Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Monthly Archive July 2019

super brain

Are Lab-Grown Human Brains the Next Big Thing?

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor thinks the hopes for humanly conscious lab-grown brains are faint indeed

“Neural tissue grown in a lab cannot have intentionality unless it has sense organs,” Egnor says, “But such manufactured intentionality can only be about concrete things, not abstract things.”

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How Do We Know Our Universe Is Not a Sim World?

It’s an interesting idea, say Bradley fellows, but for a number of reasons, it is not credible

The computer sim universe seems to be a way of dealing with the massive evidence of the fine-tuning of our universe without invoking traditional philosophy or religion.

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Fake News Thrives on Fears of a Robot Takeover

The motion graphics artist tried to explain that he faked the amazing robot video

The convincing film was great for Tom’s Twitter feed but less great for what it says about our judgment as viewers. We believe too much AI hype. 

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Server room or server computers with data hud.3d rendering.

Is the Tech Industry Destroying the Free Market?

The internet drifts toward monopoly control due, in part, to its structure, not merely due to tech moguls’ plans

One potential solution could be the rise of edge computing, which distributes all data as close to the edge as possible.

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Facebook Building Cryptocurrency-Based Payments System - 3D Rendering

Facebook “Likes” Cryptocurrency

We asked Jonathan Bartlett, what the new coin, Libra, means for Facebook? For crypto?

Avoiding having to judge between currencies "solves a political problem for Facebook, but I don't see that it solves problems for anyone else," Bartlett says.

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AI Can’t Do Jazz Because Spontaneity Is at Jazz’s Core

AI “artists”—in all the forms presently available — merely replay their programming

As Ted Gioia makes clear in his discussion of jazz, swirling a bit of randomness into the mix will not help.

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People rows. Unusual persons in row. Concept 3D illustration

Is an Immaterial Mind a Barrier to Human Cloning?

Human cloning has thus far been a scientific dead end

The ability to clone a rational man is a straightforward prediction of the materialist view of man, and the inability to clone a rational man is a straightforward prediction of the immaterialist view.

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Female with Now What Sign

Students, Don’t Let Smart Machines Disrupt Your Future

Three ways you can avoid life in Mom’s basement and the job pouring coffee

At first sight, the number of options might seem bewildering. The key question is: Will you ignore the coming job disruption, fear it, or treat it as an opportunity?

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Tap-Tap Busse, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Haiti Calling … Reaching Out, Touching the World

Baylor Engineering prof Brian Thomas has been helping Haitians establish businesses to recharge cell phones, using solar panels

In Haiti, 40% of the population (eleven million) still depends on subsistence agriculture. But cell phones allow them to leapfrog many traditional stages of technological development.

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Animal clouds shape

How Business Intelligence Can Break the Data Deadlock

Companies today are awash in information. But which patterns are real? Which are cloud bunnies?

Contrary to the dogma of hypothesis testing, it is possible to do after-the-fact pattern analysis while limiting the probability of false positives.

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J. P. Moreland’s Model of the Human Self Survived the Ultimate Field Test

Could the Christian philosopher rely on his model to help himself heal from psychiatric disorder?
To win the struggle with mental states that he knew to be aberrant, he had to clarify his view of the mind and the soul. But this time it was from the first-person perspective: it is not just my theory; this is happening to me. Read More ›
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Scientists Clash Over Why Octopuses Are Smart

New findings show, the brainy seafood breaks all the rules about why some life forms are smart
For many years, we’ve been trying to understand why the octopus is uniquely smart among cephalopods. Research answers some questions only to raise others, as a recent controversy shows. Read More ›
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The Smartest Phone Is Silent in Class

While academics debate smartphones’ effect on teens, some hard facts begin to emerge
What if we focus on something more easily measurable than emotional well-being?: grades. There seems to be a growing consensus that students get better grades when separated from smartphones in learning environments. Read More ›
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Tales of the Mind: A Neurologist Encounters the House of Mirrors

Materialism is an intellectual trap, out of which neuroscience needs to climb

Yale University neurologist Steven Novella posted recently on the science of growing brain tissue in the lab. It’s interesting stuff, but then we come to the jumbled metaphysical musings that conclude his post: There is a layer of weirdness to the very idea of brain tissue in a vat, because I think we are naturally uncomfortable with the very notion that our consciousness is the result of a clump of tissue shuttling ions around. It breaks the illusion that our brains evolved to have, a very compelling and persistent illusion – namely that the reality we perceive is real, rather than a constructed representation. That internal representation has a strong relationship to physical reality, but the two are not the…

Man silhouette on rural landscape background. Psychiatry and psychology concept.

Four Researchers Whose Work Sheds Light on the Reality of the Mind

The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor was featured in a short film as a supplement to the Science Uprising series. There, he mentions four researchers who have shed light on the non-material mind nature of our minds: Wilder Penfield (1891–1976): Some of the earliest evidence came from neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, who was the pioneer in epilepsy surgery in the mid 20th century. Penfield operated on over a thousand epilepsy patients while they were awake (under local anesthesia), and he stimulated their brains with electrodes in order to identify epileptic regions for surgical resection. He carefully recorded their responses to stimulation. In his book Mystery of the Mind, (1975) Penfield noted: “When I have caused a conscious patient to move his hand by applying…