Hollywood was at MIT on Monday as the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab hosted a media event that brought together scientists and AI pioneers with some of the filmmakers and talent of A.I., a movie directed by Steven Spielberg to be released next month.
Some 150 national and international reporters attended a panel discussion about the future of artificial intelligence, followed by a tour of several robots and other projects at the AI Lab.
Movie folk on hand for the event included Haley Joel Osment, a star of the upcoming Warner Brothers film and an Academy Award nominee for The Sixth Sense. Also attending was Producer Kathleen Kennedy. Mr. Spielberg had other commitments.
The movie focuses on the relationships and challenges involved when a robotic boy (Osment), the first programmed to love, co-exists as a member of a family. After a series of unexpected circumstances leave him without final acceptance by humans or machines, he journeysto discover where he truly belongs.
To kick off Monday afternoon's event, three MIT scientists and an alumnus participated in a panel discussion about artificial intelligence. Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, an AI Lab postdoctoral associate who led the creation of the lab's social robot Kismet, talked about the state of the art in the field. Ray Kurzweil (SB 1970) discussed the future timetable. Mr. Kurzweil, who has founded, developed and sold four AI businesses, won this year's $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize, the world's largest single award for innovation and innovation.
Sherry R. Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor in the Program in Science, Technology and Society, has written numerous articles on the "subjective" side of people's relationships with technology, especially computers. She talked about our relationship to machines. Fujitsu Professor of Computer Science Rodney Brooks, director of the AI Lab, discussed acceptance and ethics.
The discussion in Rm 10-250 included a Q&A session with the panelists and with Ms. Kennedy and Haley. The AI Lab tour that followed featured demonstrations of MIT's humanoid robots Cog and Kismet, the intelligent room, DNA computing, a robotic prosthetic leg, a robotic dinosaur, the lab's latest two-legged robot and vision-tracking software.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 2, 2001.