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Conference Details - Agenda

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2015 MIT Europe Conference in Vienna

Minds, Machines, and Management
March 25-26, 2015
Day 01 Day 02 | All




Freud 2.0: Selves-Improvement In An Era of Networked Intelligences

Ego. Id. Superego. Freud’s Vienna pioneered innovative and controversial concepts of the self. Ongoing revolution in digital media, social networks and machine learning are similarly leading to innovative and controversial transformation of ‘selbstkonzept.’ This transformation, however, will be less about therapeutic intervention than economic affect and effectiveness. Michael Schrage will describe a future of ‘multiple selves’ that will likely reshape the meaning of creativity, productivity and innovation global markets. Freud would have enjoyed it.
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Artificial Intelligence: Mind - your own Business

Sigmund Freud is not the only famous psychiatrist from Austria, among others are Viktor Frankl and Alfred Adler. Though Adler coined the term "Inferiority Complex", Austrians have no reason to feel inferior.

Austrians seem to have an inclination for the "psyche" and for music. Among the research that has been undertaken at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI.at) are playing classical piano music expressively through AI programs, visually representing different styles of famous pianists, investigating and modeling the coordination of musicians when playing in unison, finding the most similar sounding musical pieces to a given musical composition, even a contemporary one, and that in millions of pieces, in really big data, in milliseconds. A method, applicable to many other domains. And finding out why some pieces have an extreme high mathematical similarity to most of the others though this is obviously not the case ("hubness") and the generalization to similar problems in other areas than music.

The "psyche" or, simpler, personalities, both with their rational and emotional aspects, are another hot topic of research and application in Austria. Results were published as books already in 1997 in "Creating Personalities for Synthetic Actors" and in 2003 "Emotions in Humans and Artifacts", the latter book published by a well-known publisher in the USA, MIT Press. Is it possible to influence the mood of a visitor of a virtual bartender, i.e. an AI system? Yes, it is, and in both directions, positive or negative. A result important for affect mining and influencing. Another project, interacting with synthetic personalities in serious games for training in emergency handling.

Robots are expected to help elder persons or persons with special needs to lead a self-determined life, as companions. Psychologists are currently pondering about the personality traits needed. But don't we have a rich source of successful companionships in literature, dramas, operas, films, compiled, at least partially in thousands of years? Character Mining and Generation (CHARMinG) is a large project we will start this spring. Complex situations request ethical decision-making, both for robot companions and, not yet well-known, for self-driving cars. The book "A Construction Manual for Robots' Ethical Systems"; will contain the results of our research and those of several colleagues in other countries, to be published this spring.

Thus, our work is in the range from theoretical research to near-product development. Many enterprises are partners in our, up to now 32 EU-projects, among them Ferrari, mentioned today in another talk. Unfortunately, for many company projects, from Austria to China, NDAs had to be signed. But some of our partners do not hide our contribution, e.g. Austrian Tourist Consultants, Frequentis, derStandard, SwissPerform, MediaControl, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra or Denmark's Bang & Olufsen (B&O) which advertises our cooperation regarding their Beosound 5.

Even considering the enormous progress of AI, "mind" is still your business. But if you mind your business, consider AI.

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Networking Break


Embedded and Proxy Selves: Who Controls My Many "Mes"?

Our lives are increasingly becoming digitally encapsulated and expressed. Our most personal acts are observed, recorded, and analyzed from outer space and inferred from sensors in our homes, workplaces, and public places. High-resolution digital facsimiles of our consumer selves have become the grand prize of every marketer and social media site; absolute identification and prediction of criminal intent is now the sacred duty of law enforcement.

Digital Familiars, born out of machine learning and big data, predicting our tastes, moves, purchases, health, and intentions are becoming proxies for our physical selves. Nothing is off the table and no one is exempt. Such digital familiars can have standing as “legal persons,” as autonomous proxies of our agency, personhood, and intentionality. Will they have inalienable rights and duties? Where do their digital identities and our “true identities” begin and end?

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Living with the Drone Revolution

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology has advanced markedly in recent years, and there is now tremendous interest around the world in civilian and commercial applications of autonomous UAVs, such as precision agriculture, infrastructure inspection and urban package delivery. There are also substantial technical challenges that need to be addressed in order to scale up the state of the art to provide real commercial services. Professor Roy will discuss the civilian and commercial opportunities, the technical challenges, and what the path forward might look like, to make UAVs part of everyday life.
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Outpacing Evolution: MIT Cheetah Robot

A 70-pound “cheetah” robot designed by MIT researchers may soon outpace its animal counterparts in running efficiency: The robot can run on batteries at speeds of more than 13 mph, jump about 16 inches high, land safely and continue galloping for at least 60 minutes - all while using less power than a microwave oven. Insights gleaned from the design of the “cheetah” could have real-world applications, including designing revolutionary prosthetics, wearable technologies, all-terrain wheelchairs, vehicles that can travel efficiently in rough terrain—and ultimately in saving lives.
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When Machines Stop Calculating and Start Thinking

We would like to build computing machines that can interpret and learn from their sensory experience, act effectively in real time, and — ultimately — design and program themselves. We would like to use these machines as models to help us understand our own minds and brains. We would also like to use computers to build and evaluate models of the world that can help us interpret our data and make more rational decisions. Our current computing machines, built for calculation, are not up to these tasks. Vikash Mansinghka will introduce probabilistic computing, a new approach based on probability and randomness instead of step-by-step logic and determinism. He will show how it brings us closer to a world where machines stop calculating and start thinking.
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Networking Break


The Evolution and Trends of Human and Robotic Interaction in Production Industries

The idea of creating autonomous machines dates back to ancient times. With the growth of industrialization in the 19th century – generally referred to as the Industrial Revolution – the course for universal industrial automation was set. The development of industrial robotics as understood today began in 1954 with George Devol's patent application for Programmed Article Transfer, which introduced the concept of "Universal Automation", or "Unimation". Since then, development in the area of robotics has skyrocketed.

Unlike past systems involving isolated robotic components that had to be connected to automation systems via cumbersome interfaces with limited functionality, today’s state-of-the-art automation solutions offer robotics that are fully integrated in a machine or plant automation system. Modern safety solutions even allow humans and robots to work hand in hand without physical safety barriers.

Due to the wide range of possible applications, robots are now used in almost all industrial sectors. They are the perfect tool for fulfilling the requirements of one-off production batches – a major topic of Industry 4.0.

The industrial automation experts at Austria-based B&R are addressing all of these challenges in addition to continuously introducing innovations in industrial automation. This presentation by Dr. Gernot Bachler and Peter Gucher provides an overview of robotic technology as it is used in industrial automation.

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The Future of Food? Edible-Bytes

Computational technology has disrupted nearly every aspect of human existence...and food is next. Agriculture, one of humanity's oldest and most profitable activities, with a fifteen trillion dollar global market and over 10,000 years of history, has gone through three society-altering revolutions. First, the domestication of plants—ending the hunter/gatherer era and ushering in the first human settlements (8000 BC). Second, the horse and plow—enabling the rise of technologically based societies (600 AD). Third, the vertical integration of farming brought on by mechanization, chemical fertilization, and genetics—generating rural labor surpluses that have created urbanization on an unprecedented scale and given rise to the contemporary global food system. What's next? With increasing resource scarcity, flattening yields, changing climates, and growing populations our current food system is showing signs of wearing out. How will we feed an additional two billion people with seventy-five percent living in cities in the next thirty years? There appears to be just one way: Computationally-Based Food.
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Evening Reception and Dinner at Palais Ferstel

Complimentary Shuttle service provided.