Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Monthly Archive August 2021

Kai-Fu Lee, Inventor of Speech Recognition, to Speak at COSM 2021

Lee is one of many technological geniuses appearing in Seattle this November

This November in Seattle, some of the most brilliant minds in technology will gather for COSM, an exclusive national summit on how technology is remaking the world as we know it. Among its many speakers will be Kai-Fu Lee, a computer scientist, businessman, and the inventor of speech recognition. Lee’s credentials are many and impressive. After his Ph.D. work at Carnegie Mellon (which produced continuous speech recognition), he has journeyed through the offices of Apple, SGI, Microsoft, and Google. In 2009, he launched Sinovation Ventures in an effort to financially support up-and-coming Chinese high-tech companies. In 2018, Lee gave a TED talk on how human beings can thrive in an era of AI. The video (posted below) is worth the…

Peter Thiel Speaking in Person at COSM, Seattle, November 10

As a world class venture capitalist, he is known for bluntness about what works and what doesn’t

COSM 2021 is the place to be, November 10–12, to get the inside track on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it. This year, iconic Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel will be speaking in person, addressing the question “Is Technology Soaring or Slumping?” At the first COSM in October 2019, Peter Thiel spoke by interactive video. Not one to mince words, he told the attendees bluntly that Silicon Valley is losing its touch and compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst. He has a remarkable history in both areas. He has been a prime mover in PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. And he had intended to found a university. But,…

Do Brains Really Evolve? The Horseshoe Crab’s Brain Didn’t

It’s very rare to find an intact fossil brain but a rare combination of minerals preserved one from 310 million years ago

Recently, paleontologist Russell Bicknell and colleagues found a fossil horseshoe crab in the Yale Peabody Museum, originally from the Mazon Creek fossil beds near Chicago. That, in itself wasn’t spectacular but, for geological reasons, the creature’s brain was preserved, an extremely rare situation. So how much had the horseshoe crab’s brain changed in 310 million years? Not at all, really: A new beautifully preserved fossil of a horseshoe crab has now revealed that their brains have hardly changed since at least the Carboniferous Period… The brain structure of the ancient crab is almost identical to that of living species. In fact, it is this extraordinary similarity that meant the researchers could be confident that what they were looking at was…

Continuing a discussion with Arjuna Das at Theology Unleashed, Dr. Egnor talks about how neurosurgery shows that the mind is not the brain

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnordid a recent podcast with Arjuna Das at Theology Unleashed, “where Eastern theology meets Western skepticism.” In the previous segment, they discussed the way in which people’s minds sometimes become much clearer near death (terminal lucidity). Dr. Egnor suggested that that may demonstrate that the brain constrains the mind (rather than creating it). In this segment, they look at objections raised to the view that epilepsy provides evidence for the mind as not merely a function of the brain. Dr. Egnor begins by focusing on the work of Wilder Penfield, the founder of epilepsy surgeries, who worked in Montreal in the mid-twentieth century, “a wonderful scientist, one of the best scientists that neurosurgery has produced”: Here is a…

Will Going Mainstream Spoil the Fun for Crypto?

Crypto exchange FTX.US is, for a tidy sum, naming a Berkeley sports field, with philanthropy thrown in

Social Media Was Instrumental in Recent Cuba Protests

Social media broke down barriers and helped galvanize the Cuban people against their Communist government

One month after protests broke out across Cuba, the island’s Communist government has released a new set of internet and social media regulations specifically aimed at cracking down on anti-government activity. The Cuban government released the new regulations on Tuesday, forbidding internet content that is critical of the state’s policies, specifically on “constitutional, social and economic” matters, as well as content that could incite actions “that alter public order.” In addition, Cubans are now encouraged to report any content violating the new regulations, using a government-created form. Penalties for violating the new internet use decrees will be determined by legislation at a later date. Why such a crackdown on internet content? It’s because social media was essential to the widespread…