IBM, MIT form research lab to spur development of smarter AI

Specifically, researchers will work to develop cognitive computing systems that can overcome the technical challenges surrounding pattern recognition and predictions methods.

IBM and MIT announced a joint research partnership, with the aim of creating artificial intelligence that understands audio and visual data the way people do.

At a high level, IBM Research and MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences are forming the IBM-MIT Laboratory for Brain-inspired Multimedia Machine Comprehension's (BM3C).

There, researchers will work to develop cognitive computing systems that can overcome the technical challenges surrounding pattern recognition and predictions methods.

As IBM explains, a human can watch a short video of an event and easily describe what is happening during the video and even predict the likelihood of subsequent events. For machines, this ability is currently impossible, IBM says.

Once it is possible, however, advanced cognitive computing systems with machine vision capabilities could be used to create a detailed computer representation of the world, which IBM says could be used in applications across the healthcare, education, and entertainment industries.

"In a world where humans and machines are working together in increasingly collaborative relationships, breakthroughs in the field of machine vision will potentially help us live healthier more productive lives," said Guru Banavar, VP of cognitive computing at IBM Research. "By bringing together brain researchers and computer scientists to solve this complex technical challenge, we will advance the state-of-the-art in AI with our collaborators at MIT."

The MIT partnership is similar to others IBM has established around the area of machine learning. In a blog post, Banavar explained that the bevy of partnerships comprise the Cognitive Horizons Network, which essentially is coalition of universities working with IBM to advance cognitive computing, usually via Watson.

Banavar did make a point to say all of the cognitive computing research going on under IBM's watch is being done "responsibly". In other words, there's no need to worry about a potential AI uprising down the line. At least not yet.

"At IBM, we recognize that benefiting from cognitive computing and artificial intelligence requires trust," Banavar wrote. "We are in the process of building a system of best practices that can help guide the safe and ethical management of AI systems, including alignment with social norms and values."

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