Physics tracks changes in English dialects, machine learning confused by COVID-19


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This episode of the Physics World Weekly podcast features an interview with the physicist James Burridge and the linguist Tamsin Blaxter, who have teamed up to study how local dialects in England have changed during the 20th and 21st centuries. The duo has used probability and statistical physics to chart the evolution of language between two English dialect surveys – one done in the 1950s and the other done in 2016 – and they talk about the factors that change the way we speak.

This podcast also looks at some exciting developments in astronomy that have happened over the past week; and we find out why machine learning algorithms developed to diagnose COVID-19 from chest X-rays are not suitable for clinical use.

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