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Science Friday

Prof. Danielle Wood speaks with Science Friday guest host Sophie Bushwick about the importance of space law and the rules of space. “One of the things that is so helpful to think about when trying to define space law is the fact that space law, in many ways, happens at the national level and is negotiated at the international level, so we can say that the United States has both ratified and signed the outer space treaty which means it is also U.S law,” explains Wood. “I think that’s really key to keeping track of what it means for international law to be binding and I think that’s key to saying space law is meaningful especially because countries make it domestic law.”

The Boston Globe

Prof. Kent Larson speaks with Boston Globe reporter Scott Kirsner about City Science, a research group at the MIT Media Lab that studies urban development. Larson says “home manufacturers typically run into two problems: ‘negative stereotypes’ about prefabricated housing and unpredictable demand, which makes it difficult to keep a factory operating steadily,” writes Kirsner. 

Science

Prof. Danielle Wood speaks with Science news intern Sean Cummings about how space exploration and research can benefit everyone. “It’s great to think about what it means for space to benefit everyone,” says Wood. “I think there are two dimensions to ask: I would first ask ‘how could I redesign space systems that were not designed for everyone but could be fixed to make them more effective?’ and the second would be ‘what about the new things we haven’t built yet?’”

CNBC

Bridgit Mendler SM '20, PhD '24 has co-founded Northwood Space, a startup working to mass produce ground stations that connect to satellites in space, reports Michael Sheetz for CNBC. “The vision is a data highway between Earth and space,” says Mendler. “Space is getting easier along so many different dimensions but still the actual exercise of sending data to and from space is difficult. You have difficulty finding an access point for contacting your satellite.”

Politico

Researchers at MIT and elsewhere have found that while AI systems could help doctors come to the right diagnosis more often, the diagnostic gains aren’t always distributed evenly, with more improvements tied to patients with lighter skin, report Daniel Payne, Erin Schumaker, and Ruth Reader for Politico. “AI could be a powerful tool to improve care and potentially offer providers a check on their blindspots," they write. "But that doesn’t mean AI will reduce bias. In fact, the study suggests, AI could cause greater disparities in care.”

MSNBC

Joy Buolamwini PhD '22 speaks with MSNBC reporter Daniela Pierre-Bravo about her new book, Unmasking AI: My Mission To Protect What is Human in a World of Machines, which explores the intersection of AI development and the, “dangers of bias in its algorithmic systems.” Buolamwini emphasizes that: “We need legislation — at the federal level — because the legislation then puts in the guard rails for the tech companies. And also, we need to think about AI governance globally. I do think that all of our stories matter. When you share your experience with AI or your questions about it, you encourage other people to share their stories.”

Wired

Writing for Wired, research scientist Kate Darling highlights the importance of addressing the fundamentally human behaviors that have been incorporated into AI chatbots. “Research in human-computer and human-robot interaction shows that we love to anthropomorphize—attribute humanlike qualities, behaviors, and emotions to—the nonhuman agents we interact with, especially if they mimic cues we recognize,” writes Darling. “And, thanks to recent advances in conversational AI, our machines are suddenly very skilled at one of those cues: language.”

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics reporter Jill Waldbieser spotlights Prof. Hugh Herr and his work developing prosthetic limbs that integrate with their human hosts using a surgical technique that preserves the sensation in artificial limbs. “In the future, on the order of five years or so, we’ll be so good at this, we’ll completely restore the signals from the prosthetic to the brain and from the brain to the prosthetic, like the limb was never amputated,” says Herr.

Wired

Prof. Canan Dagdeviren and her team have developed a wearable ultrasound patch that can be used to screen for breast cancer at home, reports Grace Browne for Wired. “Dagdeviren wants to give people the opportunity to know what’s happening inside their bodies every day, the same way we check the weather forecast,” writes Browne.

Salon

Researchers from MIT have developed, “nanoelectronics they hope can one day enter the brain and treat conditions like Alzheimer’s by monitoring some of these brain patterns,” reports Elizabeth Hlavinka for Salon. “Their device, which they call Cell Rover, serves as a sort of antenna that can help external devices monitor cells.”

Wired

Ariel Ekblaw, director of the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, speaks with Wired reporter Ramin Skibba on a panel discussion on the future of space exploration. “In the future, instead of thinking about space habitats and life in space as a domain where it’s just about survival, which it has certainly been until recently, we’re at this inflection point,” says Ekblaw. “We can begin to think about thriving in space, designing space architecture that is welcoming to more of the public that doesn’t just look like a science lab on orbit and so to be able to do that, we need responsive space habitats, really capable integration of all kinds of different systems, and AI will have a huge role in that.”

Fresh Air

Joy Buolamwini PhD '22 joins Tonya Mosley on NPR’s Fresh Air podcast to discuss her new book, Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines. "With the adoption of AI systems, at first I thought we were looking at a mirror, but now I believe we're looking into a kaleidoscope of distortion," Buolamwini says. "Because the technologies we believe to be bringing us into the future are actually taking us back from the progress already made."

Curiosity Stream

Four faculty members from across MIT - Professors Song Han, Simon Johnson, Yoon Kim and Rosalind Picard - speak with Curiosity Stream about the opportunities and risks posed by the rapid advancements in the field of AI. “We do want to think about which human capabilities we treasure,” says Picard. She adds that during the Covid-19 pandemic, “we saw a lot of loss of people's ability to communicate with one another face-to-face when their world moved online. I think we need to be thoughtful and intentional about what we're building with the technology and whether it's diminishing who we are or enhancing it.”

Forbes

Augmental, an MIT spinoff, has created MouthPad, a tongue-controlled, computer mouse pad designed for people with disabilities, reports Zoya Hasan and Alex York for Forbes. The device is a “hands-free, custom fit mouthpiece for device control,” explains Hasan and York.