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Some Music Theorists Are Furious About the Bach Google Doodle

Slate

Thursday's Google Doodle celebrated the 334th birthday of famed composer Johann Sebastian Bach, with a twist: It was the first Doodle to incorporate machine learning. Users could create a melody, then the Doodle would automatically generate custom harmonies to produce a full composition in Bach's style. It was delightful for many Google users, but it also stepped into a controversy that has been brewing in musical circles for years. Google says in its "Behind the Doodle" video that it chose Bach's music as the subject of the first A.I. Doodle because he had a characteristic style and composed with a set of musical rules in mind. This formulaic quality made his work an ideal subject for a machine-learning algorithm to train on.


Developing tech for, and with, people with disabilities

MIT News

Lora Brugnaro says to think of her like a Weeble toy that constantly wobbles then falls down. She has cerebral palsy, which severely impacts her balance, and for years she has used a walker to help her stay upright while moving around. Unfortunately, she has found that walkers available on the market are cheap, unstable, and prone to flipping on rough surfaces, leaving her sprawled out on the floor of an MBTA station or in the middle of the street. She had even started considering using a wheelchair to avoid such situations. "I have felt for a very long time that the daily choice I made between safety and living with the freedom to move was an unnecessary choice predicated on poor design," she says.


In the Face of Danger, We're Turning to Surveillance

WIRED

When school began in Lockport, New York, this past fall, the halls were lined not just with posters and lockers, but cameras. Over the summer, a brand new $4 million facial recognition system was installed by the school district in the town's eight schools from elementary to high school. The system scans the faces of students as they roam the halls, looking for faces that have been uploaded and flagged as dangerous. "Any way that we can improve safety and security in schools is always money well spent," David Lowry, president of the Lockport Education Association, told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. Rose Eveleth is an Ideas contributor at WIRED and the creator and host of Flash Forward, a podcast about possible (and not so possible) futures.


The power of artificial intelligence for higher education

#artificialintelligence

With any change comes the fear of the unknown, but this is especially true when it comes to artificial intelligence. Universities today have so much to gain by leveraging AI across the student lifecycle, but many are hesitant. Taking a step back, this somewhat nebulous concept of AI is already taking root in our everyday lives in so many forms. Today, you can wake up with a reminder and a playlist of your favorite motivational morning music via a voice-activated assistant, then get traffic advice on your way to work from a maps app. A quick tap on a suggestion based on previous purchases, and your favorite variety of coffee is waiting at your favorite store, already paid for in-app.


Women in Data Science conference unites global community of researchers and practitioners

MIT News

The MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS) convened professional data scientists, academic researchers, and students from a variety of disciplines for the third annual daylong Women in Data Science (WiDS) conference in Cambridge. WiDS Cambridge is one of many global satellite events of the WiDS conference at Stanford University, where attendees join a global community of data science researchers and practitioners. The conference is open to anyone interested in data science, but strives especially to create opportunities for women in the field to showcase their work and network with each other. "I think WiDS is a great opportunity to bring together women at all professional levels -- students, postdocs, faculty, and professionals in industry -- who are working in data science, building community, and learning from a wide variety of perspectives," said Stefanie Jegelka, an IDSS affiliate faculty member with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Jegelka is an MIT WiDS planning committee member who also gave a talk exploring the properties of neural networks, focusing on ResNet architecture and neural networks for graphs.


How Machine (Deep) Learning Helps Us Understand Human Learning: the Value of Big Ideas

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

I use simulation of two multilayer neural networks to gain intuition into the determinants of human learning. The first network, the teacher, is trained to achieve a high accuracy in handwritten digit recognition. The second network, the student, learns to reproduce the output of the first network. I show that learning from the teacher is more effective than learning from the data under the appropriate degree of regularization. Regularization allows the teacher to distinguish the trends and to deliver "big ideas" to the student. I also model other learning situations such as expert and novice teachers, high- and low-ability students and biased learning experience due to, e.g., poverty and trauma. The results from computer simulation accord remarkably well with finding of the modern psychological literature. The code is written in MATLAB and will be publicly available from the author's web page.


Zama school gives helping hand to foreign students struggling with Japanese life

Japan Times >> News

Sagami Koyokan High School, in the city of Zama about 40 km southwest of Tokyo, has a unique entrance exam system, provides Japanese classes of various levels, uses a system of team teaching and employs a coordinator to help students from overseas or of foreign descent enroll and better understand classes in Japanese. Foreign students or students with foreign backgrounds make up some 20 percent of a student body that totals more than 1,000. The origins and backgrounds of students at Sagami Koyokan can be traced to more than a dozen countries, including China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Peru and Brazil, and the number of those with roots in South Asian nations such as Nepal and Sri Lanka has been on the rise recently, according to deputy head Kumiko Sakakibara. "I find it easier to ask questions in this (special Japanese) class with fewer students because I feel nervous in a large classroom," said a 19-year-old Sri Lankan student named Adhil. One of his classmates, Manalo Dominic Piedad, 18, from the Philippines, said: "I came to understand more (in Japanese) compared to before. At this school, I made a lot of friends from various countries."


"One.MIT" creates a monument -- at the smallest scale

MIT News

MIT.nano is a natural convening space. The Institute's newest laboratory facility, devoted to nanoscale research, sits in the very center of campus as an open toolset available to researchers from across MIT and beyond. Its public spaces are frequently crowded with students huddling over problem sets and steady flows of visitors peeking through the building's glass walls and windows to get a glimpse of the wonders of modern science and technology in action. When the building opened last fall, its inaugural faculty director, Vladimir Bulović, decided to take this convening power a step further. "We wanted a way to celebrate all of us instead of just a few -- a monument to the MIT community made using the tools of nanoscale research."


Deep learning and the future of facial recognition - Kognitio

#artificialintelligence

Deep learning enables machines to learn and solve complex problems using algorithms inspired by the human brain without any human intervention. Deep learning algorithms need data to learn, and lots of it! But that's no problem because we generate approximately 2.6 quintillion bytes a day1. Facial recognition uses images captured of an individual's face from photos or videos. The distances between the eyes, nose, mouth and jaw are measured.


Abu Dhabi startup is using AI to transform how kids learn

#artificialintelligence

That's the new reality for many classrooms across Abu Dhabi, where a company is using artificial intelligence to create a new learning experience. Established four years ago, Alef Education has managed to get its digital education platform into dozens of schools in Abu Dhabi, as well as Al Ain, another city in the emirate. Alef has worked closely with the government of the United Arab Emirates to bring the platform to 25,000 students at 57 public schools. It is also used in two private schools in Abu Dhabi. And the startup has made its first move into the United States, where its technology is used in two private schools in New York.