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Walter Bradley Center: Year in Review 2020

Despite COVID-19, we had a very productive year

Mind Matters News is sponsored by the non-profit Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence at Discovery Institute. Will you help Mind Matters News continue by supporting the work of the Bradley Center with an end-of-year donation?

In a world awash with over-hyped claims (both pro and con) about artificial intelligence, the work of the Bradley Center couldn’t be more timely and important.

People know at a fundamental level that they are not machines. But faulty thinking can cause people to adopt views that in their heart of hearts they know to be untrue. The Bradley Center seeks to help individuals—and our society at large—to realize that we are not machines, while at the same time helping to put machines (especially computers and AI) in proper perspective. In place of an idolatry that would make machines our masters, the Bradley Center works for a society that will regard machines as our servants and help us to understand the best ways for machines to enhance life and human flourishing.

Directed by Baylor University professor Robert J. Marks, the Bradley Center is guided by the vision of Discovery Institute board member and entrepreneur William Dembski. The Center disseminates its work through online media, books and articles, original research, and conferences and events.

The Center’s broadest outreach is Mind Matters News which supplies news, analysis, and weekly podcasts that explore issues relating to mind, brain, neuroscience, personal responsibility, free speech, automation, and the use and abuse of new technologies. Under the editorship of Denyse O’Leary, Mind Matters News has published more than 500 articles in 2020, attracting more than 800,000 users to its website and reaching another 330,000+ users through the Apple News platform, for a combined audience of over 1.1 million.

The Mind Matters News podcast has produced more than 50 new episodes, which have been downloaded 130,000 times. Hosted by Robert J. Marks, the podcast tackled topics such as “Can Computers Think?,” “Artificial Intelligence Gaming the Stock Market,” “AI Development in Russia,” and “The Evolution (Or Not) of Consciousness,” “Distracted by Virtual Reality,” and “How Will Artificial Intelligence Impact the World by 2084?” Noted podcast guests included economist George Gilder, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Scientific American contributing author Bernardo Kastrup, Oxford University mathematician John Lennox, University of Miami research statistician Daniel Andrés Díaz-Pachón, and Jonathan Sackier, Chief Medical Officer of Helius Medical Technologies.

On the publication front, the Bradley Center and its Fellows were involved in the production of several new books in 2020. Starting off the year was Robert J. Marks’ short book, The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s Military Needs to Continue Development of Lethal AI, which was praised as “succinct, well-reasoned, detailed, and provocative” by Donald Wunsch, Director of the Applied Computational Intelligence Lab at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Dr. Marks participated in more than 30 media interviews promoting the book, including appearances on Fox News Radio and Coast to Coast with George Noory, the #5 radio show in the nation, which reaches a weekly audience of 10.5 million listeners.

In the fall, the Bradley Center brought out Gaming AI: Why AI Can’t Think but Can Transform Jobs by Discovery Institute co-founder and futurist George Gilder. This incisive short book explains how AI will—and won’t—revolutionize the economy and human life. A reviewer at Amazon.com reported: “I had to pause frequently to relish, savor, delight in the author’s turn of phrase, sardonic wit, barely concealed sarcasms, and magnificent insights.” You can get your own digital copy for free.

Also in 2020, the Bradley Center funded the publication of a revised and expanded edition of the landmark book The Mystery of Life’s Origin that had been co-authored by Walter Bradley, after whom the Center is named. In addition, the Bradley Center’s Robert J. Marks and William Dembski produced their new biography, For a Greater Purpose: The Life and Legacy of Walter Bradley, which tells the story of this remarkable man whose passion for God, science, higher education, and human empowerment provides an excellent model of someone who integrates faith and learning.

Due to COVID-19, the Bradley Center unfortunately had to postpone its 2020 COSM Technology Summit (intended for December 21, 2020) but plans are already underway for COSM 2021. In the meantime, the Center edited and released videos from COSM 2019. The videos have attracted over 85,000 views on the Center’s YouTube channel, which now has over 1,300 subscribers. The videos featured discussions and interviews with luminaries such as Peter Thiel, Steve Forbes, George Gilder, William Dembski, Jay Richards, and others.

If you support the Bradley’s mission to defend human uniqueness while still harnessing the benefits of “intelligent” machines for human flourishing, please donate now!

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Walter Bradley Center: Year in Review 2020