IBM and MIT are teaming up to support the development of machine vision using insights from brain and cognitive research.

According to today’s release, the multi-year partnership will see IBM Research collaborate with MIT’s Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences (BCS) to explore and develop aspects of machine understanding to better deal with audio-visual inputs.

The new lab for Brain-inspired Multimedia Machine Comprehension (BM3C) will aim to build cognitive computing systems which can mirror the human ability to understand inputs from a variety of visual and audio sources.

BM3C will look to find answers to numerous technical challenges around pattern recognition and prediction in machine vision, which are currently impossible tasks for machines to complete alone. The statement proposes an example in which a human watches a short video of a real-world event and can easily produce a description of the clip, as well as assess the likelihood of subsequent events – all of which are impossible for a machine to accomplish.

Starting out this month, BM3C will bring together leading brain, cognitive and computer researchers to conduct further study into unsupervised machine understanding of audio-visual data streams. The goal is that the cross-discipline approach will lead to advances in machine vision, for use across a range of industries including healthcare, education, and entertainment.

‘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,’ commented Guru Banavar, VP 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 BM3C project will be headed up by Professor James DiCarlo, who leads MIT’s BCS department. DiCarlo will be supported by a team of faculty members, researchers, and graduate students from both the BCS department and the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). These academics will work alongside IBM scientists and engineers, and the IBM Watson platform.

DiCarlo noted that the key to the future success of cognitive computing systems is continued research, such as the IBM-MIT initiative, into machine learning and reasoning, machine vision, decision techniques, data assurance and trust, and infrastructure efficiencies.