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MIT


In the middle of a pandemic, it’s not surprising that there have been increasing calls to explore the possibility of conducting elections online. A growing number of tech start-ups have even advocated for using blockchain technology, which they say would boost voter turn-out and improve public trust. But in a new paper looking at a range of examples, …

Deep learning is everywhere. This branch of artificial intelligence curates your social media and serves your Google search results. Soon, deep learning could also check your vitals or set your thermostat. MIT researchers have developed a system that could bring deep learning neural networks to new — and much smaller — places, like the tiny …

Scientists often train computers to learn in the same way that young children do – by setting them loose and letting them play with themselves. Kids interact with their environments, play games on their own, and gradually get better at doing things. Many artificial intelligence (AI) systems tout their ability to “learn from scratch,” but …

One paradox about antibiotics is that, broadly speaking, the more we use them, the less they continue to work. The Darwinian process of bacteria growing resistant to antibiotics means that, when the drugs don’t work, we can no longer treat infections, leading to groups like the World Health Organization warning about our ability to control major public …

Textual analysis of social media posts finds users’ anxiety and suicide-risk levels are rising, among other negative trends. Dealing with a global pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of millions of people. A team of MIT and Harvard University researchers has shown that they can measure those effects by analyzing the language …

Asymptomatic people who are infected with Covid-19 exhibit, by definition, no discernible physical symptoms of the disease. They are thus less likely to seek out testing for the virus, and could unknowingly spread the infection to others. But it seems those who are asymptomatic may not be entirely free of changes wrought by the virus. …

The feverish race to produce the shiniest, safest, speediest self-driving car has spilled over into our wheelchairs, scooters, and even golf carts. Recently, there’s been movement from land to sea, as marine autonomy stands to change the canals of our cities, with the potential to deliver goods and services and collect waste across our waterways. …

  As Covid-19 has made it necessary for people to keep their distance from each other, robots are stepping in to fill essential roles, such as sanitizing warehouses and hospitals, ferrying test samples to laboratories, and serving as telemedicine avatars. There are signs that people may be increasingly receptive to robotic help, preferring, at least …

In a topsy-turvy world, we humans often take for granted our ability to pick up and handle objects of different weights and sizes. We’ve probably all had the experience of picking up a suitcase that we assume is quite heavy and realizing that it’s completely empty. A key reason we can pick up and manipulate …

Recent research suggests that most languages that have ever existed are no longer spoken. Dozens of these dead languages are also considered to be lost, or “undeciphered” — that is, we don’t know enough about their grammar, vocabulary, or syntax to be able to actually understand their texts. Lost languages are more than a mere academic curiosity; without …