Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive September 2019

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Cash For Your Data Won’t Solve Big Tech Privacy Issues

It seems like such a great idea… at first. But how do you know what the data is really worth?

Privacy is a fundamental right tied to the person, rather than something on which a price tag can be placed, which can be sold for a fistful of dollars.

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Mindar Franck V. on Unsplash franck-v-YKW0JjP7rlU-unsplash

Are Robot Pastors the Answer to Religion’s Decline?

Many Christians say no. Some Buddhists say yes. What is expected of the pastor?
Perhaps it comes down to what we believe is the ultimate reality and what we expect from that ultimate reality. Read More ›
White cyborg finger about to touch human finger 3D rendering

The Three Laws of Robotics Have Failed the Robots

Almost no one out there thinks that Isaac Asimov's Three Laws could work for truly intelligent AI
Prolific science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) developed the Three Laws of Robotics, in the hope of guarding against potentially dangerous artificial intelligence. Jonathan Bartlett, Brendan Dixon, and Eric Holloway discuss what went wrong. Read More ›
Crystalline City of Blue Light

Ghost in the Nuke

Weapons have no souls, thus greater power ensures our safety…? —a tale

Arctang's grip tightened on the throttle. This was it. No going back. The Fortress loomed, gigantic towers gazing down on him, laser dots peppering his window.

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Anubis of Ancient Egypt (God of Death). Dark abstract Egyptian background, dark room with smoke, sparks from lights, rays of light.

“Friendly” Artificial Intelligence Would Kill Us

Is that a shocking idea? Let’s follow the logic

We don't want to invent a stupid god who accidentally turns the universe into grey goo or paperclips, But any god we create in our image will be just as incompetent and evil as we are, if not more so. A dilemma!

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peacock with open tail and female

Did Consciousness Evolve to Find Love?

It’s an attractive idea but it comes with a hidden price tag

If consciousness is a mere tool of human sexual selection, it is mere plumage, a pretty enticement, of no meaning or import otherwise. But then what becomes of Dr. Graziano’s own intellectual labors?

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Reading with a kitten in his arms, filming indoors

Cats do bond with people

Both cats and kittens showed about the same level of attachment to caregivers as children and dogs did

When a cat feels secure, he develops relationships with humans and dogs. But he won’t be either your servant or your master; just your housemate—and maybe at last your old friend.

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Did Consciousness “Evolve”?

One neuroscientist doesn’t seem to understand the problems the idea raises

Darwinian evolution must select physical attributes. If consciousness evolved as a mere byproduct of physical brain processes, it is powerless in itself. Thus Graziano's theories of consciousness are themselves mindless accidents.

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Skewers with meat and Vegetable. 1. Chicken 2. Pork 3. Shrimp 4. Beef 5. Zucchini 6. Mushrooms

Everyday tech myths you can skewer and enjoy

We already have enough worries that are based in reality

In addition to the tips offered above, each of the linked sites offers several to dozens of other skewerable tech myths we can enjoy and not worry over.

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The Dreamy Abstract background from soap bubble in the air with nature defocused

Escaping the News Filter Bubble: Three Simple Tips

Spoiler: Reduce the amount of information big providers have about YOU

Over time, unnoticed bubbles form ever more effective barriers against alternative information, maybe information you need. But getting out requires only a few simple steps.

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Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger

Neuroscientist Michael Graziano Should Meet the P-Zombie

To understand consciousness, we need to establish what it is not before we create any more new theories

A p-zombie (a philosopher’s thought experiment) behaves exactly like a human being but has no first-person (subjective) experience. The meat robot violates no physical principles. Yet we KNOW we are not p-zombies. Think what that means.

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Hong Kong 2019 protests Peter Y. Chuang Unsplash peter-y-chuang-LWzjqzhLjiA-unsplash

Can China Really Silence Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is tech-savvy and the protesters are adept at defeating even high-tech terrors

Some protestors use umbrellas to block the view of newly installed surveillance cameras while others dismantle the electronics. Others place traffic cones over tear gas canisters and then neutralize the gas with water.

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Evolution of computer Claaudio Schwartz Purzlbaum Unsplash-0-DjV_Tk1cQ

Can computers simply evolve greater intelligence?

Maybe it sounds attractive but nature doesn't seem to work quite that way
When the researchers did not develop the right environment for their digital organisms, nothing evolved. As Bill Dembski predicts, they could move design around but they could not eliminate it. Read More ›
what will you choose? Fresh healthy berries come out from the bowl or junk potato fries from paper box

Can Free Will Really Be a Scientific Idea?

Yes, if we look at it from the perspective of information theory
It is possible to empirically distinguish an entity with free will from an entity that runs according to chance and necessity alone, while staying entirely within the methodology of modern science. Read More ›
Doctor using finger to hold a brain model with both hands in concept of taking care the brain

Why the Brain Is Not at All like a Computer

Seeing the brain as a computer is an easy misconception rather than an informative image, says neuroscientist Yuri Danilov

As soon as you assume that each neuron is a microprocessor, says Danilov, you assume that there is a programmer. There is no programmer in the brain; there are no algorithms in the brain. However, it is "extremely painful" for many people to let go of the idea.

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Shovel Annie Spratt Unsplash annie-spratt-j4fV6dKT9tw-unsplash

Do We Need To Learn from AI How To Think Better?

No, and a moment’s thought shows why not
AI can become our "collaborators" only in the sense that a shovel can collaborate with me to dig a hole: It amplifies my powers to do things which are otherwise difficult. Read More ›
Silent reading Jilbert Ebrahimi Unsplash -HAwA1N2gjo8

AlterEgo Does Not Read Your Mind

What it really does may surprise you but many claims made for it are deceptive
AlterEgo may prove invaluable for applications like helping the severely handicapped by using muscle movements that are usually unnoticed. But despite headlines and publicity claiming otherwise, it provides no technical stride forward in the field of AI-brain interface. Read More ›
Machine vision Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash SrC5iuVJk_c

What You See That the Machine Doesn’t

You see the “skeleton” of an idea
Humans can intuit the underlying forms that govern shapes, in part by guessing the intentions of other humans. Machine vision does not intuit things, which may be one reason for its odd misidentifications. Read More ›
Near death experience Andrew Charney Unsplash 4gP2EKPlU1Q-unsplash

Near-Death Experiences Are More Real Than Some of the Research

At Scientific American, we learn of an analysis that tries to link them to recreational drug highs, based only on language use

The scientific “method” of inferring a common biological cause of the experiences by analyzing the language used to describe them is junk science. One may as well infer that lung cancer and tuberculosis have a common cause because sufferers from both diseases report cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.

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Buddhist monks are walking on temple in mist sunset,Thailand

Tibetan Monks Can Change Their Metabolism

Far from disproving it, science has documented it

For decades, a default assumption was that claims that meditating monks in the Buddhist tradition could greatly raise their temperature or slow their metabolism were assumed to be exaggerations that would yield to a scientific explanation. The scientific explanation turned out to be that they can do exactly that.

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