Computers successfully trained to identify animals in photos

Researchers trained a deep neural network to classify wildlife species using 3.37 million camera-trap images of 27 species of animals obtained from five states across the United States. The model then was tested on nearly 375,000 animal images at a rate of about 2,000 images per minute on a laptop computer, achieving 97.6 percent accuracy — likely the highest accuracy to date in using machine learning for wildlife image classification. More details

North Sea Deployment Shows How Quadruped Robots Can Be Commercially Useful

ANYmal spends a week doing inspection tasks on an offshore platform As much as we like writing about quadrupedal robots, it’s always been a little bit tricky to see how they might be commercially useful in the near term outside of specialized circumstances like disaster response. We’ve seen some hints of what might be possible from Boston Dynamics, which has demonstrated construction inspection with SpotMini, but that’s not necessarily a situation where a robot is significantly better than a human. In September, ANYbotics brought one of their industrial quadrupeds, ANYmal, to an offshore power distribution platform in the North Sea. It’s very remote, and nothing much happens there, but it still requires a human or two to wander around checking up on stuff, a job that nobody wants.

MIT Open Learning launches Center for Advanced Virtuality

Virtual reality (VR) technologies are having a growing impact on people’s everyday lives. Sanjay Sarma, vice president for open learning, and D. Fox Harrell, a professor of digital media and artificial intelligence in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing Program and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, have combined their efforts to launch MIT Open Learning’s new initiative, the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality. The new initiative will help determine how MIT can use a group of technologies including virtual and mixed reality (collectively called extended reality or XR) to better serve human needs through artful innovation of virtual experiences, on-campus and beyond. Harrell’s research explores the relationship between imaginative cognition and computation and involves developing new forms of computational narrative, gaming, social media, and related digital media based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. Harrell announced the center’s creation in his remarks at this month’s  “Human-Computer Interaction Salon and Mixer,” as part of the Computational Cultures Initiative, Continue reading MIT Open Learning launches Center for Advanced Virtuality

Student group explores the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence

For years, the tech industry followed a move-fast-and-break-things approach, and few people seemed to mind as a wave of astonishing new tools for communicating and navigating the world appeared on the market. Now, amid rising concerns about the spread of fake news, the misuse of personal data, and the potential for machine-learning algorithms to discriminate at scale, people are taking stock of what the industry broke. Into this moment of reckoning come three MIT students, Irene Chen, Leilani Gilpin, and Harini Suresh, who are the founders of the new MIT AI Ethics Reading Group. All three are graduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) who had done stints in Silicon Valley, where they saw firsthand how technology developed with good intentions could go horribly wrong. “AI is so cool,” said Chen during a chat in Lobby 7 on a recent morning. “It’s so powerful. But sometimes it scares me.”  The founders had Continue reading Student group explores the ethical dimensions of artificial intelligence