Forging connections between human and machine intelligence research, its applications, and its bearing on society.
The MIT Quest for Intelligence (The Quest) will advance the science and engineering of both human and machine intelligence. Launched on February 1, 2018, this effort seeks to discover the foundations of human intelligence and drive the development of technological tools that can positively influence virtually every aspect of society.
The Institute’s culture of collaboration will encourage life scientists, computer scientists, social scientists, and engineers to join forces to investigate the societal implications of their work as they pursue hard problems lying beyond the current horizon of intelligence research. By uniting diverse fields and capitalizing on what they can teach each other, we seek to answer the deepest questions about intelligence.
Imagine if we really knew how the brain produces intelligent behavior — and how to replicate that intelligence in machines.
Tomaso Poggio, Nancy Kanwisher, Matt Wilson, and Bob Desimone are among the 140 researchers at MIT’s Center for Brains, Minds & Machines developing a computational understanding of human intelligence.
Imagine if AI was socially and emotionally intelligent enough to empower everyone to flourish — from individuals to societies.
Cynthia Breazeal, Sandy Pentland, Rosalind Picard, and Iyad Rahwan develop and deploy systems that respond to human emotions, enhance interpersonal dynamics and learning, promote our well-being, and support collaborative and moral decision making.
Imagine if we could build a machine that grows into intelligence the way a person does — that starts like a baby and learns like a child.
Rebecca Saxe, Laura Schulz, and Josh Tenenbaum study how human beings learn, form theories about the world, and process information. Their work could point to the next form of deep learning.
Imagine if we could prevent deaths from cancer by using deep learning for early detection and personalized treatment.
Regina Barzilay develops models that utilize diverse patient data to predict models of disease progression and support early cancer detection.
Imagine if the next breakthrough in artificial intelligence came from the root of intelligence itself: the human brain.
Edward Adelson, Bill Freeman, Josh McDermott, and Antonio Torralba are researching how to make machines see, hear, and touch to improve how artificially intelligent systems work alongside us.
Imagine if we could design and automate molecular pathways to make new pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Regina Barzilay, William Green, Tommi Jaakkola, and Klavs Jensen are developing systems to synthesize and build any molecule from common buyable compounds.
Imagine the insights and societal benefits we could derive from the aggregation of data across organizational boundaries. Now imagine we could do this respecting privacy concerns.
Andrew Lo and Vinod Vaikuntanathan are using cyber-intrusion data to benchmark risk and create a multiparty platform that collects data safely.
A message from MIT President L. Rafael Reif
We are setting out to answer two big 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?
Drawing on MIT’s deep strengths and signature values, culture, and history, the MIT Quest for Intelligence promises to make important contributions to understanding the nature of intelligence, and to harnessing it to make a better world.
This is our quest.
Sixty years ago, at MIT and elsewhere, big minds lit the fuse on a big question: What is intelligence, and how does it work? The result was an explosion of new fields — artificial intelligence, cognitive science, neuroscience, linguistics, and more. They all took off at MIT and have produced remarkable offshoots, from computational neuroscience, to neural nets, to empathetic robots.
And today, 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.
Some of these advances may be foundational in nature, involving new insight into human intelligence, and new methods to allow machines to learn effectively. Others may be practical tools for use in a wide array of research endeavors, such as disease diagnosis, drug discovery, materials and manufacturing design, automated systems, synthetic biology, and finance.
Along with developing and advancing the technologies of intelligence, our researchers will also investigate the societal and ethical implications of advanced analytical and predictive tools. There are already active projects and groups 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.
In all its activities, The Quest is intended to take advantage of — and strengthen — the Institute’s culture of collaboration. It will connect and amplify existing excellence across labs and centers already engaged in intelligence research.
Join our quest.