Identifying artificial intelligence “blind spots”

A novel model developed by MIT and Microsoft researchers identifies instances in which autonomous systems have “learned” from training examples that don’t match what’s actually happening in the real world. Engineers could use this model to improve the safety of artificial intelligence systems, such as driverless vehicles and autonomous robots. The AI systems powering driverless cars, for example, are trained extensively in virtual simulations to prepare the vehicle for nearly every event on the road. But sometimes the car makes an unexpected error in the real world because an event occurs that should, but doesn’t, alter the car’s behavior. Consider a driverless car that wasn’t trained, and more importantly doesn’t have the sensors necessary, to differentiate between distinctly different scenarios, such as large, white cars and ambulances with red, flashing lights on the road. If the car is cruising down the highway and an ambulance flicks on its sirens, the car Continue reading Identifying artificial intelligence “blind spots”

Sony Upgrading Aibo With New Home Security Features, API Access

Robot dog gets just a little bit closer to real dog We love Aibo, because how could you not love Aibo? Not only is it a sophisticated robot that you can actually buy today, but it’s super cute as well. To celebrate the one year anniversary of the new Aibo going on sale, Sony is announcing a special edition of the robot, an open API, and some new features that could make it a bit more useful.

The first tendril-like soft robot able to climb

Researchers have made the first soft robot mimicking plant tendrils: it is able to curl and climb, using the same physical principles determining water transport in plants. In the future this tendril-like soft robot could inspire the development of wearable devices, such as soft braces, able to actively morph their shape. More details

A faster, more efficient cryptocurrency

MIT researchers have developed a new cryptocurrency that drastically reduces the data users need to join the network and verify transactions — by up to 99 percent compared to today’s popular cryptocurrencies. This means a much more scalable network. Cryptocurrencies, such as the popular Bitcoin, are networks built on the blockchain, a financial ledger formatted in a sequence of individual blocks, each containing transaction data. These networks are decentralized, meaning there are no banks or organizations to manage funds and balances, so users join forces to store and verify the transactions. But decentralization leads to a scalability problem. To join a cryptocurrency, new users must download and store all transaction data from hundreds of thousands of individual blocks. They must also store these data to use the service and help verify transactions. This makes the process slow or computationally impractical for some. In a paper being presented at the Network and Continue reading A faster, more efficient cryptocurrency