Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive April 2019

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Hanging from a heart, graffiti on white wall

Will AI Teach Us to Love Big Brother?

A trend watcher fears that we’ll accept total surveillance if it controls crime and addiction

If China becomes the dominant world power through total control, David Mattin argues, it will erode the Western world’s governing myth that liberal democracy is the best system.

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The Human Brain: Even Basic Facts Are Hotly Contested

Keep that in mind when AI boosters claim that their product will function like a human brain

When we read that “Scientists Are Closer to Making Artificial Brains That Operate Like Ours Do”, we might ask: If career researchers dispute the question of how the brain works at basic levels, how can non-experts be so sure they have replicated it?

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Unordnung im Kinderzimmer, Playmobil - und Legosteine warten auf eine Zusammensetzung
Legos and toys for assembly

Computers Are No Smarter Than Tinkertoys

Philosopher: You may as well believe that Penn and Teller really do magic

Philosopher Ed Feser wrote a great post recently on why it is irrational to believe that artificial intelligence is really intelligent. He begins with Arthur C. Clarke’s famous observation that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Clarke’s assertion, he points out, can be taken two ways: people can be fooled into thinking that advanced technology is magic and, as a metaphysical assertion, that advanced technology really is magic. He defends the first assertion and, of course, denies the second: There are, however, many people who believe a claim that is analogous to, and as silly as, the metaphysical thesis that sufficiently advanced technology really is magic — namely the claim that a machine running a sufficiently advanced computer Read More ›

Screws, bolts and nuts on metal background
Screws, bolts and nuts on metal background

Identity Politics Goes High Tech

Does high tech simply cater to tribalism or make it worse?

The simmering controversy sometimes explodes into serious charges. For example, The Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a Fair Housing Act complaint against Facebook for targeting customers in a way that may constitute discrimination.

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Bacteria in Petri dish

Even Bacteria Are Purpose-Driven

The recent finding that bacteria can make individual decisions may help design better antibiotics

Does this mean that bacteria have free will? Not really; as Michael Egnor reminds us, free will is an immaterial quality of the reasoning mind. Life forms that lack a reasoning mind make decisions based only on their needs or desires.

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George Gilder talks at CNAI Dallas Launch

George Gilder: Google Does Not Believe in Life After Google

He offers chilling insight into the ultimate visions of technocrats

If the surveillance technology developed for China catches on in the West, however numberless the Googlers' infinite parallel universes may be, Americans will be constantly and closely observed while sitting behind on the beach.

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Tesla recharging station

Are Tesla’s Robot Taxis a Phantom Fleet?

Jonathan Bartlett suspects that a dire quarterly report is powering the fleet, not genuine innovation

Self-driving car entrepreneur Elon Musk is nothing, if not ambitious. Earlier this week, he promised to have a million robot taxis on the road by next year, taking dead aim at Uber and Lyft. But responses have changed in recent years from Wow! To “Oh. Really?”

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Man's back with doctor

Why AI Won’t Replace Your Doctor

Most analysts think that AI can improve medical care but cannot replace human judgement in painful situations

It’s not so much that electronic systems make errors as that they make errors that health care staff can’t anticipate and correct for—errors that occur in complex machinery, not errors made by experienced professionals.

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New Evangelical Statement on AI is Balanced and Well-Informed

The signers are clearly (and rightly) skeptical that computers can become conscious moral agents

Too much of the debate over AI is dictated by prior metaphysical commitments that are rarely examined. This Evangelical Statement is a welcome contrast because it makes the theological issues explicit.

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A boy's doll face

Astonishing Windup Robots Still Work, Centuries Later

New science discoveries prompted our ancestors to ask, how much can we make them do?

Eighteenth-century Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790) is remembered today for his workshop's “humanoid automata” or robots, the Draftsman, the Musician, and the Writer.

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chinese female worker at manufacturing
chinese worker assembling production at line conveyor in china factory

Does Automation Target Women’s Jobs?

The assumption that women need special protection from robots underestimates their creativity and versatility

A number of studies have come to the conclusion that automation will hit women harder than men. Some proposed fixes assume that women who lose repetitive jobs to robots would be happier as administrators or dependents. That’s not clear.

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Piles of books in a used book store

Can Big Data Game Bestseller Lists?

Intellectual snobbery makes some Bestseller and Top Ten lists an obvious target

The digital era is a golden age for such manipulations because digits on a screen are much easier to fake than feet on the street.

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Jay Richards: Creative Freedom, Not Robots, Is the Future of Work

In an information economy, there will be a place where the human person is at the very center

The Officially Smart people are telling us two scenarios, good and bad, about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), says Jay Richards, a research professor at the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He disagrees with both.

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Why AI Can’t Win Wars As If Wars Were Chess Games

Is Vladimir Putin right? Will whoever leads in AI rule the world? It’s not so simple

Whichever country becomes a leader in the sphere of AI and IA will do well. But whichever countries end up following, mindlessly, the advice of these tools will do so at their own great peril.

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