chromatin stress’ triggers certain responses in yeast that increase lifespan. If the same kind of responses were triggered in humans, there could be scope to create new anti-aging treatments.

Read more: Is the planet ready for 100-year olds?

Will the US become a cashless society?

Is the US on its way to becoming a cashless society? The Harvard Business Review poses this question, as it explores the rise of digital payments and found that for some business owners, a cashless business model is a strategic choice that provides clear benefits. However, by not accepting coins and notes, some groups of people may be excluded. So, even though an increasing amount of consumers are using their credit and debit cards for smaller purchases, an entirely cashless society is unlikely any time soon.

Read more: How close are we to a cashless society?

Sea levels rising faster than expected

Underwater glaciers are melting up to 100 times faster than previously thought, which could have a dramatic impact on rising sea levels, the Independent reports. The research suggests that existing models of glacial melting are ‘wildly inaccurate’ and underestimate the problem – as global warming increases and rising water temperatures means glaciers are melting faster below the surface, potentially altering ocean ecosystems.

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