Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive September 2018

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Senior Google scientist quits over Google’s censorship in China

He believes it “contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights”
Some believe that any censorship system that a human being can develop can somehow be got around by another human being. China may provide a way of testing that.   Read More ›
Personal Bitcoin Wallet with euro coins

How Bitcoin Works: The social value of trust

The idea of employing such a game to guarantee validity in a trustless environment is nothing short of groundbreaking. It is an amazing accomplishment, and I am impressed by it more each time I think about it. However, it does have some drawbacks, which, I think, will ultimately lead to its demise. Read More ›
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Twitter doesn’t just seem out of control

It actually is.
Social media may be changing the world more than we think. And we may need some social leadership in fighting back against Twitter mobs. It probably won’t emerge from within because bullies are usually cowards. Read More ›
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Google branches out into politics

Unfortunately, the only political model it would likely know is: One-party state

The unchallenged manipulation of search engine results during elections is a new phenomenon made possible by the domination of the internet by a few big players.

Read More ›
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How do robots “care”?

Emotional robots’ cameras and sensors respond to your facial expressions, tone of voice, and movements

Critics of the emotional robotics industry say that the view of emotions (assumed in the industry to be only six) is oversimplified and that the robots are likely to promote stereotypes.

Read More ›
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Can machines really learn?

A parable of a book that learned
Machine learning is a powerful and important tool that is likely to be of great value (and perhaps great risk) to man. Machines can be designed to change with time but it is man, and only man, who learns. Read More ›
George Montañez

What is learning anyway?

Machine learning specialist George Montañez reflects on the question in a video excerpt from the CNAI gala
Can we make approximations that are so close to ourselves that the fact that they are approximations no longer matters? Read More ›
Building a better future

“Artificial” Artificial Intelligence

What happens when AI needs a human I?
Artificial intelligence often fails at crucial points. It must then be supplemented by human intelligence. Many software systems that look to their users like pure advanced artificial intelligence hide a lot of human effort behind a technological mask. Read More ›
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We need to be more honest about the addictive nature of the device, for some.
A guy on a date is not checking his phone three times in ten minutes because the world outside the restaurant is changing that fast. He is in the grip of an addiction. Read More ›
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AI is indeed a threat to democracy

But not in quite the way historian Yuval Noah Harari thinks
Rapid, wide dissemination of ideas we don’t understand is the prime threat AI poses to humanity. It is an existential threat to human dignity and flourishing. And this threat is made graver, not less grave, by our democracy, which, as Plato understood, is the necessary soil of tyranny. Read More ›
Airplane Controls

Will killer drones make killing easier?

That, says a bioethicist, depends on who the pilots are
Heather Zeiger tells us that traditional aerial combat pilots tend to think the same way when piloting drones from an office but it may be a different story when cell phone addicts, who tend to lack empathy, are recruited. Read More ›
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Slaughterbots: How far is too far?

And how will we know if we have crossed a line?
A greater focus should be on restoring the foundations of our nation over building superweapons. And the key foundation is all human beings' right to life. Read More ›
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Slaughterbots

Is it ethical to develop a swarm of killer AI drones?
For threats like slaughterbots, the answer is the development of newer technology. Like it or not, history is replete with accounts of new military technology replacing old.  Evil, seeking influence, demands a response, so the technology to provide one must be developed. Read More ›
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Silicon Valley grew old before it grew up

By April of this year, 100 employees were complaining about the Google groupthink
Quip making the rounds: Would you trust a self-driving car from Google? Answer: Sure, if I needed a car that decided for me where I should go and then just drove me there. Read More ›
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Our anonymity may be an illusion

Because we talk about ourselves so much online, few leaked pieces may even be required to identify us. 
Dr. Dinerstein: In what is now a classic study, researchers used de-identified credit card data for 1.1 million people, in 10,000 stores over a three-month period. Using just four pieces of “outside” data they could identify 90% of the shoppers. Read More ›
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Karl Marx’s Eerie AI Prediction

He felt that capitalism would fall when machines replaced human labor
Because Marx held that the value of goods resided in the labor required to produce them, if goods were produced by automatons, without human labor, the economy would fall apart and capitalism would fail. Read More ›