Get the FREE DIGITAL BOOK: The Case for Killer Robots
Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive September 2019

Joyful preteen lady beaming while embracing human like root

Tell Kids the Robot Is “It,” Not “He”

Teaching children to understand AI and robotics is part of a good education today

We are not truly likely to be ruled by AI overlords (as opposed to powerful people using AI. But even doubtful predictions may be self-fulfilling if enough impressionable people come to believe them. Children, for example. We adults are aware of the limitations of AI. But if we talk about AI devices as if they were people, children—who often imbue even stuffed toys with complex personalities—may be easily confused. Sue Shellenbarger, Work & Family columnist at The Wall Street Journal, warns that already, “Many children think robots are smarter than humans or imbue them with magical powers.” While she admits that the “long-term consequences” are still unclear, “an expanding body of research” suggests we need to train children to draw Read More ›

MP voting
Member of Romanian Parliament is voting by raising his hand

Will Government Intervention Solve High-Tech’s Problems?

At the COSM summit in October, a Wall Street Journal columnist will make the case for no

Andy Kessler, Inside View columnist at The Wall Street Journal “on technology and markets and where they intersect with culture,” is a skeptic of Big Regulation. He has seen the issues from a variety of positions, having been both a software designer and an investment broker.

Read More ›
alchemy still life

Pursuit of the AI Singularity Is Modern Alchemy

Just as lead cannot just become gold, software cannot just become creative
Isaac Newton was a great scientist but he wasted a lot of time trying to turn lead into gold. Today, some great computer scientists waste a lot of time trying to produce AI that creates better AI without a programmer. Read More ›
Photo by TRΛVELER .
Hammer and nails

Is Technology a Tool or a Tyrant?

A conversation between tech entrepreneurs Jack Ma and Elon Musk outlines some choices

Last week noted U.S. technologist Elon Musk and Alibaba executive Jack Ma engaged in a friendly debate at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. The two agreed on a lot. AI is useful, it isn’t going anywhere, and the technology will continually improve. Where they differed is what it means for us humans. For Ma, technology is a tool for our benefit. In his thinking, our technological future will bring us to a point where the average person need only work a few hours a week. Technology will automate away most of the treacherous or dull tasks and allow us to spend more time being human, engaging in the arts, and engaging with each other. Musk’s view of technology Read More ›

Resting at office

If AI dumbed us down, would we even know?

Silicon Valley pros face the challenges head-on
Does the constant use of machine aids rob us of natural smarts? If not, how are they helping us? Are there ways we can change the mix? Read More ›
Photo by Brett Jordan
Book with fold-out, pop-up

Pop-Ups? Just Say “No” — and Close Those Tabs

Making the internet work for YOU means, among other things, getting control of who can follow you around

If allowing these notifications sounds like a perfect avenue for an attacker, that’s because it is. This attack surface is a very large hole in the security of your computer.

Read More ›
concept of self-driving car

Will Industry Pressure Loosen Self-Driving Car Tests?

Right now, the regulatory agency is under pressure to accept the industry’s “softball” testing suggestions
The regulatory agency (NHTSA) needs to adapt. But trusting technical documentation alone or only testing already sold vehicles is grossly insufficient. Technical documentation is what engineers think should happen; it is not the future. And testing sold vehicles creates an incentive to skimp on tests. Read More ›
Photo by Gilles Lambert
Hands in dark using smartphone

Will we become mere apps of our smart machines?

At COSM, Ray Kurzweil will offer a glimpse of his foreseen Singularity where we merge with superintelligent computers

He believes that the merger will eventually make the whole universe intelligent. Kurzweil’s critics believe that the superintelligent computers he needs can’t exist. If the critics are correct, we have misread the AI revolution.

Read More ›