Institute launches the MIT Intelligence Quest
MIT announced the launch of the MIT Intelligence Quest, an initiative to discover the foundations of human intelligence and drive the development of technological tools that can positively influence virtually every aspect of society.
“Today we set out to answer two big questions," said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “How does human intelligence work, in engineering terms? And how can we use that deep grasp of human intelligence to build wiser and more useful machines, to the benefit of society?”
MIT will conduct the work through two linked entities within MIT IQ. One of them, “The Core,” plans to advance the science and engineering of both human and machine intelligence. A key output of this work will be machine-learning algorithms. At the same time, MIT IQ seeks to advance understanding of human intelligence by using insights from computer science.
The second entity, “The Bridge,” will be dedicated to the application of MIT discoveries in natural and artificial intelligence to all disciplines. It will host tools from industry and research labs worldwide. The Bridge will provide a variety of assets to the MIT community, including intelligence technologies, platforms, and infrastructure; education for students, faculty, and staff about AI tools; rich and unique data sets; technical support; and specialized hardware.
Along with developing and advancing the technologies of intelligence, MIT IQ says its researchers will also investigate the societal and ethical implications of advanced analytical and predictive tools. Active projects and groups are already underway at the Institute investigating autonomous systems, media and information quality, labor markets and the work of the future, innovation and the digital economy, and the role of AI in the legal system.
“Our quest is meant to power world-changing possibilities,” said Anantha Chandrakasan, Dean of the MIT School of Engineering and Vannevar Bush, Professor of electrical engineering and computer science.
“We imagine preventing deaths from cancer by using deep learning for early detection and personalized treatment,” Chandrakasan continued. “We imagine artificial intelligence in sync with, complementing, and assisting our own intelligence. And we imagine every scientist and engineer having access to human-intelligence-inspired algorithms that open new avenues of discovery in their fields. Researchers across our campus want to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”
The institute will raise financial support through corporate sponsorship and philanthropic giving. MIT IQ will build on the model that was established with the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab, which was announced in September 2017. MIT researchers will reportedly collaborate with each other and with industry on challenges that range in scale from the very broad to the very specific.
MIT will seek to establish additional entities within MIT IQ, in partnership with corporate and philanthropic organizations.
Faculty from across the institute will participate in the initiative, including researchers in the Media Lab, the Operations Research Center, the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, the Sloan School of Management, the School of Architecture and Planning, and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
“To revolutionize the field of artificial intelligence, we should continue to look to the roots of intelligence: the brain,” said James DiCarlo, department head and Peter de Florez Professor of neuroscience in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. “By working with engineers and artificial intelligence researchers, human intelligence researchers can build models of the brain systems that produce intelligent behavior. The time is now, as model building at the scale of those brain systems is now possible. Discovering how the brain works in the language of engineers will not only lead to transformative AI—it will also illuminate entirely new ways to repair, educate, and augment our own minds.”
MIT IQ says it will provide a platform for long-term research, encouraging the foundational advances of the future. At the same time, MIT adds that its professors and researchers may develop technologies with near-term value, leading to new kinds of collaborations with existing companies—and also to new companies.