On the very first day of Wolfram Camp, I called Stephen Wolfram "Steve." Katie Orenstein is a New York City-based writer, programmer, and thespian who moonlights as a high school senior. We'd come to spend two weeks on the campus of Bentley University in Waltham, MA learning Wolfram Language programming skills. After lunch, we took more coding classes, worked on individual projects, had dinner, and sat through lectures on advanced math or whatever our instructors did for their PhD dissertations.
A robot fail usually sends shockwaves throughout the internet, but a Boston Dynamics demo that went awry last month is just now getting a reaction. At the annual Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders at UMass Lowell, Boston Dynamics presented its humanoid robot, Atlas, performing cool tricks on stage. Somehow Boston Dynamics was spared the immediate online ridicule that comes with this type of thing--especially impressive considering it was in front of a huge group of high school students with their phones out. The robotics company was sold from Google to the Japanese company Softbank earlier this year, just before the robot fall.
For the past three summers, around two dozen would-be computer scientists have come to Stanford University to learn about artificial intelligence from some of the field's brightest. The attendees, culled from hundreds of applicants, take day trips to nearby tech companies, interact with social robots and hexacopters, and learn about computational linguistics (what machines do when words have multiple meanings, say) and the importance of time management (very). All the students here at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory's Outreach Summer (SAILORS) program are girls who have just completed ninth grade, and their studies focus on finding ways to improve lives, not enhance their game play: How do we use AI to keep jumbo jets from careening into one another? "Our goal was to rethink AI education in a way that encourages diversity and students from all walks of life," says Fei-Fei Li, director of Stanford's AI lab and a founder of the SAILORS program.
More random searches, a savings consultant and Dallas' worst elementary school: What's new in education L.A. Unified is pushing principals to meet district requirements for using random searches and metal detector scans to find students' weapons. L.A. Unified is pushing principals to meet district requirements for using random searches and metal detector scans to find students' weapons. A new report found that California's rural school districts don't have access to enough teacher professional development resources to ensure a smooth implementation of the Common Core. A new report found that California's rural school districts don't have access to enough teacher professional development resources to ensure a smooth implementation of the Common Core.
Some of the world's top researchers in AI have proved their mettle by taking top honors in three challenges posed by the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Charades Activity Challenge: Computer vision algorithms looked at videos of people performing everyday activities – for example, drinking coffee, putting on shoes while sitting in a chair, or snuggling with a blanked on a couch while watching something on a laptop. THOR Challenge: The teams' computer vision systems had to navigate through 30 nearly photorealistic virtual scenes of living rooms and kitchens to find a specified target object, such as a fork or an apple, based solely on visual input. Textbook Question Answering Challenge: Computer algorithms were given a data set of textual and graphic information from a middle-school science curriculum, and then were asked to answer more than 26,000 questions about the content.
The Filipino Department of Education started offering the Japanese language and culture program to high school students in 2009, together with Spanish and French, to prepare young Filipinos for both local and international opportunities that would require communicative competence in a second foreign language, after English. When the education department decided to introduce the Japanese program, it partnered with Japan Foundation Manila to train Filipino teachers, a task that proved challenging. Franza and Chee of Makati Science High School won third place, representing their school as a pair, during a Japanese quiz bee earlier this year. Agreeing that the program helps foster better relations between the Philippines and Japan, Education Secretary Briones said, "Young people connect to young people, everywhere.
As co-founder of SAILORS (Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory's Outreach Summer), America's first AI summer camp for teen girls, Olga reflects on what she refers to as a "transformative experience." According to a report by The American Association of University Women (AAUW), the number of women in the computing field plunged from 1990 when it was 35 percent to just 26 percent in 2013. "Fei-Fei has a clear mission," Olga asserts, "to change the world –and the world of AI – through research and her work on diversity. Six other alumnae have won the she #include Fellowship, which supports high school students to develop computer science outreach initiatives in the communities.
The teams that make it from regional competitions to the final international competition typically come from countries where STEM education, outreach, and resources are extremely developed. Three mentors from MIT -- materials science and engineering grad student Alexandra Churikova, civil and environmental engineering grad student Galym Saparbaiuly, and physics sophomore Tanya Llanas -- as well as a collaborator from Cornell University -- Josué San Emeterio -- joined with mentors from USaCh to guide the teams in their projects. "School teachers, graduate students, and professors are working together to offer a real science experience to high school students," Montenegro says. "In [our program], the College of Education of UC is working close-hand with the colleges of life science, physics, chemistry, and math to offer the best learning experience to our future math and science teachers.
The InvenTeam initiative, now in its 14th year, inspires youth to invent utilizing hands-on, active learning strategies. Active learning strategies in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are best practices promoted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in which students engage, think about, and solve problems. "My experience as a member of the Northeast High School Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam taught me that science can be used as a tool to solve problems and improve lives," said Kiona Elliot, 2012 InvenTeam member, 2013 White House Science Fair exhibitor of her team's invention, and a current senior at the University of Florida majoring in horticultural science. Teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors are encouraged to apply now through April 10, 2017.
But now, 46 years later, Kurzweil believes that we're approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. All that horsepower could be put in the service of emulating whatever it is our brains are doing when they create consciousness not just doing arithmetic very quickly or composing piano music but also driving cars, writing books, making ethical decisions, appreciating fancy paintings, making witty observations at cocktail parties. It would work incredibly quickly. Maybe we'll merge with them to become super-intelligent cyborgs, using computers to extend our intellectual abilities the same way that cars and planes extend our physical abilities.