Mind Matters Where Natural and Artificial Intelligence Meet

Monthly Archive July 2018

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How to hack your unconscious mind

Assuming it exists
Those who tell us that we can learn to use our unconscious mind and those who tell us that it doesn’t exist both claim to speak for science. But this is no ordinary dispute. An ordinary dispute might be something like What killed the dinosaurs? Imagine instead a dispute between scientists who do and scientists who do not believe that dinosaurs have ever existed. Read More ›
Collection CT scan of brain and multiple disease

Better medicine through machine learning?

Data can be a dump or a gold mine
The biggest problem today isn’t the sheer mass of data so much as the difficulty of determining what it is worth. The answer lies, unfortunately, in the undone studies and the unreported events. Machine learning will be a much greater help when those problems are addressed. Read More ›
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AI has a wonderful plan for your life

Tech-savvy religion scholars play with reshaping society
The team is pessimistic about getting politicians on side and hopes to persuade policy analysts to convince the politicians to adopt the policies their model suggests instead. Wildman predicts, “We’re going to get them in the end.” Read More ›
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AI Is Not (Yet) an Intelligent Cause

So-called “white hat” hackers who test the security of AI have found it surprisingly easy to fool.
Hutson describes one test last year where a computer scientist at UC Berkeley subtly altered a stop sign with stickers. It fooled an autonomous vehicle’s image recognition system into “thinking” it was a 45 mph speed limit sign. Humans could immediately recognize the stop sign, but the car did not. Autonomous car makers wonder, could hackers turn them into terror weapons? Read More ›
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The driverless car: A bubble soon to burst?

Author says journalists too gullible about high tech
Why do we constantly hear that driverless, autonomous vehicles will soon be sharing the road with us? Wolmar blames “gullible journalists who fail to look beyond the extravagant claims of the press releases pouring out of tech companies and auto manufacturers, hailing the imminence of major developments that never seem to materialise.” Read More ›
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Virtual Railroads and West Virginia Back Roads

AI’s Temptation to Theft Over Honest Toil
Just as a train on a rail requires minimal, or indeed no, human intervention, so cars driving on virtual railroads might readily dispense with the human element. Read More ›
Little girl undergoing electroencephalography procedure

Attend your own funeral!

It’s easy if you upload your consciousness to the cloud, says futurist
Presumably, in Ian Pearson's future, the rich can attend their own funerals and alternate world funerals an indefinite number of times, each one numbering as many different people as he wants. Read More ›
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Can free will even be an illusion?

Michael Egnor reiterates the freeing implications of quantum indeterminacy

Many say so. For example, at Cosmos, senior artificial intelligence research scientist Alfredo Metere explains, … there is a causal relationship between the Big Bang and us. In other words, free will is not allowed, and all of our actions are just a mere consequence of that first event. Such a view is known as “determinism”, or “super-determinism” (if one finds it productive to reinvent the wheel). He asserts that today we know the universe to be chaotic. Because the cosmos is clearly chaotic, we can observe time-reversibility only locally, rather than globally. This in turn means that free will is an inevitable illusion for us humans, due to our subjective perception of the universe, rather than its innermost nature. Read More ›

Phrenology Head Busts

Big Question: Can Big Data read the minds of others?

And should Facebook scan your posts for suicidal thoughts? (It does.)

 Neurologist Robert Burton reflects at Aeon on the fact that mind reading does not really work. Most fashionable theories of mind, like the mirror neuron theory, have not really been much use: This is not to say that we have no idea of what goes on in another’s mind. The brain is a superb pattern-recogniser; we routinely correctly anticipate that others will feel grief at a funeral, joy at a child’s first birthday party, and anger when cut off on the freeway. We are right often enough to trust our belief that others generally will feel as we do. More. True, but the problem isn’t with recognizing what most people probably think; it’s with recognizing unusual but important patterns. How Read More ›

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Robot priests: And you thought “robotic religion” was just a pointed criticism… ?

You know, rote prayers, mindless gestures… Is that the way of the future for some?

Reuters announced last year that in Japan, a robot can be hired to perform Buddhist funeral rites: A Japanese company has introduced a new role for SoftBank’s humanoid robot “Pepper” – a Buddhist priest for hire at funerals. … With Japan’s population ageing and shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, prompting some to find part-time work outside their temple duties, said Michio Inamura, Nissei’s executive adviser. The funeral robot could step in when a priest was not available, he said. It also cost less at 50,000 yen (about $450) per funeral compared to more than 240,000 yen ($2,200) for a human priest. More.   As of August 2017, the robot priest had not yet been Read More ›

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Can we cheat death by uploading ourselves as virtual AI entities?

Transhumanism is a curious blip in a science and technology culture in which it is otherwise axiomatic that humans are merely evolved animals

Cheating death is a serious goal of some transhumanists. Futurist Ray Kurzweil (now a Google innovator) calls such a digital fate the Singularity, as in his book, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology. Published in 2006, it is still in the top ten in artificial intelligence and biotechnology. In 2017, he announced, 2029 is the consistent date I have predicted for when an AI will pass a valid Turing test and therefore achieve human levels of intelligence. I have set the date 2045 for the ‘Singularity’ which is when we will multiply our effective intelligence a billion fold by merging with the intelligence we have created. It sounds rather like avoiding death by becoming something that isn’t actually alive. Read More ›

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GIGO alert: AI can be racist and sexist, researchers complain

Can the bias problem be addressed? Yes, but usually after someone gets upset about a specific instance.

From James Zou and Londa Ziebinger at Nature: When Google Translate converts news articles written in Spanish into English, phrases referring to women often become ‘he said’ or ‘he wrote’. Software designed to warn people using Nikon cameras when the person they are photographing seems to be blinking tends to interpret Asians as always blinking. Word embedding, a popular algorithm used to process and analyse large amounts of natural-language data, characterizes European American names as pleasant and African American ones as unpleasant. Now where, we wonder, would a mathematical formula have learned that? Maybe it was listening to the wrong instructions back when it was just a tiny bit? Seriously, machine learning, we are told, depends on  absorbing datasets of Read More ›

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Jay Richards asks, can training for an AI future be trusted to bureaucrats?

We hear so much about how the AI revolution gobbles industrial era jobs that we don't notice the digital era jobs unfilled.

On Tuesday, entrepreneur Ivanka Trump told Wall Street Journal readers, The assembly line, energy plant and retail store have changed dramatically in the past 25 years—and the jobs have, too. Nearly 1 in 5 working Americans has a job that didn’t exist in 1980, many in technology, the fastest-growing segment across all industries. Such rapid change is one reason 6.6 million U.S. jobs are currently unfilled. More. Currently unfilled? We hear so much about how the AI revolution is gobbling industrial era jobs that the shortage of people trained for digital era jobs takes a while to register. Trump goes on to discuss new legislation to address the shortage by providing more relevant education to future jobseekers (paywall). Meanwhile, from the Read More ›

Artificial intelligence and mind backdrop

Reconciling mind with materialism, twenty-five years on

Jerry Fodor posits that the reason "we're all materialists" is the alternatives seem even worse
Thinking of philosophical materialism as a science must have seemed like a step forward at the time. Over twenty-five years later, there have been dozens of theories of consciousness jostling for the podium, most of them “worse than wrong,” even in the eyes of a sympathetic observer (2016). Not only has the materialist approach failed but in recent years, its failure has brought serious intellectual figures round to such views as consciousness is an illusion or that everything is conscious. Read More ›
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No Thanks, Google, I’ve Got This!

Hey Google, can you say a prayer for me? Hey Google, can you go to work for me today? I’m not in the mood. Hey Google, tuck my kids into bed. What if in the near future we are encouraged to leave these sorts of tasks to a Big Tech company? Far-fetched? Maybe right now. But what about ten years from now? Read More ›
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How Humans Can Thrive in a World of Increasing Automation

Remarks on the purpose and goals of the Walter Bradley Center at its launch

At the official launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, July 11, 2018, design theorist design theorist William Dembski offered three key thoughts on the center’s purpose and goals—and how its work may be evaluated. Dr. Dembski was unable to attend*, so his remarks were read by the Center’s director Robert J. Marks: Good evening. Thank you for attending this launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. In my talk tonight, I’m going to address three points: (1) the importance of its work, (2) its likely impact, and (3) why it is appropriately named after Walter Bradley. First, however, I want to thank friends and colleagues of Seattle’s Discovery Institute for their Read More ›

Dr. Michael Egnor, M.D.

Neurosurgeon outlines why machines can’t think

The hallmark of human thought is meaning, and the hallmark of computation is indifference to meaning.
A cornerstone of the development of artificial intelligence is the pervasive assumption that machines can, or will, think. Watson, a question-answering computer, beats the best Jeopardy players, and anyone who plays chess has had the humiliation of being beaten by a chess engine. Does this mean that computers can think as well as (or better than) humans think? Read More ›
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AI machines taking over the world?

It’s a cool apocalypse but does that make it more likely?
Doomsday thinking is easily mocked. The character marching  hairy and barefoot under his “End Is Near” sign, is a staple of cartoons in middlebrow mags. Yet when media magnets market doomsday scenarios—like the late Stephen Hawking (“worst event in the history of our civilization”) and Elon Musk (“an immortal dictator from which we would never escape”) — it’s a Cool apocalypse. Read More ›
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AI can mean ultimate Big Surveillance

That’s what we should really worry about
The celebrity worry about superintelligent AI taking over and getting rid of us humans distracts our attention from a real-world fact: Artificial intelligence (AI) maximizes the opportunities while crashing the costs of corporate and government surveillance. Both have grown massively in recent years, with predictable results. The surveillants don’t by any means want to get rid of us. They want to take over and run our lives, ostensibly for our own good but certainly for theirs. Read More ›
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Self-driving cars hit an unnoticed pothole

Brandom at The Verge fears that self-driving cars might be hitting an “AI roadblock.” On its face, full autonomy seems closer than ever. Waymo is already testing cars on limited-but-public roads in Arizona. Tesla and a host of other imitators already sell a limited form of Autopilot, counting on drivers to intervene if anything unexpected happens. There have been a few crashes, some deadly, but as long as the systems keep improving, the logic goes, we can’t be that far from not having to intervene at all. “Not having to intervene at all”? One is reminded of the fellow in C. S. Lewis’s anecdote who, when he heard that a more modern stove would cut his fuel bill in half, Read More ›