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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive August 2019

Chatbot conversation on smartphone screen app interface with artificial intelligence technology providing virtual assistant customer support and information, person hand holding mobile phone

You can build your own chatbot

New tools have made it comparatively easy

Natural Language Interfaces (the technical term for a chatbot) are becoming more and more popular. Many dial-in phone services have switched from numeric interfaces (“Dial 1 for sales, 2 for service, etc.”) to natural language interfaces (“Please say what you are calling about”). Where they have taken off though is with chatbots. Many online help systems at least start with chatbots, which collect basic information about a problem or situation and point to existing solutions before passing the contact off to a human expert. Additionally, the rise of the Generation Text, as well as the proliferation of chat-based groupware such as Slack, means that text-based natural language interfaces are one of the best ways of interacting with young people. Is Read More ›

Leuchtende Würfel mit Paragraphen-Symbol auf Tastatur

The Internet’s Structure Builds In Privacy Flaws

The Domain Name resolver knows every service you visit, and every service those services rely on, as you move around the internet

How can you create a directory that anyone can access and yet keep what everyone is asking for private? Short of moving to a paper-based DNS system (think, a stack of New York City-size telephone directories), there isn’t a good answer within the present system.

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Cityscape 2

Why did Watson think Toronto was in the U.S.A.?

How that happened tells us a lot about what AI can and can’t do, to this day

Strictly speaking, the answer Watson spit out was "What is Toronto?????", which does sound distinctly less than certain. But the programmers had chosen not to program in the option of saying, “I don’t know.”

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chimpanzee family

Human-Ape Similarity Shows Humans Are Exceptional

If man is an animal biologically, but so unlike an animal cognitively, the obvious implication is that some aspect of the human mind is not biological

Ironically, if humans and apes were biologically more different, materialists could claim that the material biological differences rather than immaterial spiritual differences account for our powers of abstract thought. The biological similarity precludes such an argument.

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Modern Red Haired Man Relaxing in Office

Lazy Engineers Treat AI as Magic!

When software engineers mostly use shared code, they save time but risk losing understanding

Building from scratch is different. Knowing when to use a tool and why and knowing the limitations of each tool separates the craftsperson from the novice.

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Hand above a red emergency button

Why an AI pioneer thinks Watson is a “fraud”

The famous Jeopardy contest in 2011 worked around the fact that Watson could not grasp the meaning of anything

Gary N. Smith explains that a computer’s inability to understand what “it” means in a sentence is because it doesn’t understand what any of the words in the sentence mean.

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gud

Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene: How to Spell Gud

Also, Google and Apple ditching college degree requirements is not really that new

Twenty years or so ago, when I worked in Seattle, Microsoft was famous for the testing coding skills of their applicants and asking Mensa-like questions. Degrees were secondary.

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Girls eye with paint and earth

Why Some Scientists Believe the Universe Is Conscious

They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

These prominent thinkers are driven to panpsychism because materialism about the mind doesn’t really work. So if panpsychism ends up seeming absurd, dualism—there really is an immaterial world—is also worth considering.

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