Mayflower Autonomous Ship Launches

PLYMOUTH, England, Sept. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ocean research non-profit ProMare and IBM (NYSE:IBM) have announced the completion and launch of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) – an AI and solar powered marine research vessel which will traverse oceans gathering vital environmental data.

Following two years of design, construction and training of its AI models, the new fully-autonomous trimaran was today lifted into the waters off the coast of Plymouth, England ahead of its official launch tomorrow.

Designed to provide a safe, flexible and cost-effective way of gathering data about the ocean, the new-generation Mayflower promises to transform oceanography by working in tandem with scientists and other autonomous vessels to help understand critical issues such as global warming, micro-plastic pollution and marine mammal conservation. ProMare is co-ordinating the scientific studies working with IBM Research and a number of leading scientific organizations.

MAS features an AI Captain built by ProMare and IBM developers which gives MAS the ability to sense, think and make decisions at sea with no human captain or onboard crew. The new class of marine AI is underpinned by IBM’s latest advanced edge computing systems, automation software, computer vision technology and Red Hat Open Source software.

„Able to scan the horizon for possible hazards, make informed decisions and change its course based on a fusion of live data, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship has more in common with a modern bank than its 17th century namesake,“ said Andy Stanford-Clark, Chief Technology Officer, IBM UK & Ireland. „With its ability to keep running in the face of the most challenging conditions, this small ship is a microcosm for every aspiring 21st century business.“

To enable followers around the world to stay updated with MAS as it undertakes its various missions, IBM and ProMare have today launched a new interactive web portal. Built by IBM iX, the business design arm of IBM Services, the MAS400 portal is designed to provide real-time updates about the ship’s location, environmental conditions and data from its various research projects. Live weather data will be streamed from The Weather Company, as MAS is receiving forecast data and insight from the new IBM Weather Operations Center.

The portal even features a seven-armed, stowaway octopus chatbot called Artie, who claims to be hitching a ride on the ship. Powered by IBM Watson Assistant technology and created in partnership with European start-up Chatbotbay, Artie has been trained to provide information about MAS and its adventures in a lively, and accessible format.

„MAS400.com is one of the most advanced ocean mission web portals ever built,“ says Fredrik Soreide, Scientific Director of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project and Board Member of ProMare. „Protecting the ocean depends on our ability to engage the public in important matters affecting its health. This MAS400 portal is designed to do exactly that and tell people where the ship is, what speed it’s travelling at, what conditions it’s operating in and what science we are conducting. Users can even help Artie the Octopus fish out surgical masks, cigarette butts and other increasingly common forms of ocean litter from a virtual ocean of facts and data.“

MAS will spend the next six months in sea trials and undertake various research missions and voyages before attempting to cross the Atlantic in Spring 2021. MAS’s transatlantic voyage will be based on a similar route and pioneering spirit to the 1620 Mayflower which made the same crossing 400 years ago.

MAS Facts:

Name: Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS)
Organizations and
companies behind it:   
ProMare, IBM and a global consortium of partners 
Mission:MAS and other autonomous ships and drones working in tandem with human scientists to collect vital oceanographic data
Humans on board:0
Autonomy level5 (can operate independently with no human intervention)
Sensors on board:30+
AI Cameras on board:   6
Octopuses on board:1
Science projects:Marine mammals, micro plastics, sea level height & wave patterns, oceanographic and environmental data collection
Length:15M
Width:6.2M
Max speed:10 knots
Weight:5 tons/4535KG
Equipment capacity:    0.7 tons/700KG
Hull design:Trimaran (central hull with two outrigger wings)
Power:Solar-driven hybrid electric motor
Software:IBM Visual Insights computer vision technology, IBM edge systems, IBM Operational Decision Manager automation software, IBM Maximo asset management software, data from The Weather Company        
Hardware:IBM Power Systems AC922, 6 Jetson AGX Xavier, 2 Jetson Xavier NX, 4+ Intel-based computers, 4+ custom microprocessor systems
Navigation equipment:Precision GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System), IMU (Inertial Measurement Units), radar, weather station, SATCOM, AIS
Live mission portal:https://mas400.com
More information:https://newsroom.ibm.com/then-and-now
B-roll:  https://newsroom.ibm.com/mayflower-b-roll
Images:https://newsroom.ibm.com/mayflower-images

Bloomberg Media and Intelligence Squared U.S. present a new limited debate series “That’s Debatable” hosted by Award-Winning Journalist and Moderator John Donvan and featuring AI from IBM Watson

The one-hour program will premiere on Bloomberg Television on Friday, October 9 at 7:00 PMAudiences can join the conversation now by submitting their arguments at IBM.com/debatable on the first debate topic: “It’s Time to Redistribute the Wealth”

NEW YORK September 3, 2020 — Bloomberg Media today announced a new interactive debate series titled “That’s Debatable,” to debut on Bloomberg Television Friday, October 9 at 7:00PM ET. Presented in partnership with Intelligence Squared U.S. and hosted by four-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, broadcaster and Intelligence Squared’s longtime debate moderator John Donvan, the program will feature industry leaders, economists, policy makers and public intellectuals debating some of today’s most pressing issues. “That’s Debatable” is sponsored exclusively by IBM.

Filmed in front of a live virtual audience, “That’s Debatable” will be conducted in the traditional Oxford-style format with two teams of two subject matter experts debating over four rounds. The live audience will select a winner via mobile, to be announced at the conclusion of the program.

The show will also demonstrate how AI can be used to bring a larger, more diverse range of voices and opinions to the public square and can help uncover new perspectives to enhance the debaters’ arguments. The general public is invited to submit a short argument for or against each episode’s position statement. During the debate, IBM Watson plans to use Key Point Analysis, a new capability in Natural Language Processing (NLP) developed by the same IBM Research team that created Project Debater, which is designed to analyze viewer submitted arguments and provide insight into the global public opinion on each episode’s debate topic.

“Bloomberg Media’s global audience regularly turns to Bloomberg Television as a critical source of news and information,” said Al Mayers, Global Head of Bloomberg Television and Radio. “By partnering with Intelligence Squared for ‘That’s Debatable,’ we will provide viewers with thoughtful discourse and insights into some of the most important subjects currently at the forefront of national and global conversation.”

“Globally, we are facing unprecedented and complex challenges,” said Intelligence Squared U.S. CEO Clea Conner. “In this era of seemingly endless soundbites and social media echo chambers, it is harder than ever before to truly engage with the other side of an issue. At this historic moment, we are calling for a return to civilized and substantive debate to help us navigate a rapidly changing world. Together with Bloomberg TV, and our exclusive sponsor IBM, ‘That’s Debatable’ will explore multiple viewpoints of the most important topics of our time — and give a voice to a global audience with Watson’s advanced AI analysis.”

The debut episode’s debate topic is: “It’s Time to Redistribute the Wealth.” As nations around the world face a reckoning on race and social justice and work to combat the economic impacts of the pandemic, “That’s Debatable” will take a hard look at the hotly contested question with leading experts on both sides of the argument.

Audiences can join in the discussion by submitting a short argument for or against the motion: „It’s time to redistribute the wealth“ starting today through September 14 at www.ibm.com/debatable. Then tune into “That’s Debatable” on October 9 to see a debate fueled in part by your submission.

„Our ambition for ‘That’s Debatable’ is simple — to showcase one of the many ways AI can be used for good by helping people understand nuanced viewpoints, discover and surface critical insights, and inform high stakes decision making,” said Daniel Hernandez, General Manager, IBM Data and AI. “What we learned from over 30,000 Watson client engagements inspired IBM Research to create cutting-edge innovation in language, automation and building trust, which will be demonstrated in the series and made available in Watson for all businesses to use.”

About Bloomberg Media:

Bloomberg Media is a leading, global, multi-platform brand that provides decision-makers with timely news, analysis and intelligence on business, finance, technology, climate change, politics and more. Powered by a newsroom of over 2,700 journalists and analysts, it reaches influential audiences worldwide across every platform including digital, social, TV, radio, print and live events. Bloomberg Media is a division of Bloomberg LP. Visit BloombergMedia.com for more information.

About Intelligence Squared U.S.:

A non-partisan, non-profit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded to address a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics. Their mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse. The award-winning debate series reaches millions of viewers and listeners through multi-platform distribution, including public radio, podcasts, live streaming, newsletters, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps including Roku and Apple TV. With over 180 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to „think twice“ on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008.

About IBM Watson:

Watson is IBM’s AI technology for business, helping organizations to better predict and shape future outcomes, automate complex processes, and optimize employees’ time. Watson has evolved from an IBM Research project, to experimentation, to a scaled set of products that run anywhere. With more than 30,000 customers, Watson is being applied by leading global brands across a variety of industries to transform how people work. To learn more, visit: https://www.ibm.com/watson.

To learn more about Natural Language Processing and how new capabilities like Key Point Analysis are designed to analyze and generate insights from thousands of arguments on any topic, visit: https://www.ibm.com/watson/natural-language-processing.