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MIT IQ Initiative Is Taking A Different Approach To AI Research

“By tapping the united strength of these and other interlocking fields and capitalizing on what they can teach each other, we seek to answer the deepest questions about intelligence — and to deliver transformative new gifts for humankind.” — Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology


The current socio-economic and political global climate is cause for concern. Global instability from rising nuclear tensions, political uncertainty and the devastating effects of climate change has resulted in the Doomsday Clock moving closer to midnight.  


However, all this doom and gloom is proving a catalyst for a shift in the way in which bright minds in AI want to use this technology. It’s a pivotal time for those involved in Artificial Intelligence, as many within the community are looking at how it can improve the state of the world we live in. A new approach to AI research by MIT IQ is the latest initiative to want to tackle some of these concerns.

MIT announced last week* that they’re launching the MIT Intelligence Quest, (MIT IQ), “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.”


With a different approach to the better understanding of human intelligence, they hope to further develop intelligent machines and strengthen collaboration amongst the scientific community. Whilst there are many initiatives actively researching Artificial Intelligence applications for the good of society, MIT aims to take a different approach to the very foundations of the field.

MIT’s news office has stated that they are setting out to answer two questions, “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?” Two questions that they aim to research through two teams – “The Core”, focusing on machine learning algorithms and using computer science to gain insights of human and machine intelligence; and “The Bridge”, who will be focused on applying this work to disciplines like medical diagnosis, automation, biology, finance, drug discovery and manufacturing, as well as other initiatives in research and education. 

The foundations of AI date back to the 1950’s and MIT believe that this is something we need to revisit and take a new approach. By reverse engineering human intelligence; they aim to relearn and reinvestigate the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence and human intelligence in order to develop new algorithms from these new approaches.  

On top of this, they aim to cover ethical implications of AI on our society. We’re seeing a much-needed shift in the relationship between education and industry, with many organisations using resources to delve into how we can use this technology for good. MIT IQ aims to bring together and forge a ‘culture of collaboration’ between engineers, computer and social scientists, researchers in order to learn from one another. Through this, they hope to answer some of the most burning questions that will help to drive the development of AI.