Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive January 2020

Dark matter black and white abstract background

Could Information Be — at Long Last — the Missing Dark Matter?

Materialist thinkers may need to see information as material, whether that approach fits information or not

There is no evidence that information is dark matter or that consciousness is physical but materialists understandably long for evidence that would make their theory more viable.

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Middle-aged man calling his attorney for legal assistance

AI in the Courtroom: Will a Robot Sentence You?

Some experts think AI might be fairer than human judgment. Others are not so sure

One Superior Court judge has warned that many cases don’t come down to information alone, which is all AI can do. Law professor David DeWolf also expresses concern about increasing dependence upon law—a form of coercion—to regulate human behavior, a choice that is irrelevant to the growth of AI in the courtroom.

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Simulation of a screen of cctv cameras with facial recognition

EU Mulls Five-Year Ban on Facial Recognition

Too soon, too fast, and not enough discussion of the objectives, say critics

Opposition is growing in the Western world to routine government use of facial recognition (FR) technologies. But it takes different forms in different places.

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Close up on pile of mixed electronic waste, old broken computer parts and cell phones

Is There a Gold Mine in Electronic Waste?

Yes, and it is much bigger than most of us realize

Recovering more precious metals from our departed electronics would help both economic growth and sustainable development at once.

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Obstetric Ultrasonography Ultrasound Echography of a first month

Abortion Advocate Admits in a Medical Journal That Unborn Children Feel Pain

The scientific community has for decades misrepresented the straightforward science of conception and fetal development for ideological reasons

I have cared for hundreds of premature infants and it is very clear that these very young children experience pain intensely. An innocuous needlestick in the heel to draw small amount of blood would ordinarily not be particularly painful for an adult. But a tiny infant will scream at such discomfort.

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Photo by Michal Mrozek

So Is an AI Winter Really Coming This Time?

AI did surge past milestones during the 2010s but fell well short of the hype

Maybe both. AI will require more from us, not less, because how we choose to use these tools will make an increasingly stark difference between benefit and ruin.

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robot work on microscope

Will an AI Win a Nobel Prize for Science All by Itself One Day?

No, but Support Vector Machines (SVMs) can allow scientists to frame questions so that a comprehensible answer is more likely

AI can certainly help scientists. But to understand why AI can’t do science on its own, we should take a look at the NP-Hard Problem in computer science. The “Hard” is in the name of the problem for a reason… 

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Photo by Amanda Jones

Bridge: Why Shuffle the Deck Seven Times?

For years, competitive bridge players complained that computer shuffling of cards produced goofy results. Statisticians sided with the computers

Bridge is one of the few games where computer algorithms have not yet demolished the best human players but, despite claims to the contrary, algorithms do a much better job of random shuffling of the deck.

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Connected neurons or nerve cells- 3d illustration

Why Would Philosophers Deny That Consciousness Is Real?

Because, says computer scientist Bernardo Kastrup, the materialism they are committed to makes no sense and that’s the best they can do

A Dutch computer scientist and philosopher who has reflected deeply on the mind–matter problem finds himself asking, how can serious scientists or philosophers convince themselves that their own consciousness “doesn’t exist” or is a “mistaken construct”? What, exactly, is thinking the thought that their consciousness doesn’t exist? I want to understand what makes the consciousness of an intelligent human being deny its own existence with a straight face. For I find this denial extremely puzzling for both philosophical and psychological reasons. Don’t get me wrong, the motivation behind the denial is obvious enough: it is to tackle a vexing problem by magically wishing it out of existence. As a matter of fact, the ‘whoa-factor’ of this magic gets eliminativists and Read More ›

An internet email symbol and a group of people are separated by a red prohibitory symbol No. restrictions on access to the global Internet. Censorship. Information control, society isolation policy

Can a Totalitarian State Be an Information Society?

Beijing’s clumsy social media campaigns against democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan have failed but attempts to control local media are ramping up

Xi believes that the Western values of a free press, free speech, and separation of powers contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union and that China must avoid them so as not to succumb to the same fate. But the Soviet Union fell just before the internet became today’s information superhighway.

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Man typing on keyboard with heart symbol hologram

Her (2013): If You Created Her, Is It Real Love?

In this retrospective Mind Matters movie review, Adam Nieri ponders the questions raised by a thoughtful AI film

Unlike Catherine, Samantha is exactly what Theodore was looking for. No surprise there; Samantha is, literally, adjusted and updated according to Theodore’s preferences from when he initially began speaking to her. She exists only to be Theodore’s soulmate. Is that enough?

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Photo by Bret Kavanaugh

Yes, Split Brains Are Weird, But Not the Way You Think

Scientists who dismiss consciousness and free will ignore the fact that the higher faculties of the mind cannot be split even by splitting the brain in half

Patients after split-brain surgery are not split people. They feel the same, act the same, and think the same, for all intents and purposes. Materialists like Jerry Coyne focus on subtle differences and distort the big picture.

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

Can We Outsource Hiring Decisions to AI and Go for Coffee Now?

I would have fired any of my hiring managers who demonstrated characteristic AI traits immediately. So why do we tolerate it coming from a machine?

With historically low unemployment, employers are tempted to reduce costs and speed up the process using artificial intelligence (AI) systems. These systems might help but, for best results, let’s have a look at the problems they can’t solve and some that they might create.

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Soldiers are Using Drone for Scouting During Military Operation in the Desert.

Book at a Glance: Robert J. Marks’s Killer Robots

What if ambitious nations such as China and Iran develop lethal AI military technology but the United States does not?

Artificial intelligence expert Robert J. Marks tackles the contentious subject of military drones in his just-published book, The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s military needs to continue the development of lethal AI. Many sources (30 countries, 110+ NGOs, 4500 AI experts, the UN Secretary General, the EU, and 26 Nobel Laureates) have called for these lethal AI weapons to be banned. Dr. Marks, a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, disagrees. What if ambitious nations such as China and Iran develop lethal AI military technology but the United States does not? Nations that wish to maintain independence (sovereignty), he argues, must remain competitive in military AI. (“Advanced technology not only wins wars but gives pause Read More ›

Panorama starry landscape. Panorama of the universe. Planet and stars rise.

Scientific American Explores Panpsychism… Respectfully

This is a major change. At one time, a science mag would merely ridicule the idea of a conscious universe

Make no mistake, panpsychism—as Goff elucidates it—is a purely naturalist view (“nothing supernatural or spiritual”). But, unlike the village atheist, he goes on to ask, but then what is nature? Matter is all there is? But what is matter? It turns out, no one really knows.

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Robotic filmmaking. Talented robots shoots television movie or motion picture. Creative filmmakers robotic crew director, assistant with spotlight and cameraman behind the scene. Automated process of creating video content. Red wall studio background.

Can AI Help Hollywood Predict the Next Big Hit?

AI analysis sifts the past finely. But how well does the past predict the future?

AI does pose at least one threat to filmmaking. It could intensify the very tone-deafness that studios hope it can fix: Too much reliance on ever more finely grained analysis of the patterns in past data could blind decision makers to the real risks, volatility, and opportunities in the future. That’s a recipe for losing money and inflicting “Oh, not that again!” on audiences.

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Photo by Wherda Arsianto

Serious Media In China Have Gone Strangely Silent

With a compulsory new app, the government can potentially access journalists’ phones, both for surveillance and capturing data

Liu Hu sums up the scene in a few words: “Outside of China, journalists are fired for writing false reports… Inside China, they are fired for telling the truth.”

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Photo by Austin Distel

EVERYONE Can Beat the Market!

We’ve all heard: “No one can beat the market.” Is that true? Let’s look a little deeper

Using your talents to identify and invest in high-quality assets and pull money away from low-quality assets is a benefit to everyone involved in the market and, on the larger scale, the market’s future. If you invest in this way, you will beat the market.

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop

AI Goes to Hollywood

Warner Bros. hopes Cinelytic's AI will save time while making more reasonable financial estimates, thus forestalling expensive box office blunders

Cinelytic’s AI does is what every AI does at its most basic level. It collects and sifts large amounts of data to find patterns that can be used to make predictions. AI excels at pattern recognition because that is its only purpose. Humans aren’t so linear or predictable.

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Pleasant girl and robot working in the office

Robots Move? Tax Them!

Some policymakers see robots as a direct threat to jobs and hope taxes will slow them down

Jay Richards asks: Just imagine if our government had taxed earlier technological innovations because they threatened jobs. Does anyone think a targeted “tractor tax” would have been a good idea in the early twentieth century?

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