Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive February 2019

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Characters on the show Travelers with their guns drawn

A Mind Matters Review: Travelers Portrays AI As A Benevolent God

AI can even heal miraculously, but there is a price to be paid…

Season 3 seems like a good time to weigh in on the show’s overall audience appeal, level of materialist dogmatism, and vision of the future of AI.

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Complex algebra equation

STEM Education 6: How to Guide a Nerd

Students whose high school curricula are flexible can more easily develop and follow their God-given talents

STEM nerd parents and educators need four principles to identify nerds and bring them to a healthy and fulfilling maturity. We here present the first two: identification and nurture in the fundamentals of STEM disciplines

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Autonomous AI in War: Trial by Ordeal

The more complicated a system becomes, the more difficult it is to analyze all of its actions.

There are plenty of roads on which to test and tune the self-driving cars, but there are not a lot of wars available in which to test and tune autonomous AI weapons. If we seek military superiority to deter aggression, imaginative and creative minds are needed to assess all possibilities.

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An array of symbols from the National Archives, Hämeenlinna, Finland

Artificial Intelligence Must Be Possible! Really…?

Many arguments for strong artificial intelligence depend on an ideological commitment to explicit, unproven theories about the universe

Not only is it valid to ask whether artificial intelligence is impossible but the argument can be pursued on a scientific basis with quantifiable, empirical evidence.

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Man holding game controller in the dark

Will we surrender our free will to screens?

We may be surrendering while we aren’t paying attention

If “the machines” ever do take over, it will be because we have stopped thinking, not because they have started to.

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Apples and oranges in shadows

Why I Doubt That AI Can Match the Human Mind

Computers are exclusively theorem generators, while humans appear to be axiom generators

My primary reason for doubting that AI can match human intelligence is that the difference between mind and machine is a difference of kind, not of quantity. Understanding the distinction will help us exploit the abilities of each to their maximum potential.

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Green walk signal at crosswalk

AI Ethics and the Value of Human Life

Unanticipated consequences will always be a problem for totally autonomous AI

In the development of technology overall, there is always a tradeoff in which human life is given a price. For example, cheap cars aren’t safe and safe cars aren’t cheap.

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Android being constructed from Detroit: Become Human

A Closer Look at Detroit: Become Human, Part III

The second pillar of the AI religion is reductionism, the reduction of humanity to matter and energy

If the qualities that define being human (so that there is an obvious distinction between what is human and what is not) are not material by nature; then the premise of a compelling story about androids that become and surpass human beings as intelligent life falls flat.

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Face of android for Detroit: Become Human

A Closer Look at Detroit: Become Human, Part II

One pillar, if you like, of the worldview of the “Church of AI” is the belief that our embrace of artificial intelligence is a step on the road to a higher form of life.

Looking more closely, we can see that the stupidity and insignificance of human beings is a central dogma in the AI religion.

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Mailboxes on a rural road

STEM Education 5: What Difference Do Family and Privilege Make to Success?

A strong family helps a STEM nerd succeed. However, a “strong family” is not necessarily a family that had an easy ride, as my own story shows.

The money my parents could make in the new urban environment was good, but it was a bad place to raise kids. In high school, I began to run with gangs and do many things I’m not proud of. Dad and Mom scraped together money for me to go to college instead.

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Plasma Ball

Researchers Identify a New Form of Brain Communication

Mouse studies find brain waves that can bypass synapses and gaps, even communicate with severed nerves

Such surprising new findings show that comparisons between a human brain and a computer greatly underestimate the complexity of the brain.

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Cardboard boxes from Brouhaha brewery waiting to be shipped

Amazon pulls out of the New York City deal

Is this a message about the new economy in America?

Jay Richards thinks that crony capitalism is a long-term problem but that, in this case, New York legislators showed “staggering economic illiteracy and a disregard for their constituents”

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Pinball chute

How Can Mere Products of Nature Have Free Will?

Materialists don’t like the outcome of their philosophy but twisting logic won’t change it

Although most compatibilists have a more or less materialist view of nature, they find it impossible to shake the conviction that free will is real.

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Still from the movie Alita, Battle Angel

Alita: Battle Angel: A Mind Matters Review

If you love anime and felt betrayed by the flop of Ghost, I would highly recommend Alita

Although it doesn’t strictly feature AI, Alita invites us to ponder what it means to be human. Are we defined by a human brain? Or are there aspects of being human that are not solely associated with the brain?

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Character from Detroit: Become Human with blue chemical on face disintegratingn

A Closer Look at Detroit: Become Human, Part I

Gaming culture provides a window into our culture’s assumptions about artificial intelligence

In the game, Detroit has transcended its current economic despair, emerging as the epicenter of the android revolution. Cyberlife, headquartered there, has become the first company to engineer and produce fully autonomous, general purpose AI androids for consumers.

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Conceptual illustration of neuron cells with glowing link knots in abstract dark space, high resolution 3D illustration

Even the axons in our nerve cells are “smart PCs”

Your brain is not a computer, it is billions of them

Contrary to expectations, researchers say, far-flung regions (thousands of cell body widths from their nucleus) can even make independent decisions.

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Missile explosion

Why we can’t just ban killer robots

Should we develop them for military use? The answer isn’t pretty. It is yes.

Autonomous AI weapons are potentially within the reach of terrorists, madmen, and hostile regimes like Iran and North Korea. As with nuclear warheads, we need autonomous AI to counteract possible enemy deployment while avoiding its use ourselves.

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Japanese Businessmen Having a Business Agreement

STEM Education 4: Do STEM Nerds Need to Learn Latin?

Okay, not Latin. But some arts subjects do enhance a STEM career

Well-roundedness is appropriate in applied STEM curricula to the extent that it rounds out the skills necessary for success as a STEM professional.

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