Bringing human-like reasoning to driverless car navigation

With aims of bringing more human-like reasoning to autonomous vehicles, MIT researchers have created a system that uses only simple maps and visual data to enable driverless cars to navigate routes in new, complex environments.

Human drivers are exceptionally good at navigating roads they haven’t driven on before, using observation and simple tools. We simply match what we see around us to what we see on our GPS devices to determine where we are and where we need to go. Driverless cars, however, struggle with this basic reasoning. In every new area, the cars must first map and analyze all the new roads, which is very time consuming. The systems also rely on complex maps — usually generated by 3-D scans — which are computationally intensive to generate and process on the fly.

In a paper being presented at this week’s International Conference on Robotics and Automation, MIT researchers describe an autonomous control system that “learns” the steering patterns of human drivers as they na..


This robot helps you lift objects — by looking at your biceps

We humans are very good at collaboration. For instance, when two people work together to carry a heavy object like a table or a sofa, they tend to instinctively coordinate their motions, constantly recalibrating to make sure their hands are at the same height as the other person’s. Our natural ability to make these types of adjustments allows us to collaborate on tasks big and small.

But a computer or a robot still can’t follow a human’s lead with ease. We usually either explicitly program them using machine-speak, or train them to understand our words, à la virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa.

In contrast, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) recently showed that a smoother robot-human collaboration is possible through a new system they developed, where machines help people lift objects by monitoring their muscle movements.

Dubbed RoboRaise, the system involves putting electromyography (EMG) sensors on a user’s biceps and triceps to..


MIT Policy Hackathon connects data-driven problem solvers

As the size, complexity, and interconnection of societal systems increase, these systems generate huge amounts of data that can lead to new insights. These data create an opportunity for policymakers aiming to address major societal challenges, provided they have the tools to understand the data and use them for better decision-making.

At a unique MIT event convened by MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP), a part of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), interdisciplinary teams analyzed data sets and created policy proposals to real challenges submitted by academic groups and local government. The student-run MIT Policy Hackathon gathered data analysts, engineers, scientists, domain experts, and policy specialists to look for creative, data-driven solutions addressing major societal issues.

“One of the goals of the hackathon is to show others the power of using technology and policy together to craft solutions to important societal problems,” says Becca Browder, a ..


MIT and U.S. Air Force sign agreement to launch AI Accelerator

MIT and the U.S. Air Force have signed an agreement to launch a new program designed to make fundamental advances in artificial intelligence that could improve Air Force operations while also addressing broader societal needs.

The effort, known as the MIT-Air Force AI Accelerator, will leverage the expertise and resources of MIT and the Air Force to conduct fundamental research directed at enabling rapid prototyping, scaling, and application of AI algorithms and systems. The Air Force plans to invest approximately $15 million per year as it builds upon its five-decade relationship with MIT.

The collaboration is expected to support at least 10 MIT research projects addressing challenges that are important to both the Air Force and society more broadly, such as disaster response and medical readiness.

“This collaboration is very much in line with MIT’s core value of service to the nation,” says Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research and the E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysic..


Virtual reality game simulates experiences with race

Video games that use virtual reality to create immersive experiences have become increasingly popular for entertainment and for research. However, the representation of race in these simulations is often shallow — and fails to go beyond physical appearance attributes like skin color.

For a more lived, embodied experience in the virtual world, MIT researchers have developed a new computational model that captures how individuals might have been taught to think about race in their upbringing. The new model of racial and ethnic socialization, presented at the AAAI 2019 Spring Symposium, has the potential to not only enhance video game simulations, but also to facilitate training for teachers and students who might encounter racial issues in the classroom.

“As video game developers, we have the ability within virtual worlds to challenge the biased ideologies that exist in the physical world, rather than continue replicating them,” says Danielle Olson, a PhD student in the Computer Scien..


Why is hospital security lagging behind banks?

A recent MIT study revealed that the healthcare sector “has lagged behind other industries in protecting its main stakeholder (ie, patients)”.
One healthcare security professional highlighted the gap in a comment to the researchers lamenting that “When [I was] in banking, I would have had 25 employees at an organization of this size.”
Why is hospital security lagging behind other sectors such as banking? To answer this, it’s helpful to think about the basic cybersecurity methods used by banks:
Third of US data breaches happen in hospitalsHalf of organizations lack the security talent needed to remain secureArtificial intelligence driving intelligent hospitals On-site security: Inside a bank, the public can interact with a small number of highly-specialized machines like ATMs. More generalized computers are strictly for staff only and are never left unattended or unlocked.
Online security: banking was also an early leader in online access. Banking apps and websites often require stron..


PGA Championship live stream: how to watch 2019 US PGA golf online from anywhere

Golf's second major tournament of the season is here – and if it's even halfway as extraordinary as the Masters was, we're in for a treat. The PGA Championship has been brought forward to a pre-Memorial Day weekend slot, excitement is at fever pitch, and you can get a 2019 PGA Championship live stream no matter where you are.
It's rare to enter a golf tournament with so many narratives intertwining. Tiger Woods remains the name on everybody's lips at this year's PGA Championship after last month's astonishing Masters victory. Can he continue his remarkable resurgence with a win at the Bethpage Black Course in New York? He won the US Open at this very venue back in 2002, so the omens are good for TIger.
Brooks Koepka capped an amazing 2018 with a PGA Championship win last year, while world number 1 Dustin Johnson is well overdue a major win with still only one to his name. But then the PGA Championship has been the tournament where some of recent hist..


Windows 10 cumulative update causes confusion by apparently installing itself twice

Some Windows 10 users have encountered a problem with Microsoft’s latest round of cumulative updates for the OS, specifically with KB4494441, which is an important update (more on that later) for those running the October 2018 Update.
The issue here, as highlighted by folks on Reddit, is that KB4494441 is installed, and then the update is installed again by Windows 10. Update history then indicates that there are two KB4494441 updates installed, the second of which has a number two in brackets at the end of it – KB4494441 (2).
While this doesn’t seem to make any odds and the update still works just fine, as reported by those experiencing the issue, it has unsurprisingly led to some confusion about exactly what’s going on with the double installation.

How to protect your devices against ZombieLoadHere’s how to fix any October 2018 Update problemsThis is what’s coming with the Windows 10 May 2019 Update
Microsoft hasn’t replied on Reddit or elsewhere with an official explanation that we..


Why even small businesses need big data

Throughout the past few years, one key-word took over the digital revolution that has been going on for nearly three decades. That key-word is data.
After years of focusing on processing speed and sophisticated protocols, companies realized that the most valuable asset in this digital age is actually user-generated data, and started restructuring their models accordingly to benefit from every single piece of information generated by every single user.
This strategy was first adopted by companies that are data-centered to begin with, like Google for example, but other major corporations rapidly followed suit by putting in place data-driven plans and trying to generate as much value as possible from the data at their disposal.
Why should organisations care about big data?Choosing the right data security solution for big data environmentsWhat is big data? Birth of big data The three main obstacles that prevented a data-centered ecosystem from emerging sooner were the high storage cost, ..


Valve’s Steam Link app is now on iOS, one year after Apple rejected it

Valve's Steam Link app has finally landed on the App Store, meaning iOS users can finally beam their Valve-purchased PC games to play on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV.
Steam is still the leading marketplace for video games on PC, despite some fiery competition from the Epic Games Store – and the Steam Link app allows for a more flexible gaming experience that doesn't chain you to your PC monitor.

Apple Arcade: the games subscription service for iOSEpic Games Store: a rival to Steam?Best games for iPad
While Steam Link was already available on Android, its fate on iOS was uncertain for a long time, after Apple rejected Valve's bid to join the App Store last year.
Apple cited “business conflicts” for the failed bid, likely due to Valve's plans to sell games direct through the app – something that could completely sidestep the roster of games in Apple's App Store and take a bite out of Apple's revenue.
Apple may also have been concerned about the effect o..