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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive August 2019

Bottlenose Dolphin NASA public domain

Dolphinese: The Idea That Animals Think As We Do Dies Hard

But first it can lead us down strange paths
Down one of them, some researchers met a dolphin. Unfortunately for the dolphin. Read More ›
Blue watercolor triangle

A simple triangle can disprove materialism

Conventional descriptions of material processes do not help much when we are trying to account for abstract thought
Philosopher Edward Feser notes that there is a kind of mismatch between concepts and ideas on the one hand, which are abstract and completely general, and on the other hand, physical symbols and other material representations, which are always concrete, specific, and individual. Read More ›
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A Closer Look at Google’s Search Engine Bias

If Google’s CEO honestly believes that there is no political bias, that is, in itself, a big part of the problem
If Sundar Pichai thinks that there is no bias in Google's algorithms, he is arguing against the nature of writing algorithms itself—not a good position for a computer guy to be in. Read More ›
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What Others Are Saying About the New Google Insider’s Revelations

The documents' authenticity is not in dispute. What to do about them is another matter
Perhaps we cannot have a realistic discussion of the problems Google.gov creates unless we start with a willingness to pay for search engine services. That allows us to bargain as equals with respect to terms. Read More ›
Machine Learning object detection and artificial intelligence concept. Application detect object in picture. (Blur human face)

Whistleblower: Google Told Cops To Do a “Wellness Check” on Him

He can be seen doing a sort of perp walk on the video; some portions transcribed here

In the documents Vorhies unearthed,  Google seemed to be "intending to scope the information landscape so that they could create their own version of what was objectively true."

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Photo by Daniel Olah

Is Google a Cult? Or Does It Just Act That Way?

Project Veritas announces that a new rebel Googler has sent nearly 1000 documents on algorithm bias to the DOJ

While we prepare a news story on Zach Vorhies' revelations, it may be worth asking why one of the world’s largest companies has developed what appears to be the atmosphere of a political cult.

Read More ›
Old Trumpet Brick Wall

Fan Tries Programming AI Jazz, Gets Lots and Lots of AI…

Jazz is spontaneous, but spontaneous noise is not jazz

As Gioia says, jazz depends on the “personality of the individual musician.” And the blindspot of AI creativity is: There’s no one home.

Read More ›
San Francisco aerial view from sea side. Port of San Francisco in the front. City downtown and skyscrapers at sunrise.

A Silicon Valley Insider Asks the Awkward Questions

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, speaking at COSM in October, has a history of challenging Valley orthodoxies

His question, “How can Google use the rhetoric of ‘borderless’ benefits to justify working with the country whose ‘Great Firewall’ has imposed a border on the internet itself?”, is timely. China’s government uses high tech for, among other things, sophisticated racial profiling.

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Herd of African elephants in National Park, Uganda

Elephants Who Fly — or Become “Persons” — Are Magic

Okay, it's impossible. But then why do thinkers who disbelieve the one believe the other?

For decades, researchers were transfixed with the idea of humanizing great apes by raising them among humans and teaching them language. Emerging from the ruins and recriminations of the collapse, philosophy prof Don Ross has a new idea: Let’s start with elephants instead.

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Why Do Atheists Still Claim Free Will Can’t Exist?

Sam Harris reduces everything to physics but then ignores quantum non-determinism

A reader, listening to his podcast with computer scientist Judea Pearl, asks how he can be so sure everything is determined by physical forces. How indeed?

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4er Golf flight

The Paradox of Luck and Skill

Why did Shane Lowry win the British Open golf championship? Because someone had to

In any competition including academic tests, athletic events, and company management where there is an element of luck that causes performances to be an imperfect measure of ability, there is an important difference between competitions among people with high ability and competitions among people of lesser ability.

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Monkey family on the tree in Nepal monastery

Are Monkeys with Some Human Genes Partly Human?

If they are somewhat smarter than other macaques, do they have minds and souls?

In my ongoing dialogue with Querius, I say no; a human is not reducible to a handful of genes.

Read More ›
Medical and healthcare,Male doctor or medical students or surgeon,anesthesiologists using digital tablet during the conference,Health Check with digital system support for patient,background banner

Why Was IBM Watson a Flop in Medicine?

Robert J. Marks and Gary S. Smith discuss how the AI couldn’t identify which information in the tsunami of medical literature actually MATTERED

Last year, the IBM Health Initiative laid off a number of people, seemingly due to market disillusionment with the product.

Read More ›
Photo by Erik Mclean
Supreme money gun

Why Is DeepMind In Deep Water Financially?

Market analysts are wondering if the money is as smart as the machine

In an all-out botwar with the other tech Bigs, DeepMind could simply be paying top minds not to work for the competition while readying AI tools that pay better than winning at board games. Maybe.

Read More ›
Dangerous driving and using a mobile phone

Whatever Musk says, Don’t Watch Netflix in Your Tesla

He’ll only allow streaming while stopped until “full self-driving is approved by regulators”

This is hardly the time to encourage drivers to believe that someday soon, distraction will be okay. Distracted driving claims the lives of roughly nine people per day in the United States.

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Lithium mine in Argentina satellite image public domain

Self-driving Cars: Following the Money up a Cooling Trail

The market for lithium for electric car batteries is slowing

One way we can assess entrepreneurs’ claims (think Elon Musk) is to ask, what physical components does the product require and how is the market responding?

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hunters on cave paint digital illustration with notebook

Why Some Scientists Think Science Is an Illusion

It’s a useful illusion, they say, but our brains are not really wired to know the facts

The great triumph of the theory of evolution was to show that humans are just animals in nature—clever, yes, but clever animals. Or so we are told.  But wait!

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dita, mano, dna, scienza, biologia

In China, high-tech racial profiling is social policy

For an ethnic minority, a physical checkup includes blood samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and voice recordings

The Chinese government seeks a database of everyone in the country, not only to track individuals but to determine the ethnicity of those who run up against the law.

Read More ›