Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive August 2018

Cropped shot of call center operator in headset working and talking with client

Why machines can’t think as we do

As philosopher Michael Polanyi noted, much that we know is hard to codify or automate
Human life is full of these challenges. Some knowledge simply cannot be conveyed—or understood or accepted—in a propositional form. For example, a nurse counselor may see clearly that her elderly post-operative patient would thrive better in a retirement home. But she cannot just tell him so. Read More ›
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Why Can’t Machines Learn Simple Tasks?

They can learn to play chess more easily than to walk
If specifically human intelligence is related to consciousness, the robotics engineers might best leave consciousness out of their goals for their products and focus on more tangible ones. Read More ›
Two Retro Tin Robot on a White Background

The New Politically Correct Chatbot Was Worse?

If you are a human being who talks to people for a living, don’t quit your job
Within 16 hours, the Microsoft team had to shut down their chatbot Tay. With assistance from so many online sources, Tay’s ability to be nasty exceeded that of any individual human. And as for her replacement, Zo, who would never repeat those mistakes… Read More ›
Conceptual image of a large stone in the shape of the human brain
The young and conceptual image of a large stone in the shape of the human brain

The Brain Is Not a “Meat Computer”

Dramatic recoveries from brain injury highlight the difference

The brain looks like a computer only if we analyze it as if it were a computer. Our analysis does not mean that it is a computer, and it does not mean that computation explains the mind or even that computational approaches to neuroscience provide genuinely meaningful insight into neurophysiology.

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Bitcoin gold coin. Cryptocurrency concept.

A wallet you can’t feel?

Will Bitcoin change the rituals around money?
It’s tempting to assume that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin will succeed because social media did. But digital doesn’t mean magic. Cryptocurrencies will work if the needs met are more significant to most people than the problems created are. Read More ›
MRI brain : Brain tumor at right parietal lobe

Boy loses large hunk of brain

And is “doing just fine”
When pundits talk glibly of creating artificial minds or claim that consciousness is an illusion, it might help to remember that few predicted cases like this could exist and few thought that high tech diagnostics would lead to their discovery. Read More ›
Brain research or diagnostic on the digital model in virtual reality. 3d illustration.

AI That Can Read Minds?

Deconstructing AI hype

The source for the claims seems to be a 2018 journal paper, "Real-time classification of auditory sentences using evoked cortical activity in humans." The carefully described results are indeed significant but what the Daily Mail article didn't tell you sheds a rather different light on the AI mind reader.

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Is Bitcoin Safe?

Why the human side of security is critical

Bitcoin solves a lot of tough problems in very ingenious ways. Unfortunately, however, those benefits don’t tend to translate well for end users, who are not nearly as ingenious as the people developing the system.

Read More ›
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Claim: Yes, you can upload your brain

Fine print: They might have to kill you first
In a recent piece, we looked at cognitive scientist Susan Schneider’s explanation as to why we couldn’t cheat death by uploading our minds to the internet. But some have made a career of marketing the idea Read More ›