December 8, 2019
Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, speaks with Kaveh Waddell and Alison Syder of Axios about the potential impact of automation. "If we stay on the trajectory we're on currently, we're going to have greater income inequality, less social mobility, greater political unrest and greater income insecurity," says Reynolds.
An analysis of data from the 1918 flu pandemic by MIT and Federal Reserve researchers finds cities that committed earlier and longer to social distancing measures fared better economically, reports Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui for The New York Times. Stricter interventions “actually make it safer for economic activity to resume, and they mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic itself on mortality,” explains Prof. Emil Verner.
TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington writes that Prof. Feng Zhang and Ben Silbermann of Pinterest are launching a mobile app that collects information on how users feel to help track the spread of Covid-19. The app “could be a very effective leading indicator of new or emerging viral hotspots, or provide scientific researches with other valuable insights when used in combination with other signals.”
Popular Mechanics reporter Courtney Linder writes that MIT researchers have developed a design for a device that could convert high-frequency tetrahertz waves into a direct current. In the future, the researchers hope such a device “could be used to power implants in the human body, meaning surgery would no longer be required to change its batteries.”
Forbes contributor Eva Amsen writes that MIT researchers have transformed the biochemical properties of proteins into music, and then used those musical compositions to create new proteins. By converting protein structures into music, the researchers “have created a library of music fragments that directly correspond to the kind of protein structures that you would find in real, existing proteins.”
In an article for The Atlantic, Prof. Alan Lightman writes that the Covid-19 pandemic may force “many of us to slow down, to spend more time in personal reflection, away from the noise and heave of the world. With more quiet time, more privacy, more stillness, we have an opportunity to think about who we are, as individuals and as a society.”