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Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

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The New York Times

Former MIT Prof. Edward Fredkin, “a pioneer in artificial intelligence and a maverick theorist,” has died at 88, reports Alex Williams for The New York Times. Williams notes that Fredkin, who worked on Project MAC during his time at MIT, was “fueled by a seemingly limitless scientific imagination and a blithe indifference to conventional thinking.” Prof. Gerald Sussman recalls that “Ed Fredkin had more ideas per day than most people have in a month.”

Yahoo! News

Prof. Marzyeh Ghassemi speaks with Yahoo News reporter Rebecca Corey about the benefits and risks posed by the use of AI tools in health care. “I think the problem is when you try to naively replace humans with AI in health care settings, you get really poor results,” says Ghassemi. “You should be looking at it as an augmentation tool, not as a replacement tool.”

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Mike Orcutt spotlights Prof. Silvio Micali and Prof. Shafi Goldwasser for their work developing the theory behind zero-knowledge proofs and their contributions to the field of modern cryptography.

The New York Times

New York Times reporter Natasha Singer spotlights the Day of AI, an MIT RAISE program aimed at teaching K-12 students about AI. “Because AI is such a powerful new technology, in order for it to work well in society, it really needs some rules,” said MIT President Sally Kornbluth. Prof. Cynthia Breazeal, MIT’s dean of digital learning, added: “We want students to be informed, responsible users and informed, responsible designers of these technologies.”

Inside Higher Ed

Graduate student Kartik Chandra writes for Inside Higher Education about how many of this year’s college graduates are feeling anxiety about new AI technologies. “We scientists are still debating the details of how AI is and is not humanlike in its use of language,” writes Chandra. “But let’s not forget the big picture: unlike AI, you speak because you have something to say.”

Politico

Neil Thompson, director of the FutureTech research project at MIT CSAIL and a principal investigator MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy, speaks with Politico reporter Mohar Chatterjee about generative AI, the pace of computer progress and the need for the U.S. to invest more in developing the future of computing. “We need to make sure we have good secure factories that can produce cutting-edge semiconductors,” says Thompson. “The CHIPS Act covers that. And people are starting to invest in some of these post-CMOS technologies — but it just needs to be much more. These are incredibly important technologies.”

The Washington Post

MIT researchers have developed a new method to make chatbots more factual, reports Gerrit De Vynck for The Washington Post. “The researchers proposed using different chatbots to produce multiple answers to the same question and then letting them debate each other until one answer won out,” explains Vynck. “The researchers found using this ‘society of minds’ method made them more factual.”  

NPR

Prof. Marzyeh Ghassemi speaks with NPR host Kate Wells about a decision by the National Eating Disorders Associations to replace their helpline with a chatbot. “I think it's very alienating to have an interactive system present you with irrelevant or what can feel like tangential information,” says Ghassemi.

Axios

As part of an effort to address racism and discrimination, MIT researchers have developed a new VR role-playing project, dubbed “On the Plane,” writes Axios reporter Russell Contreras. "Our hope is that (players) move away from the experience with an understanding of how xenophobia and other forms of discrimination may play out in everyday life situations," explains CSAIL Research Scientist Caglar Yildirim.

Scientific American

A study conducted by graduate student Aspen Hopkins and colleagues trained a version of a GPT neural network on the board game Othello “by feeding in long sequences of move in text form”, reports George Musser for Scientific American. “Their model became a nearly perfect player,” writes Musser.

Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien spotlights how researchers from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital developed a new artificial intelligence tool, called Sybil, that an accurately predict a patient’s risk of developing lung cancer. “Sybil predicted with 86 to 94 percent accuracy whether a patient would develop lung cancer within a year,” says O’Brien.

Popular Science

MIT researchers have developed SoftZoo, “an open framework platform that simulated a variety of 3D model animals performing specific tasks in multiple environmental settings,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. “This computational approach to co-designing the soft robot bodies and their brains (that is, their controllers) opens the door to rapidly creating customized machines that are designed for a specific task,” says CSAIL director, Prof. Daniela Rus.

TechCrunch

Researchers at MIT have developed “SoftZoo,” a platform designed to “study the physics, look and locomotion and other aspects of different soft robot models,” reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “Dragonflies can perform very agile maneuvers that other flying creatures cannot complete because they have special structures on their wings that change their center of mass when they fly,” says graduate student Tsun-Hsuan Wang. “Our platform optimizes locomotion the same way a dragonfly is naturally more adept at working through its surroundings.”