July 30, 2020
The Economist spotlights a recent essay by Prof. David Autor and Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the state of work. “If remote working proves a lasting shift, then the café staff, taxi drivers and cleaners who depend on their custom could find themselves out of work,” writes The Economist.
Researchers at MIT and Northeastern are “testing a new video chat service called Minglr that lets online conference-goers bump into each other virtually,” writes Hiawatha Bray for The Boston Globe. The service is intended to replicate the traditional conference experience where “casual meetings with total strangers…often produce new ideas and business opportunities.”
Researchers at MIT’s Center for Advanced Virtuality have created a deepfake video of President Richard Nixon discussing a failed moon landing. “[The video is] meant to serve as a warning of the coming wave of impressively realistic deepfake false videos about to hit us that use A.I. to convincingly reproduce the appearance and sound of real people,” write Aaron Pressman and David Z. Morris for Fortune.
Asst. Prof. Lisa Piccirillo speaks with Chelsea Whyte at New Scientist about what led her to a career in math and how she solved the decades-old Conway knot problem. “In maths, 100 per cent of the days, basically you won’t solve anything,” said Piccirillo. “So you have to learn to be okay with that and still enjoy what you’re doing.”
In an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times, Prof. Sinan Aral writes about the need for a coordinated response to the pandemic across state lines. “When a state reopens while its peer state remains closed, travel spikes from the closed state into the open state,” writes Aral. “Only when both states adopt similar shelter-in-place policies does travel between the states diminish.”
Using a scanning electron microscope, MIT researchers observed how hair produces tiny chips in steel razor blades, reports Nell Greenfieldboyce for NPR. "For me, personally, it was both a scientific curiosity, of 'What's going on?' and also aiming to solve an important engineering problem," says Prof. C. Cem Tasan.
By observing and recording the cutting process, MIT researchers have found that human hairs chip razor blades during the shaving process, reports Leah Crane for New Scientist. “We expected that the failure of these materials should just be wear,” says Prof. C. Cem Tasan. “But this is not the case: the process of chipping is much faster.”