AI Predicts Outcomes of Human Rights Trials

University College London/UCL News, 10/24/2016

Artificial intelligence has recently been used to predict (past) judicial decisions in the European Court of Human Rights to a surprising degree of accuracy. This method could potentially be used to automatically identify cases that are likely to involve human rights violations, and is also an interesting example of how artificial intelligence can quantify and even predict human behavior based on pattern recognition.

Quantifying Urban Revitalization

MIT News, 10/24/2016

Researchers have developed a system that estimates how safe visitors will perceive an area to be based on photographs of the area. The researchers began with a crowdsourcing effort to build an initial database of images and safety ratings of the area in the image. Over 1.4 million responses have then been used to train a machine-learning algorithm to identify these aspects automatically.

Soft Robots That Mimic Human Muscles

EFPL News (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), 10/18/2016

An EFPL team is developing light robots called Soft Muscle, aiming to improve robot design. The EPFL team’s ultimate goal in developing Soft Muscle is to provide inexpensive exoskeleton designs that will assist in creating lighter, more flexible robots for any application.

How Virtual Reality is Being Used to Deliver Mental Health Care

Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 10/11/2016

Through the use of VR (Virtual Reality), scientists seek to lower the cost and increase the availability of mental health care. They use VR technologies to help patients overcome their fears in a safe environment, by creating simulated situations that reproduce their fears. The availability of this treatment is increasing due to the lower costs of VR devices. The success of the VR experiments might potentially lead to higher quality and more accessible mental health care.

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.

Big Data Help CIA Predict Social Unrest 5 Days Before It Begins

Tech Times, 10/7/2016

The CIA and their new Directorate of Digital Innovation are working on “anticipatory intelligence” to predict future events. The Deputy Director says that they can sometimes forecast outbreaks of unrest up to five days ahead. These predictions are made by using classified information as well as open source data; commentators speculate that much of the data comes from massive social media surveillance.

Brain To Robot: Move, Please

ETH News/Globe Magazine, 9/17/2016

A new exoskeleton design seeks to lower the recovery time for stroke victims in rehabilitation. Researchers are investigating the exoskeleton design to observe whether patients can use their mind to perform basic actions with their numb limbs. The exoskeleton design provides a more natural path towards recovery through reintegrating the use of paralyzed limbs.