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Financial Times

Writing for Financial Times, economist Ann Harrison spotlights research by Prof. Daron Acemoglu, Pascual Restrepo PhD '16 and Prof. David Autor, that explores the impact of automation on jobs in the United States. Acemoglu and Restrepo have “calculated that each additional robot in the US eliminates 3.3 workers” and that “most of the increase in inequality is due to workers who perform routine tasks being hit by automation,” writes Harrison.

Dezeen

Researchers from the MIT Self-Assembly Lab have developed a 4D-knit dress that uses “heat-activated yarn that allows its shape and fit to be altered in an instant,” reports Rima Sabina Aouf for Dezeen. Prof. Skylar Tibbits notes that by having “one dress that can be customized for fit and style, it can be perfectly tailored to the individual while being more sustainable and adaptable to changes in season, style or inventory.”

New York Times

New York Times opinion writer Peter Coy spotlights the MIT Shaping the Future of Work Initiative, a new effort aimed at analyzing the forces that are eroding job quality for non-college workers and identifying ways to move the economy onto a more equitable trajectory. Nothing is “inexorable,” said Prof. Daron Acemoglu during the project’s kickoff event. “The answer in most cases is, AI will do whatever we choose it to do.”

Scientific American

Scientific American reporter Payal Dhar spotlights how MIT engineers developed a beating, biorobotic replica of the human heart that could be used to “simulate the workings of both a healthy organ and a diseased one.” The replica, "which pumps a clear fluid instead of blood, is hooked up to instruments that measure blood flow, blood pressure, and more," writes Dhar. "It’s also customizable: the user can change the heart rate, blood pressure and other parameters, then watch how these changes affect the heart’s function in real time.”

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.”

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Julie Shah speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Lauren Weber about the implementation of automation in the work force. According to Shah, “when companies adopt automation successfully, they end up adding workers as they become more productive and fill more orders,” writes Weber. “And machines’ lack of flexibility has often resulted in what Shah calls ‘zero-sum automation,’ where gains in productivity are canceled out by the need for people to fix or reprogram robots and compensate for their drawbacks.” 

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.

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.”

Nature

Prof. Ritu Raman has developed centimeter-scale robots that use biological muscle, reports Liam Drew for Nature. “Raman is now developing muscle systems connected to neurons that can trigger contraction, just as they exist in animals,” writes Drew. “In the longer term, she aims to use networks of biological neurons that can sense external stimuli as well, enabling them to move in response to environmental cues.”

Scientific American

Researchers from MIT and elsewhere have developed a new AI technique for teaching robots to pack items into a limited space while adhering to a range of constraints, reports Nick Hilden for Scientific American. “We want to have a learning-based method to solve constraints quickly because learning-based [AI] will solve faster, compared to traditional methods,” says graduate student Zhutian “Skye” Yang.

TechCrunch

Prof. Russ Tedrake and Max Bajracharya '21 MEng '21 speak with TechCrunch reporter Brian Heater about the impact of generative AI on the future of robotics. “Generative AI has the potential to bring revolutionary new capabilities to robotics,” says Tedrake. “Not only are we able to communicate with robots in natural language, but connecting to internet-scale language and image data is giving robots a much more robust understanding and reasoning about the world.”

Forbes

Maria Telleria ’08, SM’10, PhD ’13 speaks with Forbes contributor Stuart Anderson about her experience immigrating to the U.S. as a teenager, earning her PhD at MIT, and co-founding a company. “I don’t think I would have had these opportunities if I could not have come to the United States,” said Telleria. “I think it helped me grow by being exposed to two cultures. When you have had to think in two different ways, I think it makes you better understand other people and why they’re different. Coming to America has been an amazing opportunity.”

Forbes

Forbes reporter Rob Toews spotlights Prof. Daniela Rus, director of CSAIL, and research affiliate Ramin Hasani and their work with liquid neural networks. “The ‘liquid’ in the name refers to the fact that the model’s weights are probabilistic rather than constant, allowing them to vary fluidly depending on the inputs the model is exposed to,” writes Toews.

Popular Science

Using techniques inspired by kirigami, a Japanese paper-cutting technique, MIT researchers have developed a “a novel method to manufacture plate lattices – high performance materials useful in automotive and aerospace designs,” reports Andrew Paul for Popular Science. “The kirigami-augmented plate lattices withstood three times as much force as standard aluminum corrugation designs,” writes Paul. “Such variations show immense promise for lightweight, shock-absorbing sections needed within cars, planes, and spacecraft."