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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Monthly Archive February 2020

Concept of brain recording for parkinson surgery

Why Pioneer Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield Said the Mind Is More Than the Brain

He gave three lines of reasoning, based on brain surgery on over a thousand patients

Michael Egnor points out that Penfield offered three lines of evidence: His inability to stimulate intellectual thought during brain operations, the inability of seizures to cause intellectual thought, and his inability to stimulate the will. … So he concluded that the intellect and the will are not from the brain. Which is precisely what Aristotle said.

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Science fiction city dystopia panorama / 3D illustration of futuristic post apocalyptic sci-fi city ruins under bright sky

Tales of the Loop: Pushing the Boundaries of the Possible

Simon Stålenhag’s captivating post-apocalyptic landscapes remind us that the world could, at any time, be different from what we think it is

Science fiction, as an art, has always meant to inspire. It’s meant to push the boundaries of the possible. And Stålenhag’s world isn’t just different, it’s unique.

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Atomic structure. Futuristic concept on the topic of nanotechnology in science. The nucleus of an atom surrounded by electrons on a technological background

Theoretical Physicist Slams Panpsychism

Electrons cannot be conscious, in Sabine Hossenfelder’s view, because they cannot change their behavior

Hossenfelder’s impatience is understandable but she underestimates the seriousness of the problem serious thinkers about consciousness confront. There is a reason that some scientists believe that the universe is conscious: It would be more logically coherent to say that you think the universe is conscious than to say that your own consciousness is an illusion. With the first idea, you may be wrong. With the second idea, you are not anything. 

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Two Scientists in the Brain Research Laboratory work on a Project, Using Personal Computer with MRI Scans Show Brain Anomalies. Neuroscientists at Work.

Pioneer Neuroscientists Believed the Mind Is More Than the Brain

A number of them were Nobel Laureates and their views were informed by their work

In a podcast discussion with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor talks about how many famous neuroscientist became dualists—that is, they concluded that there is something about human beings that goes beyond matter—based on observations they made during their work.

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young asian man working from home

The Future of Transportation is Not Going Anywhere

As legislators and lobbyists wrangle, we may be trying to solve a problem that is gradually solving itself

The last decade has resounded with failed predictions about the future of transportation. I can't speak for other locations, but the Great E-Scooter Revolution of 2019 has both come and gone in the city in which I live. Isn’t the real future of transportation working and shopping at home? Why not just let the electrons do the commute and streamline the grocery run? 

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Photo by Josh Marshall

What Is the Difference Between “Soul” and “Spirit”?

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor explains the subtle distinction between the meaning of the two, often confused, terms

Loosely speaking, the soul is the principle of life in a body and the spirit refers more to the immaterial aspects of the soul, which are the ability to reason and the ability to make decisions based on reason.

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Market street in Kashgar during Chinese National Holiday (Xinjiang, China)

China: Sophisticated Surveillance Decides Who Gets Sent to Uyghur Camps

The leak of documents from police in Karakax County in Xinjiang reveal the details of everyday life that can send a Uyghur to the camps

The tracking app used by the police aggregates all of the data of people living in Xinjiang. Based on the parameters, or “micro-clues” that police put in the app, prompts the user to collect additional details or determines whether that person should be detained. This could include “not socializing with neighbors, often avoiding using the front door,” or using more electricity than others.

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Text paper trees

How Can We Study Consciousness Scientifically?

Tam Hunt offers some ideas at Scientific American but his dismissal of objectivity is cause for concern. There is a better way.

Hunt is right that the scientific study of consciousness using merely third-person objective data is flawed—it is the idiotic flaw of behaviorism—but the notion that “objective” data needs scare quotes opens the door to a deconstruction of our knowledge of the natural world that is every bit as idiotic and dangerous as the crude materialist objectification of consciousness.

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Beautiful bored people bored isolated on pink background

Are Facial Expressions a Clear, Simple Basis for Hiring Decisions?

Marketing AI to employers to analyze facial expressions ignores the fact that correlation is NOT causation

Have you heard of the Law of the Instrument? It just means, to quote one formulation, “He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.” All any given problem needs is a good pounding. This is a risk with AI, as with amateur carpentry. But with AI, it can get you into more serious trouble. Take hiring, for instance.

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Asian Doctor with the stethoscope equipment hand holding the Artificial intelligence of brain technology over Abstract photo blurred of hospital background, AI and physician concept

How AI Can Make Medicine Better—or Not

Experts offer some real-world cautions about powerful new AI tools

Medicine involves many risks, benefits, and tradeoffs. Early diagnosis, for example, can certainly be defended and promoted on a right-to-know basis. But that is not the same thing as saying that it reliably improves outcomes or even enjoyment of life. If a powerful AI method reliably detected the very early onset of Alzheimer, it might ruin a senior's early retirement years without changing the outcome much. Getting the most from AI will include determining the relationship between what it can potentially do and what will provide a medical benefit.

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Man in black hat in the rain at dark overcast street

How Can AI Help with Real-Life Cold Case Files?

AI doesn’t create new ideas in police work; rather, it does the work that police, who must move on to urgent, fresh cases, don’t have time to do

When no new leads emerge in a murder or missing persons investigation, police must shift their resources to cases that offer new information. Currently, the FBI Uniform Crime Report keeps an estimated 250,000 cold cases on file. Recent developments in AI, however, have shed light on some of these old and cold cases.

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Man typing on keyboard background with brain hologram. Concept of big Data.

Which Career-Limiting Data Mistake Are YOU Most at Risk For?

Award-winning data science author Gary Smith says the odds depend on your relationship to the data

Dr. Smith thinks that the most dangerous error is putting data before theory. Many data-mining algorithms that are now being used to screen job applicants, price car insurance, approve loan applications, and determine prison sentences have significant errors and biases that are not due to programmer mistakes and biases, but to a misplaced belief in data-mining.

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Businessman seeing himself in mirror as superhero

Does Science Fiction Encourage Narcissism?

As a sci-fi critic, I think most fans are just looking for a genre where they can understand and be understood

It’s true that many people who are attracted to science fiction feel like outcasts or disconnected from mainstream popular culture. And many of them feel welcome, loved, accepted, and validated in the sci-fi community. Does that really make them narcissists?

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Stop Sign with damage yuliyakosolapova-DmtblAatFtk unsplash

McAfee: Assisted Driving System Is Easily Fooled

Defacing a road sign caused the system to dramatically accelerate the vehicle

Over time, machine vision will become harder to fool than the one that was recently tricked into rapid acceleration by a defaced sign. But it will still be true that a fooled human makes a better decision than a fooled machine because the fooled human has common sense, awareness, and a mind that reasons.

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Double personality long exposure artistic creative portrait. Young handsome man profile. looking side. Ghost. abstract conceptual artistic view. representation of subconscious feelings and thoughts

The Mind’s Reality Is Consistent with Neuroscience

A neglected “dualist” theory offers some insights

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor thinks that the explanation of the relationship of the mind to the brain that best fits today’s neuroscience is that certain powers, particularly the intellect and will, are not generated by matter but are immaterial. However, other properties of the mind, like perception, memory and imagination are physical, generated by brain matter.

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Soldiers are Using Laptop Computer for Surveillance During Military Operation in the Desert.

Killer Robots Is Now Available in Audible Format

Artificial intelligence expert Robert J. Marks contends that America must remain competitive in lethal AI military technology

In the book, Baylor professor Marks asks “What if ambitious nations such as China and Iran develop lethal AI military technology but the United States does not?” He argues that “Advanced technology not only wins wars but gives pause to otherwise aggressive adversaries.”

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Magnet

Centralization Is Not Inevitable

Even technology is not inevitable; it comes and goes

The coronavirus has demonstrated that centralization has its limits. It's not inevitable, as a recent Analysis post suggests. I predict that when the dust settles on this coronavirus outbreak, the order-of-magnitude greater death rate in China, compared to the 2003 SARS outbreak, will be blamed on central planning.

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robot sit down and thinking

A Philosopher Explains Why Thinking Matter Is Impossible

He’s right but Captain Kirk tumbled to it before him. So did a medieval poet

According to analytical philosopher Richard Johns, we cannot represent ourselves completely mathematically so we cannot generate fundamentally contradictory thoughts about ourselves. Some part of us lies beyond mathematics. An android would not be so lucky, as Captain Kirk realized in an early Star Trek episode.

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water-hands
Photo by mrjn Photography

Why the Mind Cannot Just Emerge from the Brain

The mind cannot emerge from the brain if the two have no qualities in common

In his continuing discussion with Robert J. Marks, Michael Egnor argues that emergence of the mind from the brain is not possible because no properties of the mind have any overlap with the properties of brain. Thought and matter are not similar in any way. Matter has extension in space and mass; thoughts have no extension in space and no mass.

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AI(Artificial Intelligence) concept.

Why Eliminative Materialism Cannot Be a Good Theory of the Mind

Thinking that the mind is simply the brain, no more and no less, involves a hopeless contradiction

How can you have a proposition that the mind doesn’t exist? That means propositions don’t exist and that means, in turn, that you don’t have a proposition.

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