The Robot Launch global startup competition is over for 2017. We've seen startups from all over the world and all sorts of application areas – and we'd like to congratulate the overall winner Semio, and runners up Apellix and Mothership Aeronautics. All three startups met the judges criteria; to be an early stage platform technology in robotics or AI with great impact, large market potential and near term customer pipeline. Semio from Southern California is a software platform for developing and deploying social robot skills. Ross Mead, founder and CEO of Semio said that "he was greatly looking forward to spending more time with The Robotics Hub, and is excited about the potential for Semio moving forward."
This year, whiz kid Ke Jie, the world champion of Chinese national pastime GO, was soundly defeated by a computer powered by Artificial Intelligence. Jie described it as a "horrible experience," but it highlighted the tremendous potential AI has in fields such as gaming – and far beyond. One such field is medicine and healthcare, where we are beginning to reap the benefits of technology that has the potential to impact billions of lives around the world. Here are five health-related industries poised to be revolutionized by Artificial Intelligence in 2018. For doctors, analyzing a patient's records – many of which are still handwritten – often involves the time-consuming task of going through a lifetime's history of notes, lab results and prescriptions.
Today four MIT faculty were named among the Association for Computer Machinery's 2017 Fellows for making "landmark contributions to computing." Honorees included School of Science Dean Michael Sipser and three researchers affiliated with MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL): Shafi Goldwasser, Tomás Lozano-Pérez, and Silvio Micali. The professors were among fewer than 1 percent of Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) members to receive the distinction. Fellows are named for contributions spanning such disciplines as graphics, vision, software design, algorithms, and theory. "Shafi, Tomás, Silvio, and Michael are very esteemed colleagues and friends, and I'm so happy to see that their contributions have recognized with ACM's most prestigious member grade," said CSAIL Director Daniela Rus, who herself was named an ACM Fellow in 2014.
Each year the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) honors members who have achieved "extraordinary accomplishments" in their research fields by naming them IEEE Fellows. The recently announced list of 2018 IEEE Fellows includes MIT affiliates from the Department of Mathematics, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Alan Edelman, an applied mathematics professor in the Department of Mathematics, was honored for his "contributions to the development of technical-computing languages," namely the Julia language for numerical and scientific computing. He was a member of the MIT faculty from 1993-1998, as an assistant then associate professor, and returned in 2002 as full professor. He is in the Applied Computing Group and Julia Lab Leader at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
And maybe the rest of the world did, too. A little more than a year after AlphaGo sensationally won against the top Go player, the artificial-intelligence program AlphaZero has obliterated the highest-rated chess engine. Stockfish, which for most top players is their go-to preparation tool, and which won the 2016 TCEC Championship and the 2017 Chess.com Computer Chess Championship, didn't stand a chance. AlphaZero won the closed-door, 100-game match with 28 wins, 72 draws, and zero losses.
Was this the week that the space age vision of a car that drives itself became a reality? And are claims that artificial intelligence can transform healthcare a bit overhyped? On this week's Tech Tent podcast we explore the potential and limits of technology in health and transport. This week we woke up to the fact that autonomous cars could be with us sooner than we thought. That was the message from John Krafcik, chief executive of Waymo, the self-driving car division of Google - or Alphabet as we must learn to call it.
It is fall in Heidelberg and the leaves on the trees are already turning. This is the fifth year of the Heidelberg Laureate Forum (http://www.heidelberg-laureate-forum.org/) and it continues to be a highlight of the year for me and for about 250 others who participate. This year, computer science was heavily represented. There were fewer mathematicians, but they made up for smaller numbers by their extraordinary qualifications. A new cohort of laureates was added this year: recipients of the ACM Prize for Computing.a
Stefanie Jegelka, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, won a DARPA Young Faculty Award. Hal Abelson and the MIT App Inventor Group, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, won the Mass Technology Council Distinguished Leadership Award. Daniela Rus, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and head of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, won the Joseph F Engelberger Robotics Award for Education. Xuanhe Zhao, departments of Mechanical Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering won the Young Investigator Medal from the Society of Engineering Science.
We hear a lot about the under-representation of women in so-called STEM fields - science, technology, engineering and maths. But the proportion of women in economics is by some measures smaller. In the US, only about 13% of women hold permanent academic positions in economics; and in the UK the proportion is only slightly better at 15.5%. Only one woman has ever won the Nobel Prize in economics - American Elinor Ostrom in 2009. And there wasn't even a single woman on some of the lists floating about guessing who this year's prize winner would be - it went to the behavioural economist Richard Thaler.
In science news around the world, a deadly plague epidemic spreads through Madagascar, Japan's economy ministry announces a successful first test of seafloor mining for metallic ore deposits near hydrothermal vents, the World Health Organization releases a new strategy for fighting cholera, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moves to roll back limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Also, economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago in Illinois wins the Nobel economics prize for his study of irrational human economic behavior, scientists discover evidence of rice domestication in South America, and a Carnegie Mellon University roboticist describes how his robotic snakes combed through rubble of the 19 September earthquake in Mexico.