Elon Musk on Mission to Link Human Brains With Computers in Four Years: Report

MSN/Reuters, 4/22/2017

Neuralink Corporation hopes to develop a micron-sized device that could connect the human brain and a machine interface. The initial goal is to help those with severe brain injuries, then to explore use by people without disabilities. For example, if each person had a device, then two people could (theoretically) communicate concepts brain-to-brain. The long-term goal is to integrate human brains and artificial intelligence (AI), so humans will not be left behind (see Alternative Article below).

Paralysed Man Moves Arm Using Power of Thought in World First

The Guardian, 3/29/2017

Lead author Dr. Bolu Ajiboye and a team at Case Western Reserve University developed an experimental procedure that re-enables motor function in a paralyzed patient’s arm. This procedure translates activity in the patient’s motor cortex into a signal that activates the arm muscles to perform the desired action, with help from a prosthetic. The research is still in the developmental phase, but they hope it can become a normal procedure to help people with paralysis.

DACC and Virgin Galactic Team Up to Explore Virtual Reality

Las Cruces Sun-News, 2/10/2017

Doña Ana Community College (DACC) and Virgin Galactic are teaming up to create a new educational outreach program. The partnership focuses on new virtual reality (VR) technologies and explores how they might be used in various settings and applications. It will begin with students using a VR simulation to learn concepts in aerospace technology.

Voice Control Everywhere

MIT News, 2/13/2017

A chip, designed by MIT researchers, may reduce the level of energy required to use speech recognition. The software specific speech recognition chip will use up to an estimated 99% less energy compared to universal software compatible chips. The researchers hope to provide an energy efficient solution that allows users to interact with their small electronic devices using speech instead of touch based user interfaces.

Meeting of the Minds for Machine Intelligence

MIT News Office, 11/22/2016

Industry leaders and computer scientists are pushing for more use of machine intelligence so that machines can aid doctors, business corporations, investors and many more entities in decision making. The article discusses the potential rewards of using machine intelligence to solve real-world problems, for example, whether machine learning can help to better quantify uncertainty when trying to predict outcomes in various fields.

Faster Programs, Easier Programming

MIT News, 11/7/2016

Researchers from MIT’s CSAIL and Stony Brook University are researching ways to make using multi-core computers easier. They have created a method for describing, in general terms, the computation task desired, and then automatically converting this to a parallelized program. This makes it easier for domain experts (such as computational biologists or cybersecurity experts) to quickly write programs to support their research or tasks, without having to be parallel-programming experts as well.

Can We Open the Black Box of AI?

Nature International Weekly Journal of Science, 10/5/2016

Scientists attempt to understand how computers think and learn in order to verify the reliability of large scale data analysis. This article covers several efforts in the last few years to understand how deep neural nets work. If scientists can understand how computers gather and interpret data in deep learning, these techniques can be used with more confidence, in day to day applications as well as in cutting edge scientific research.

A Beauty Contest Was Judged by AI and the Robots Didn’t Like Dark Skin

The Guardian, 9/8/2016

Beauty.AI developed a set of algorithms to judge photos according to five factors in human standards of beauty; it disproportionately chose photos of white people. The article discusses the potential consequences of emergent bias in algorithms and/or datasets in general, including more consequential examples like predictive policing.

Inferring Urban Travel Patterns From Cellphone Data

MIT News, 8/29/2016

Researchers are using data on the locations people make calls from to model the movement patterns of Boston commuters; the system may replace or supplement surveys of residents. The article discusses the benefits of gathering and processing more data more quickly and cheaply, though students may be able to identify some disadvantages of using call data.

Paraplegics Take a Step to Regain Movement

Duke Today, 8/10/2016

Patients using brain-machine interfaces to control robotic prosthetics, along with virtual-reality devices that simulated moving their own limbs, were unexpectedly able to regain some actual control of their own limbs, apparently reengaging their spinal cord nerves. Includes a short description of computational modeling of how the brain controls movement.