Sandia’s Robots Pull Apart Warheads to Recycle Thousands of Micro-Grenades

More than 700,000 bomblets have been turned into recyclable metal thanks to hard-working robots The United States builds a lot of weapons. Unless a lot of really bad stuff happens all at once, we build more weapons than we can possibly use, and since we keep inventing new ones that are better and doing what weapons do, all the old stuff tends to just pile up. These piles of old explosives aren’t aging particularly well, leaving us with few options, which include forgetting about them for longer than is probably safe, or blowing them up. A third option is disassembly and recycling, but that’s dangerous for humans, because these weapons can be very old, and very lethal. Sandia National Labs has been helping the Department of Defense deal with some of its stockpile of M26 rockets, which are packed full of tiny little grenades and need to be taken apart Continue reading Sandia’s Robots Pull Apart Warheads to Recycle Thousands of Micro-Grenades

Animal-AI Olympics Will Test AI on Intelligence Tasks Designed for Crows and Chimps

Experiments drawn from Aesop’s Fables can gauge general intelligence Illustration: Squidoodle Are today’s best artificial intelligence (AI) systems as smart as a mouse? A crow? A chimp? A new contest aims to find out.  The Animal-AI Olympics, which will begin this June, aims to “benchmark the current level of various AIs against different animal species using a range of established animal cognition tasks.” At stake are bragging rights and $10,000 in prizes. The project, a partnership between the University of Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and GoodAI, a research institution based in Prague, is a new way to evaluate the progress of AI systems toward what researchers call artificial general intelligence. While AI systems have recently bested humans in a host of challenging competitions, including the board game Go, the poker game Texas Hold’em, and the video game StarCraft, these matchups only proved that AIs were astoundingly Continue reading Animal-AI Olympics Will Test AI on Intelligence Tasks Designed for Crows and Chimps

Taking the lead in shaping the future of computing and artificial intelligence

With a box of popcorn in one hand, Hal Abelson, a renowned computer scientist, strolled through the first floor of the Ray and Maria Stata Center studying the machine learning exhibits that surrounded him on the afternoon of Feb. 26. Everywhere he looked he saw evidence of the remarkable things MIT students can do when given access to computing resources. “Computing tools and infrastructure have gotten to a place where students can outperform professional researchers. You are constrained mostly by your imagination. It’s just an amazing time,” said Abelson, the Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. Abelson, and a crowd of hundreds, was witnessing the kickoff of a three-day celebration of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing. The afternoon event was an exposition of projects that transformed the student street lobby area of the Stata Center into a computing fairground of sorts, replete with courtesy Continue reading Taking the lead in shaping the future of computing and artificial intelligence