Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive October 2019

Students sitting a test in an exam hall in college

The Challenge of Teaching Machines to Generalize

Teaching students simply to pass tests provides a good illustration of the problems

We want the machine learning algorithms to learn general principles from the data, and not merely little tricks and trivia that that score high but ignore problems.

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Baseball fans and crowd cheering in stadium and watching the game in ballpark. Happy people enjoying a match and sport event in arena. Friends watching ballgame live.

The World Series: What the Luck?

Who will win the World Series? I don’t know, but I do know that baseball is the quintessential game of luck.

Think about it. Line drives hit right at fielders, mis-hit balls dying in the infield. Fly balls barely caught and barely missed. Balls called strikes and strikes called balls. Even the best batters make twice as many outs as hits. Even the best teams lose more than a third of their games. This season, the Houston Astros had the highest win percentage (66.0%) in baseball, yet they lost two out of six games to Baltimore, which only won a third of their games—not because Baltimore was the better team, but because Baltimore was the luckier team in those two games. The Astros are one of the 10 best teams this season (along with the Yankees, Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Cleveland, Oakland, Read More ›

Slime molds

Is a Brain Really Needed for Thinking?

The “blob,” now on display at the Paris Zoo, forces the question

In addition to the many puzzles we face in understanding the relationship between the immaterial human mind and the material human brain, we are discovering some life forms that can manage “sensory integration, decision-making and now, learning” without a physical brain.

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new technologies, a child uses a futuristic processor for augmented reality. high technology and communication concept. TV

Would a Simulated Universe Even Make Sense?

A well-crafted short sci-fi film suggests, intentionally or otherwise, maybe not

I’ve seen quite a few sci-fi short films over the years and Simulation is certainly one of the better ones. However, beyond that, I’m not sure this film knows what it is; it’s an identity crisis.

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Space environment, ready for comp of your characters.3D rendering

A Singular Space Adventure Takes A Twist…

The old man could buy anything but youth. Until now, maybe. —TruMind serial, part 4

He was the richest man in history, having amassed wealth through his inheritance and that of a few other unfortunate people.

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Mähdrescher und Traktor bei der Ernte auf einem Weizenfeld

Technology Kills Jobs, Creates New Ones

On this week’s podcast, Jay Richards looks at the way new jobs have historically grown from the turmoil around the deaths of obsolete ones

Despite the continued march of technological change in recent years, the American employment picture has been bright, though many remain dissatisfied with their current circumstances or prospects.

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Telecommunication network above city, wireless mobile internet technology for smart grid or 5G LTE data connection, concept about IoT, global business, fintech, blockchain

Smart Cities?: Proceed With Caution!

Zaheer Allam provides a balanced view of the future impact of AI on society

In some Smart City master plans, our privacy will be seriously compromised.

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Dolphin portrait while looking at you with open mouth

What Do Animal Studies Tell Us About Human Minds?

They show that human experience is unique

Many people assume that human consciousness arose accidentally many eons ago from animal consciousness and that therefore we can find glimmers of the same sort of consciousness in the minds of animals. But that approach isn’t producing the expected results.

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Neurons in brain estas Adobe Stock 214253348

Quest for Consciousness: A Historic Contest Is Announced

The two theories to be tested pit "information processing" against "causal power" as a model of consciousness. One side must admit it is wrong

Consciousness is a slippery concept but the two prominent theories make different predictions as to which part of the brain will become active when a person becomes aware of an image; thus they can be tested by neuroscientists.

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Hong Kong Protesters

How Business in China Becomes Ethically Expensive

Hong Kong raises the cost of rights and freedoms rhetoric steeply. Many advocates are bowing out

Apple had once positioned itself in opposition to Big Brother. The NBA had been a strong advocate of social justice. But with Hong Kong, they suddenly caved to Beijing. What’s at stake?

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Cuboid with Digital Zeros and Ones

How Much Google Do You Really Need?

As more people are becoming concerned about Big Tech’s snooping and apparent political ambitions, practical responses are emerging

Getting away from constant surveillance and dangerous little bubbles of manipulated information is easier than some users may realize, tech pioneers and experts say. You can make simple changes today.

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Man is using laptop with black keys, Social media and social networking. Marketing concept

The Golden Age of the Web?—A Dissent

What happened to the collaborative culture, decentralized markets, and wisdom of crowds that bestsellers prophesied fifteen years ago?

Remembering the prophecies for the web in the halcyon days of ten or (better) fifteen years ago is strangely painful and disorienting, like a hangover, largely because we so silently abandoned its ideals.

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https

Your Browser CAN Be Secure

If you are willing to think beyond Google

The place to begin, however, is with a simple rule of thumb: if a system is convenient, you are probably trading your information for that convenience. If you want to reduce your “digital exhaust,” you will need to do things that are a little less convenient.

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Window to the Soul

Oxford Philosopher: Without a Soul, There Is No Self

He presents new philosophical arguments, supported by modern neuroscience, in defense of the soul

Many are inclined to dismiss Swinburne’s approach without thinking very hard. But it is not as if materialists have a big solution that others are stubbornly refusing to acknowledge.

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hype word on digital screen background with world map

If Big Tech Were Spinning Its Wheels, Would We Know?

Not necessarily, says an economics prof who worries about the slowing pace of innovation but not of hype

The slowing Funk refers to is in fundamental innovations like transistors and lasers. The apparent progress often turns out to be in patent applications for a bewildering array of comparatively insignificant mobile phone apps.

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EEG Electroencephalogram, brain wave in awake state with mental activity

Neuroharvest

TruMind engineers had discovered a new science: editing the very fabric of reality. – a tale, from the TruMind serial, part 3

But there was a lingering problem. To power the world’s vacuums and rice cookers, the Craizins had to be at the source of the action: the home. But no one wanted somewhat smelly teenage gamers hulking around in their homes.

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Earth-like planet beyond our solar system. Isolated on black.

Ad Astra: The Great Silence Becomes Personal

The film images the fate of those who seek significance in the stars and may well wait indefinitely

In a world where the divine touch of extraterrestrial intelligence doesn’t elevate human existence to any level of significance, we are left with Ad Astra: a slow, methodical decay of human significance.

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Brown Nautilus Shell

What Do the Turing Test and ID Have in Common?

George D. Montañez shows that if a test can detect intelligence in computers, a test could also detect intelligent design in nature

The Turing test for design in computers relies on the same principles as the detection of design in nature. The materialist can have, in principle, no intelligence in either computers or nature or possible intelligence in both. But he can’t pick and choose.

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Technocracy Alex Kotliarskyi-QBpZGqEMsKg-unsplash

Anti-Technology Backlash: What’s Real? What’s Myth?

First, the Luddites, who started it all, were smarter than many people think

But there is not much point in being a traditional Luddite today. You don’t want to smash the robot; you want to bring the price down to where you can own a piece of it.

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Microprocessor on girls fingertip

Carver Mead Asks, Where Did AI Come From?

The microprocessor pioneer who was a colleague of Feynman and named Moore’s Law is certainly in a position to know

In 2002, he received the National Medal of Technology for a number of “pioneering contributions to microelectronics,” which underlies cell phones and computer neural networks.

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