Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive October 2019

COSM-3887

Is Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity Now Nearer — or Impossible?

In response to Kurzweil’s talk at the COSM Technology Summit, panelists noted that AI achievements are revolutionary in size but limited by their nature in scope

George Montañez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, took issue with Kurzweil’s claim that AlphaGoZero needed no instructions to beat humans at the game of Go: “For a system like this to work, a human must define the incentive structure, also encoding the assumptions.” The sheer power of a computing system does not cause it to do anything at all.

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Gorgeous puppy looking on itself in the mirror

Mirror, Mirror, Am I a Self?

Scientists ponder, how would animals show self-awareness?

One controversy in animal psychology centers on whether or not an animal can recognize itself in a mirror. But a number of scientists are beginning to doubt that the mirror test shows animal self-awareness.

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Abstract.

Neuroscientist Says Our Souls Are Not Machines

A reviewer notes that Sharon Dirckx makes her case in a way that is easy for the attentive non-specialist reader to understand.

If readers are looking for a book by a writer familiar with the science who does not just adopt the materialist view and then spend two hundred and fifty pages supporting it, Am I Just My Brain? might be a good choice.

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Ray Kurzweil presenting via teleconference at COSM 2019

Tech pioneer Ray Kurzweil: We Will Merge with Computers by 2045

For computers, “Even the very best human is just another notch to pass,” he told the COSM Technology Summit

Advocates point to the success of Kurzweil’s past predictions as evidence that his Singularity is indeed Near, as his 2005 book predicts or Nearer, as his forthcoming one (June 2020) does. But questions bubbled to the surface.

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Personal development and business idea career concept.

Astrophysicist: Materialism Is on Shaky Ground

Adam Frank ponders the fact that materialism entirely fails to explain consciousness

Frank’s computational research group has developed advanced supercomputer tools to study how stars form and die. So he would incline to a materialist view, surely? But no, he says, quantum physics blew all that away. And some neuroscientists just haven’t caught up.

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360 futuristic HDRi map. Fractal environment for 3D rendering or VR.

Why AI Art Is Not Art

Author and anesthesiologist Ronald W. Dworkin reaches back to Tolstoy to explain

The fad may already be peaking. The business case for AI art is not especially compelling because there is already a huge consumer art industry catering to every taste in decor. Producing more merely decorative novelty art faster does not create more customers for it.

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Infinity sign black and white texture

Yes, You Can Manipulate Infinity—in Math

The hyperreals are bigger (and smaller) than your average number — and better!

Hyperreal numbers are a new type of number that was developed to simplify and rethink the way that we deal with very large and very small numbers.

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2 million protesters stand out to oppose a controversial extradition bill on June 16 2019 hong kong

Hi-Tech Freedom Game in Hong Kong

Technology can oppress a people group or it can give them a voice

In the end, technology, like any tool, depends on who wields it and whether they use it to help people or to control them.

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Profile of a young man with mental activity

Consciousness Is Two Hard Problems, Not One

Psychology prof Gregg Henriques argues, consciousness “plays by a different set of rules than the language game of science”

The James Madison U prof argues, “I believe the differences between the language games or domains of science/behavior and of soul/spirit and morality/ethics are crucial for us to keep in mind as we hunt for a more consilient scientific humanistic philosophy that can guide humanity in the 21st century.”

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open door to another world

Computer prof: Computers will never be conscious

Subhash Kak counters the AI boosters with cogent explanations

Dr. Kak points out, "More than 80 years ago, pioneering British computer scientist Alan Turing showed that there was no way ever to prove that any particular computer program could stop on its own – and yet that ability is central to consciousness."

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futuristic cyborg man

Will Plausible Robots Replace Movie Stars?

A short film prepares us to think about it

Do I believe AI will be emotionally indistinguishable from human connection? No, personally I don’t. Nonetheless, I loved the short film. It was simple but very well-executed. If you’re looking for a short but thought-provoking film about AI to give your mind something to chew on over the weekend, I would highly recommend Sprites.

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Inverted pyramid against grey sky

Mindtrap

Is immortality worth risking the unthinkable? — Trumind serial, part 5

Once he’d lit up the entire sequence and it was displayed back to him above the number pad, Johann felt a tremendous euphoric rush of success, the likes of which he'd never felt in his life, even at the close of his greatest deals.

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COSM-3527

Wall Street Journal columnist to Big Tech: You are doomed

Companies like Google and Facebook aren’t monsters, says Andy Kessler, but each nourishes the seeds of its own destruction

Kessler told his audience at the COSM National Technology Summit that Big Tech companies are so vulnerable that, for legal reasons, the United States is the only safe place for their headquarters.

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COSM-4138

Have Millennials broken up with America’s car culture?

They are less likely to have licenses; they prefer ride-sharing, says auto data analyst

“People envision a future delivering mobility as a service,” Bryan Mistele of INRIX told the COSM Technology Summit, contrasting the Millennials’ approach with that of earlier generations who tended, at the same age, to see driving as a form of freedom.

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COSM-3296

Your smartphone will disappear, says AT&T CTO

New 5G computing will introduce an era of ever smarter wearable devices, according to Andre Fuetsch

Fuetsch asks us to think of 3G (2001) and 4G (2010) internet as the difference between a junior high school rock band and a high school rock band: “The high school band is a lot louder and a lot faster.” And 5G? “It is a 40-piece orchestra. A wide spectrum of abilities but tight structure and control.”

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COSM-3188

Chair of Forbes Media Says Money Is About Trust

Experts forecast the future of money in general at COSM

Facebook wants to start minting its own money. Amazon is said to be thinking about it. Bitcoin has many enthusiasts. But what determines the value of money in a digital age?

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COSM-3128

Former Microsoft Head of Research: Machines Will Soon Know Better Than Your Doctor

Other experts at the COSM Technology Summit were skeptical of Craig Mundie’s claims

Mundie, former Microsoft Chief Research & Strategy Officer, formerly told his audience that Big Data will enable each person to be “completely understood” by machines that can produce a computer facsimile of each detail. It would be far too complex for human physicians to make sense of, he said.

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COSM-3104

Tech Entrepreneur Peter Thiel says Silicon Valley is losing its touch

Peter Thiel also compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst

About the Big Tech companies, he says, “The story is not that they have done a lot of bad things but that they have not done enough good things. That remains the core challenge of Silicon Valley.”

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nice woman type on a laptop working at home freedom and happy. thinking looking outside

Can Predictive Text Replace Writers?

A New Yorker staff writer ponders his future and the machine’s

Predictive text analyzes what was written and guesses what comes next. Whole sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Seabrook tested it on his own work…

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New York, NY - MARCH, 2019: Deepfake Face Manipulation of Asian Male

The AI Revolution Has Come for Stock Art

But we'll still need photographers and models

The new tools allow for a level of customization not previously available. They also allow for a level of anonymization.

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