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Axios

A new working paper co-authored by Prof. Daron Acemoglu finds that automation technology has been the primary driver of income inequality in the U.S. over the past 40-years. “Offshoring, the decline of unions, and corporate concentration have all played a part in widening the gap between lower-skilled and higher-skilled workers,” reports Bryan Walsh for Axios, “but automation is the single most significant factor, and will likely grow even more important in the years ahead.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Devin Coldewey spotlights MIT startup ISEE, which is developing a robotic yard truck that could be used to move containers in shipping yards. Coldewey writes that the ISEE trucks could “transport containers (unmodified, it is important to note) to and from locations in the yards, backing the 50-foot trailer into a parking spot with as little as a foot of space on either side.”

Mashable

MIT researchers have developed a new robot with a tactile sensing finger that can find objects buried in sand or rice, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “The robot could eventually perform other underground duties like identifying buried cables or disarming bombs or land mines.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater writes that MIT researchers have developed a new robotic finger, dubbed the Digger Finger, that can sense and identify objects underground. “It’s a useful skill that could someday be deployed for landmines, finding underground cables and a variety of other tasks.”

Mashable

Researchers from MIT and Harvard have developed a hair-brushing robot, reports Mashable. “Thanks to a robotic arm and a sensorized brush plus computer vision for analyzing the curliness of hair, the robot’s brushing method is meant to minimize pain.”

Wired

Wired reporter Will Knight spotlights how MIT researchers have showed that “an AI program trained to verify that code will run safely can be deceived by making a few careful changes, like substituting certain variables, to create a harmful program.”

USA Today

USA Today reporter Barbara VanDenburgh spotlights Media Lab research specialist Kate Darling’s new book, “The New Breed: What Our History with Animals Reveals about Our Future with Robots.” VanDenburgh writes that in the book, “An MIT Media Lab researcher and technology policy expert argues that treating robots more like we treat animals, with a bit of humanity, will serve mankind well.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights MIT startup Pickle, which has developed a package-picking robot dubbed Dill that “is capable of 1,600 picks per hour from the back of a trailer.” 

Wired

Writing for Wired, Media Lab research specialist Kate Darling makes the case that robots are more like animals than people. “Despite the AI pioneers’ original goal of recreating human intelligence, our current robots are fundamentally different,” writes Darling. “They’re not less-developed versions of us that will eventually catch up as we increase their computing power; like animals, they have a different type of intelligence entirely.” 

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed a new robot, dubbed RF Grasp, that can sense hidden objects using radio waves, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “The tech allows RF Grasp to pick up things that are covered up or otherwise out of its line of vision,” writes Heater.

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a neural network to help optimize sensor placement on soft robots to help give them a better picture of their environment.

Forbes

Writing for Forbes, research affiliate Tom Davenport spotlights how Stitch Fix “uses AI algorithms and human stylists working in combination to make recommendations to clients of items of clothing, shoes, or accessories.”

New York Times

Profs. Daron Acemoglu and David Autor speak with New York Times columnist Kevin Roose about the impact of automation on the labor market. “A lot of professional work combines some element of routine information processing with an element of judgment and discretion,” says Autor. “That’s where software has always fallen short. But with A.I., that type of work is much more in the kill path.”

Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien

Elisabeth Reynolds, executive director of the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, speaks with Soledad O’Brien about how to ensure workers aren’t left behind in the transition to a more digital workforce. “If we can find pathways to the middle where we do see growth and demand for workers - construction, healthcare, the trades, manufacturing, places where we are seeing opportunities - that move can really be a new lifeline for people,” says Reynolds. 

Forbes

Forbes contributor Adi Gaskell spotlights how the MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future recently released a comprehensive report examining the future of work. Gaskell writes that the Task Force's report emphasizes the “pressing issues of our time as one of improving the quality of jobs to ensure that prosperity is shared across the economy.”