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Reuters

Reuters reporter Timothy Aeppel spotlights a new report by MIT researchers examining how automation is spreading to small and medium-sized factories in America. “Among the 34 companies with 500 employees or fewer in Ohio, Massachusetts and Arizona that the MIT researchers visited in their project, only one had bought robots in large numbers in the last five years,” writes Aeppel, “and that was an Ohio company that had been acquired by a Japanese multinational which pumped in money for the new automation.”

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporters Angus Loten and Kevin Hand spotlight how MIT researchers are developing robots with humanlike senses that will be able to assist with a range of tasks. GelSight, a technology developed by CSAIL researchers, outfits robot arms with a small gel pad that can be pressed into objects to sense their size and texture, while another team of researchers is “working to bridge the gap between touch and sight by training an AI system to predict what a seen object feels like and what a felt object looks like.”

Economist

Graduate student Shashank Srikant speaks with The Economist about his work developing a new model that can detect computer bugs and vulnerabilities that have been maliciously inserted into computer code.

New York Times

New York Times reporter Ben Casselman spotlights a study by Prof. Daron Acemoglu that finds many technological advances have replaced human labor without increasing productivity. “If we automated less, we would not actually have generated that much less output but we would have had a very different trajectory for inequality,” says Acemoglu.

Planet Money

Greg Rosalsky of NPR’s Planet Money spotlights Prof. Daron Acemoglu’s research exploring how automation is driving inequality in America. Rosalsky notes that Acemoglu hopes his research “will get policymakers to take a new, smarter approach to technological change.”

Marketplace

A new working paper by MIT researchers finds that automation is replacing more workers than outsourcing, reports Scott Tong for Marketplace. Prof. Daron Acemoglu notes that workers displaced by machines won’t be able to find better quality jobs unless “we invest in new technologies that create new tasks and new opportunities for workers.” 

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.”