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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive January 2020

Quantum particle, quantum mechanics

Quantum Mechanics Shows That Our Universe Has Purpose

Not only can two physically separated particles influence each other, they can influence each other through time

Recent experiments in entanglement of particles in time as well as space show that our entire universe is imbued with final causality within its very fabric. This final causality must come from some source beyond the universe.

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Drone monitoring barbed wire fence on state border or restricted area. Modern technology for security.

Iran Conflict Shows Why the US Needs Autonomous Lethal AI Weapons

The bipartisan National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence recently released a sobering report about the U.S. lagging in development of killer robots

To remain competitive, the U.S. military must respond and adapt to new warfare technology including weapons using AI, sometimes called killer robots. This includes autonomous AI that acts on its own. Chillingly, unlike atomic weapons, the tools to construct lethal AI weapons are cheap and readily available to all.

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Würfel Fact oder Fake

Do Bots Spreading False News Really Threaten Democracy?

Researchers found that humans spread more false news than bots

The fact that humans outdo bots in spreading false news creates a huge practical problem for would-be reformers. If they want to rub out false news, banning bots from social media would be less effective than banning people.

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shopping online at home concept.Cartons in a shopping cart on a laptop keyboard

Does the Information Society Need a Free Market?

The Gilder Fellows’ July Seminar will wrestle with why Millennials favor socialism

Many Millennials yearn for socialism but, according to the Gilder Fellows scholars, socialism is—at best—irrelevant to the challenges of an information society.

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rib-eye steaks cooking on flaming grill panorama

Meat has no opinions

Why you can't actually deny free will

If we are just meat, as evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne insists, we cannot have a true opinion of the matter. Meat is neither right nor wrong. To have an opinion about free will implies that we accept it.

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Photo by OLEG PLIASUNOV

Did the Economist Really “Interview” an AI?

Perhaps they have a private definition of what an interview "is"…

Faced with a claim that an AI language tool had given an interview, I took the advice I gave readers yesterday, and followed the links. What a revelation. The Economist story was more dishonest than the examples that Siegel discussed in Scientific American.

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Military Drone in the blue sky, 3D rendering

Robert J. Marks: Peace May Depend on Killer Robots

Calls for a ban on killer robots impact the United States but not the non-democratic nations who are developing them now

In an op-ed at CNS this morning, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks summarizes his case, as an artificial intelligence expert, that the United States must remain competitive in military AI or, as it is called, “killer robots,” because hostile nations are forging ahead.

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Demographic Change

Can The Machine TELL If You Are Psychotic or Gay?

No, and the hype around what machine learning can do is enough to make old-fashioned tabloids sound dull and respectable

Media often co-operate with researchers’ inflated claims about machine learning’s powers of discovery. An ingenious “creative” approach to accuracy enables the misrepresentation, says data analyst Eric Siegel.

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Military drone operator looking at computer screen

Killer Robots on the Radio

The issues around AI in warfare seem fairly simple until we look at them more closely

Can we afford to let hostile powers develop AI warfare and not do so ourselves? Artificial intelligence expert Robert J. Marks has been discussing the issue in podcasts with various hosts across the country. 

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Empty plate with parsley leaf

What Your Brain Wishes You Knew About Fasting…

But you'd have to give it a try in order to find out

Why does fasting clarify the mind, instead of making us dizzy and anxious for food? Jay Richards, author of Eat, Fast, Feast (2020), says researchers now think that ketosis (burning stored fat for energy instead of blood sugar) naturally produces clearer thinking.

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Planet surface

Picard (2020): Episode 1 Is an AI-Themed Mystery

The mystery is related to another familiar Star Trek character

Seeing the Star Trek universe from a different perspective—that is, not from the interior of a starship—was super refreshing and rewarding. It gives viewers a unique look at what day-to-day life is like for other people (much as The Mandalorian did for the Star Wars universe).

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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…