• Soldiers could teach future robots how to outperform humans

    Researchers have designed an algorithm that allows an autonomous ground vehicle to improve its existing navigation systems by watching a human drive.
  • Engaging undergrads remotely with an escape room game

    Researchers describe an alternative way to engage students: a virtual game, modeled on an escape room, in which teams solve chemistry problems to progress and 'escape.'
  • Quantum materials quest could benefit from graphene that buckles

    Graphene buckles when cooled while attached to a flat surface, resulting in pucker patterns that could benefit the search for novel quantum materials and superconductors, according to new research.
  • CaseCrawler Adds Tiny Robotic Legs to Your Phone

    Most of us have a fairly rational expectation that if we put our cellphone down somewhere, it will stay in that place until we pick it up again. Normally, this is exactly what you’d want, but there are exceptions, like when you put your phone down in not quite the right spot on a wireless charging pad without noticing, or when you’re lying on the couch and your phone is juuust out of reach no matter how much you stretch.Roboticists from the Biorobotics Laboratory at Seoul National Un
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  • The Guardian view on artificial intelligence's revolution: learning but not as we know it | Editorial

    The Guardian view on artificial intelligence's revolution: learning but not as we know it | Editorial
    GPT-3, the software behind the world’s best non-human writer, is a giant step forward for machines. What about humanity? Bosses don’t often play down their products. Sam Altman, the CEO of artificial intelligence company OpenAI, did just that when people went gaga over his company’s latest software: the Generative Pretrained Transformer 3 (GPT-3). For some, GPT-3 represented a moment in which one scientific era ends and another is born. Mr Altman rightly lowered expectations. &
  • Classifying galaxies with artificial intelligence

    Astronomers have applied artificial intelligence (AI) to ultra-wide field-of-view images of the distant Universe captured by the Subaru Telescope, and have achieved a very high accuracy for finding and classifying spiral galaxies in those images. This technique, in combination with citizen science, is expected to yield further discoveries in the future.
  • Data systems that learn to be better

    Data systems that learn to be better
    Big data has gotten really, really big: By 2025, all the world’s data will add up to an estimated 175 trillion gigabytes. For a visual, if you stored that amount of data on DVDs, it would stack up tall enough to circle the Earth 222 times. One of the biggest challenges in computing is handling this onslaught of information while still being able to efficiently store and process it. A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) believe that the
  • Edinblurb festival: the AI bot creating new fringe shows every hour

    Edinblurb festival: the AI bot creating new fringe shows every hour
    Edinburgh University’s ImprovBot uses data from eight years of past productions to invent tantalising no-shows
    You can see how it happens. The company has yet to start devising the show, but the deadline for the Edinburgh fringe programme is tomorrow. On a wing and prayer, the administrator writes a 100-word blurb and hopes for the best.The inscrutable nature of the resultant publication is one of the unsung pleasures of the festival. Could these cryptic words be a clue to the surprise hit
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  • Government paid Vote Leave AI firm to analyse UK citizens' tweets

    Government paid Vote Leave AI firm to analyse UK citizens' tweets
    Faculty, linked to senior Tories, hired to collect tweets as part of coronavirus-related contractPrivacy campaigners have expressed alarm after the government revealed it had hired an artificial intelligence firm to collect and analyse the tweets of UK citizens as part of a coronavirus-related contract.Faculty, which was hired by Dominic Cummings to work for the Vote Leave campaign and counts two current and former Conservative ministers among its shareholders, was paid £400,000 by the Min
  • How Amazon puts misinformation on your reading list | John Naughton

    How Amazon puts misinformation on your reading list | John Naughton
    Algorithms routinely come up with ‘recommendations’ for anti-vax ‘bestsellers’ or juices that cure cancerIt’s a truism that we live in a “digital age”. It would be more accurate to say that we live in an algorithmically curated era – that is, a period when many of our choices and perceptions are shaped by machine-learning algorithms that nudge us in directions favoured by those who employ the programmers who write the necessary code.A good way of d
  • Video Friday: Japan's Giant Gundam Robot Is Nearly Complete

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):AWS Cloud Robotics Summit – August 18-19, 2020 – [Online Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceICR
  • Shrinking deep learning’s carbon footprint

    Shrinking deep learning’s carbon footprint
    In June, OpenAI unveiled the largest language model in the world, a text-generating tool called GPT-3 that can write creative fiction, translate legalese into plain English, and answer obscure trivia questions. It’s the latest feat of intelligence achieved by deep learning, a machine learning method patterned after the way neurons in the brain process and store information.But it came at a hefty price: at least $4.6 million and 355 years in computing time, assuming
  • Australia needs to face up to the dangers of facial recognition technology | David Paris

    Australia needs to face up to the dangers of facial recognition technology | David Paris
    State and federal governments must follow the lead of cities here and abroad to suspend its use and develop a regulatory frameworkIn the 20 years of the “war on terror” Australia has led from the front in expanding powers for law enforcement and ramping up surveillance at the expense of public rights and freedoms. Among the seemingly endless barrage of national security legislation and surveillance that creeps into every aspect of our personal lives, more and more of our public space
  • How thoughts could one day control electronic prostheses, wirelessly

    The current generation of neural implants record enormous amounts of neural activity, then transmit these brain signals through wires to a computer. But, so far, when researchers have tried to create wireless brain-computer interfaces to do this, it took so much power to transmit the data that the implants generated too much heat to be safe for the patient. A new study suggests how to solve his problem -- and thus cut the wires.
  • 3 Questions: John Leonard on the future of autonomous vehicles

    3 Questions: John Leonard on the future of autonomous vehicles
    As part of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future’s new series of research briefs, Professor John Leonard teamed with professor of aeronautics and astronautics and of history David Mindell and with doctoral candidate Erik Stayton to explore the future of autonomous vehicles (AV) — an area that could arguably be called the touchstone for the discussion of jobs of the future in recent years. Leonard is the Samuel C. Collins Professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering in the Dep
  • Little Wheeled Robot Puts on New Shoes to Go Offroad

    When designing a mobility system for a robot, the goal is usually to come up with one single system that allows your robot to do everything that you might conceivably need it to do, whether that’s walking, running, rolling, swimming, or some combination of those things. This is not at all how humans do it, though: If humans followed the robot model, we’d be walking around wearing some sort of horrific combination of sneakers, hiking boots, roller skates, skis, and flippers on our fee
  • This AI-Powered Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Text Game Is Super Fun and Makes No Sense

    This AI-Powered Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Text Game Is Super Fun and Makes No Sense
    Last year, AI Dungeon debuted as a free text adventure game. Now the game’s AI system has been upgraded toGPT-3, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer, which has a language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. According to game creator Nick Walton, it’s “one of the most powerful AI models in the…Read more...
  • High Performance Ornithopter Drone Is Quiet, Efficient, and Safe

    The vast majority of drones are rotary-wing systems (like quadrotors), and for good reason: They’re cheap, they’re easy, they scale up and down well, and we’re getting quite good at controlling them, even in very challenging environments. For most applications, though, drones lose out to birds and their flapping wings in almost every way—flapping wings are very efficient, enable astonishing agility, and are much safer, able to make compliant contact with surfaces rather t
  • New US postage stamp highlights MIT research

    New US postage stamp highlights MIT research
    Letter writers across the country will soon have a fun and beautiful new Forever stamp to choose from, featuring novel research from the Media Lab's Biomechatronics research group. The stamp is part of a new U.S. Postal Service (USPS) series on innovation, representing computing, biomedicine, genome sequencing, robotics, and solar technology. For the robotics category, the USPS chose the bionic prosthesis designed and built by Matt Carney PhD ’20 and members of the Biomechatronic
  • GPT-3: an AI game-changer or an environmental disaster? | John Naughton

    GPT-3: an AI game-changer or an environmental disaster? | John Naughton
    The tech giants’ latest machine-learning system comes with both ethical and environmental costsUnless you’ve been holidaying on Mars, or perhaps in Spain (alongside the transport secretary), you may have noticed some fuss on social media about something called GPT-3. The GPT bit stands for the “generative pre-training” of a language model that acquires knowledge of the world by “reading” enormous quantities of written text. The “3” indicates that t
  • An automated health care system that understands when to step in

    An automated health care system that understands when to step in
    In recent years, entire industries have popped up that rely on the delicate interplay between human workers and automated software. Companies like Facebook work to keep hateful and violent content off their platforms using a combination of automated filtering and human moderators. In the medical field, researchers at MIT and elsewhere have used machine learning to help radiologists better detect different forms of cancer. What can be tricky about these hybrid approaches is underst
  • Video Friday: NASA Launches Its Most Advanced Mars Rover Yet

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):AWS Cloud Robotics Summit – August 18-19, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceIC
  • Startup and Academics Find Path to Powerful Analog AI

    Engineers have been chasing a form of AI that could drastically lower the energy required to do typical AI things like recognize words and images. This analog form of machine learning does one of the key mathematical operations of neural networks using the physics of a circuit instead of digital logic. But one of the main things limiting this approach is that deep learning’s training algorithm, back propagation, has to be done by GPUs or other separate digital systems.Now University of Mon
  • How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Breaking Artificial Intelligence and How to Fix It

    How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Breaking Artificial Intelligence and How to Fix It
    As covid-19 disrupted the world in March, online retail giant Amazon struggled to respond to the sudden shift caused by the pandemic. Household items like bottled water and toilet paper, which never ran out of stock, suddenly became in short supply. One- and two-day deliveries were delayed for several days. Though…Read more...
  • Algorithm finds hidden connections between paintings at the Met

    Algorithm finds hidden connections between paintings at the Met
    Art is often heralded as the greatest journey into the past, solidifying a moment in time and space; the beautiful vehicle that lets us momentarily escape the present. With the boundless treasure trove of paintings that exist, the connections between these works of art from different periods of time and space can often go overlooked. It’s impossible for even the most knowledgeable of art critics to take in millions of paintings across thousands of years and be able to find unexpected
  • iRobot's New Education Robot Makes Learning to Code a Little More Affordable

    iRobot has been on a major push into education robots recently. They acquired Root Robotics in 2019, and earlier this year, launched an online simulator and associated curriculum designed to work in tandem with physical Root robots. The original Root was intended to be a classroom robot, with one of its key features being the ability to stick to (and operate on) magnetic virtual surfaces, like whiteboards. And as a classroom robot, at $200, it’s relatively affordable, if you can buy one or
  • Remotely Operated Robot Takes Straight Razor to Face of Brave Roboticist

    Roboticists love hard problems. Challenges like the DRC and SubT have helped (and are still helping) to catalyze major advances in robotics, but not all hard problems require a massive amount of DARPA funding—sometimes, a hard problem can just be something very specific that’s really hard for a robot to do, especially relative to the ease with which a moderately trained human might be able to do it. Catching a ball. Putting a peg in a hole. Or using a straight razor to shave someone&
  • Randomness theory could hold key to internet security

    Researchers identified a problem that holds the key to whether all encryption can be broken -- as well as a surprising connection to a mathematical concept that aims to define and measure randomness.
  • Looking into the black box

    Looking into the black box
    Deep learning systems are revolutionizing technology around us, from voice recognition that pairs you with your phone to autonomous vehicles that are increasingly able to see and recognize obstacles ahead. But much of this success involves trial and error when it comes to the deep learning networks themselves. A group of MIT researchers recently reviewed their contributions to a better theoretical understanding of deep learning networks, providing direction for the field moving forward.“De
  • Peer Review of Scholarly Research Gets an AI Boost

    In the world of academics, peer review is considered the only credible validation of scholarly work. Although the process has its detractors, evaluation of academic research by a cohort of contemporaries has endured for over 350 years, with “relatively minor changes.” However, peer review may be set to undergo its biggest revolution ever—the integration of artificial intelligence.Open-access publisher Frontiers has debuted an AI tool called the Artificial In
  • New Zealand claims world first in setting standards for government use of algorithms

    New Zealand claims world first in setting standards for government use of algorithms
    Exclusive: Statistics minister says new charter on algorithms – used from traffic lights to police decision-making – an ‘important part of building public trust’New Zealand’s government says it is the first in the world to produce a set of standards for how public agencies should use the algorithms that increasingly drive decision-making by officials about every area of public life.The increasing application of algorithms by governments around the world – part
  • Artificial Intelligence to identify individual birds of same species

    Humans have a hard time identifying individual birds just by looking at the patterns on their plumage. An international study has now shown how computers can learn to differentiate individual birds of a same species.
  • Soft robot actuators heal themselves

    Repeated activity wears on soft robotic actuators, but these machine's moving parts need to be reliable and easily fixed. Now a team of researchers has a biosynthetic polymer, patterned after squid ring teeth, that is self-healing and biodegradable, creating a material not only good for actuators, but also for hazmat suits and other applications where tiny holes could cause a danger.
  • AI model developed to identify individual birds without tagging

    AI model developed to identify individual birds without tagging
    Distinguishing individual birds using AI could aid avian behaviour researchFor even the most sharp-eyed of ornithologists, one great tit can look much like another.But now researchers have built the first artificial intelligence tool capable of identifying individual small birds. Continue reading...
  • Video Friday: Massive Robot Joins Swedish Acrobats on Stage

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here’s what we have so far (send us your events!):AWS Cloud Robotics Summit – August 18-19, 2020 – [Online Conference]CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceICR
  • Commentary: America must invest in its ability to innovate

    Commentary: America must invest in its ability to innovate
    In July of 1945, in an America just beginning to establish a postwar identity, former MIT vice president Vannevar Bush set forth a vision that guided the country to decades of scientific dominance and economic prosperity. Bush’s report to the president of the United States, “Science: The Endless Frontier,” called on the government to support basic research in university labs. Its ideas, including the creation of the National Science Foundation (NSF), are credited with helping t
  • Attention Rogue Drone Pilots: AI Can See You!

    The minute details of rogue drone’s movements in the air may unwittingly reveal the drone pilot’s location—possibly enabling authorities to bring the drone down before, say, it has the opportunity to disrupt air traffic or cause an accident. And it’s possible without requiring expensive arrays of radio triangulation and signal-location antennas.So says a team of Israeli researchers who have trained an AI drone-tracking algorithm to reveal the drone operator’s wherea
  • x86 Beware: Nvidia May Be Eyeing an ARM Takeover From Soft Bank

    x86 Beware: Nvidia May Be Eyeing an ARM Takeover From Soft Bank
    SoftBank is reportedly exploring the sale of ARM and Nvidia is one of the companies that might be interested. This is a remarkably interesting idea that could have enormous consequences for the mobile and desktop markets.First, let’s talk about the obvious. Once upon a time (by which I mean roughly years ago), there were three companies building x86 chipsets: Nvidia, AMD, and Intel. Nvidia was, by this time, largely on the sidelines of the market with some enthusiast segment wins and SLI-c
  • Take a Brief Vacation From Reality With These 6 Short Sci-Fi and Horror Films

    Take a Brief Vacation From Reality With These 6 Short Sci-Fi and Horror Films
    Dreaming of other planets, other realities, or other timelines? So far, 2020 has us wishing we could be literally anywhere else. Here’s a temporary escape hatch: these awesome new short films, all of which share glimpses of a future where so much more has gone wrong. At least we aren’t there... yet?Read more...
  • Fun Activity Sheets Introduce Kids to the World of Robots

    Robots! Robots! Robots! This collection of fun activity sheets for kids is a perfect introduction to the amazing world of robots.The activities are meant to be intuitive and clear, with little direction needed so that it’s easy for most kids to do the work independently. We think these activities can be enjoyed by kids age 6 to 12, though older kids (and adults!) may want to explore some of them, too.The sheets can be printed out or done on a computer or tablet. Some activities require tha
  • Q&A: Facebook’s CTO Is at War With Bad Content, and AI Is His Best Weapon

    Photo: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images Facebook chief technical officer Mike Schroepfer leads the company’s AI and integrity efforts.Facebook’s challenge is huge. Billions of pieces of content—short and long posts, images, and combinations of the two—are uploaded to the site daily from around the world. And any tiny piece of that—any phrase, image, or video—could contain so-called bad content.In its early days, Facebook relied on simple computer fil
  • Neural vulnerability in Huntington’s disease tied to release of mitochondrial RNA

    Neural vulnerability in Huntington’s disease tied to release of mitochondrial RNA
    In the first study to comprehensively track how different types of brain cells respond to the mutation that causes Huntington’s disease (HD), MIT neuroscientists found that a significant cause of death for an especially afflicted kind of neuron might be an immune response to genetic material errantly released by mitochondria, the cellular components that provide cells with energy.In different cell types at different stages of disease progression, the researchers measured how levels of RNA
  • Iron Man VR Is a Perfunctory Superhero Story, But With Some Clever Virtual Twists

    Iron Man VR Is a Perfunctory Superhero Story, But With Some Clever Virtual Twists
    If you were coming into Sony’s recent Iron Man VR game expecting something on the level of what it and Insomniac did with Marvel’s Spider-Man, you’re probably going to be disappointed with its by-the-numbers tale. But while its story itself doesn’t particularly soar as high as the Iron Avenger, the game itself manages…Read more...
  • Powerful human-like hands create safer human-robotics interactions

    A team of engineers designed and developed a novel humanoid hand that may be able to help human-robotic interactions.
  • MIT Schwarzman College of Computing announces first named professorships

    MIT Schwarzman College of Computing announces first named professorships
    The MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing announced its first two named professorships, beginning July 1, to Frédo Durand and Samuel Madden in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). These named positions recognize the outstanding achievements and future potential of their academic careers.“I’m thrilled to acknowledge Frédo and Sam for their outstanding contributions in research and education. These named professorships recognize t
  • Better simulation meshes well for design software (and more)

    Better simulation meshes well for design software (and more)
    The digital age has spurred the rise of entire industries aimed at simulating our world and the objects in it. Simulation is what helps movies have realistic effects, automakers test cars virtually, and scientists analyze geophysical data.To simulate physical systems in 3D, researchers often program computers to divide objects into sets of smaller elements, a procedure known as “meshing.” Most meshing approaches tile 2D objects with patterns of triangles or quadrilaterals (quads), an
  • Which way to the fridge? Common sense helps robots navigate

    A robot travelling from point A to point B is more efficient if it understands that point A is the living room couch and point B is a refrigerator. That's the common sense idea behind a 'semantic' navigation system.
  • Tackling the misinformation epidemic with “In Event of Moon Disaster”

    Tackling the misinformation epidemic with “In Event of Moon Disaster”
    Can you recognize a digitally manipulated video when you see one? It’s harder than most people realize. As the technology to produce realistic “deepfakes” becomes more easily available, distinguishing fact from fiction will only get more challenging. A new digital storytelling project from MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality aims to educate the public about the world of deepfakes with “In Event of Moon Disaster.”This provocative website showcases a “com
  • Video Friday: This Terrifying Robot Will Cut Your Hair With Scissors

    Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your Automaton bloggers. We’ll also be posting a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months; here's what we have so far (send us your events!):CLAWAR 2020 – August 24-26, 2020 – [Virtual Conference]ICUAS 2020 – September 1-4, 2020 – Athens, GreeceICRES 2020 – September 28-29, 2020 – Taipei, TaiwanIROS 2020 – Oct
  • Faculty receive funding to develop artificial intelligence techniques to combat Covid-19

    Faculty receive funding to develop artificial intelligence techniques to combat Covid-19
    Artificial intelligence has the power to help put an end to the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only can techniques of machine learning and natural language processing be used to track and report Covid-19 infection rates, but other AI techniques can also be used to make smarter decisions about everything from when states should reopen to how vaccines are designed. Now, MIT researchers working on seven groundbreaking projects on Covid-19 will be funded to more rapidly develop and apply novel AI techniques