Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Monthly Archive April 2022

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Deep space. High definition star field background . Starry outer space background texture . Colorful Starry Night Sky Outer Space background

Firefly Episode 12: Kaylee Falls For a Recently Undead Man

Further thoughts on the strange developments regarding the organ harvester

Last time, we reflected on the fact that the crew of the Firefly was given a body in the mail. It turned out the man in the coffin had faked his own death. When he woke up, Kaylee, who was having another spat with Simon, decided to fall in love with the recently undead man. This was infuriating and confusing but the show doesn’t give us much time to dwell the implications. While the organ smuggler is telling his tale, the writers suddenly remember that the bad guys have been shooting at the ship this entire time. So, after some superficial shaking on the part of Serenity, the plot trudges on before the viewer can ask any questions. Meanwhile, Serenity…

brain coral
Close up of Grooved brain coral labyrinth

An Ocean in Our Brains?

An “ocean” does not hardly begin to describe our brains.,

An “ocean” does not hardly begin to describe our brains: For years, the brain has been thought of as a biological computer that processes information through traditional circuits, whereby data zips straight from one cell to another. While that model is still accurate, a new study shows that there’s also a second, very different way that the brain parses information: through the interactions of waves of neural activity. The findings help researchers better understand how the brain processes information. Salk Institute, “An ocean in your brain: Interacting brain waves key to how we process information ” at Salk Institute (April 22, 2022) It is probably much more complex even than that. The paper is open access. You may also wish…

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close up man hand type on keyboard laptop to use search engine optimization (SEO) tools for finding customer or promote and advertise about content online for marketing technology and business concept

How Search Engine Results Can Be Distorted

Search providers such as Google are able to increase their ad revenues by distorting the search results delivered to users

Veteran software developer David A. Kruger offered some thoughts on computer security recently at Expensivity and we appreciate the opportunity to republish them here as a series. Last week, we looked at the way data is collected on us for and marketed. This week we look at how search engine results can not be what they seem: Off Target The promise and purpose of search technology is that with it a user can find what they are looking for, not what the search engine provider deems worthy of being found. That creates an inherent conflict of interest when search providers such as Google are able to increase their ad revenues by distorting the search results delivered to users. Distortion, in…

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Transition effect in bar chart statistics and bright windows

Studies Based On Data Mining Can Turn Out To Be Nonsense

As business prof Gary Smith explains at Bloomberg, we can find a great deal of nonsense if all we rely on is a search engine

Many of the studies represented to us in media are not nearly as reliable as we would like to believe, as Gary Smith explains at Bloomberg. He starts with statistician John Ioannidis pointing out that of 34 “highly respected” medical studies and found that only 20 were confirmed by the Reproducibility Project.: I wrote a satirical paper that was intended to demonstrate the folly of data mining. I looked at Donald Trump’s voluminous tweets and found statistically significant correlations between: Trump tweeting the word “president” and the S&P 500 index two days later; Trump tweeting the word “ever” and the temperature in Moscow four days later; Trump tweeting the word “more” and the price of tea in China four days…

college application
Young man writing college or university application form with pen and paper. Student applying or filling document. Scholarship, grant or admission. School website in laptop.

The Scandal of US News College Rankings

The rankings are very important to many students’ futures — but that makes them easy subjects of manipulation

At Academic Influence, we learn: The U.S. News rankings are flawed. But are they better than nothing? True, they’ve led to a standardization of how certain college data are presented. Moreover, they are useful to high school students whose college counselors are absent or unavailable — if only to get some broad sense of which schools are good and which are better. But on balance, the U.S. News rankings make higher education worse. Schools are motivated to “game” the U.S. News rankings, introducing superficial and even counterproductive changes that raise their ranking but do nothing to provide a better education for students or a more productive environment for faculty. Worse yet, some schools will simply lie to U.S. News to…

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Colored powder explosion. Abstract closeup dust on backdrop. Colorful explode. Paint holi

Muskageddon! Elon Musk, World’s Richest Man, Now Owns Twitter

And wants it to be more of a free speech platform. How will that go? Musk claims to be committed to free speech. That’s the biggest single social media change in a decade. As the smoke clears, many top U. S. media pros have expressed what can only be described as “grave concern” about this: I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022 Responses range from staid “Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, and an investor in Tesla and Twitter, believes that Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter will ultimately benefit the company and its users, amid concerns about how the…

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Chatbot / Social Bot mit Quellcode und Keyboard

Why GPT-3 Can’t Understand Anything

Without long-term memory, human conversation becomes impossible

There is a mathematical reason why machine learning systems like GPT-3 are incapable of understanding. The reason comes down to the fact that machine learning has no memory. It is just probabilistic associations. If there is only a 10% chance of going off topic, then after just seven exchanges there is a greater than 50% chance the machine learning model has gone off topic. The problem is that when prediction is just based on probabilities, the likelihood of making a misprediction increases exponentially. A long-term memory is needed in order to maintain long-term coherence. GPT-3 is essentially a sophisticated Markov process. What is important about the Markov process is that the next step in the process is only dependent on…

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Biological and science background

Michael Crichton would call Twitterheads “Scoundrels”

Why “Scientific Consensus” is an Oxymoron

Twitter has a new policy concerning tweets: “Misleading advertisements on #Twitter that contradict the scientific consensus on #climatechange are prohibited, in line with its inappropriate content policy.” The word pairing “scientific consensus” used in this policy is a destructive science-stifling oxymoron. Michael Crichton (1942–2008) would surely have said so. Crichton was the author of wonderful science fiction, including Jurassic Park. and The Andromeda Strain. In a lecture at Caltech, the late master story teller gave Twitter’s policy a gut punch: Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach…

Office colleagues using digital devices during meeting, consulting internet

Doug Smith on How To Get Off Big Tech’s Screen Drug

The most powerful technologies the world has ever seen manipulate us into spending more time than a typical full-time job looking at our screens

When Andrew McDiarmid interviewed Christian author Doug Smith about his book [Un]Intentional How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires, and How You Can Break Free (2018, updated 2021), Smith offered some insights into are ruining our lives. Now in this episode (183), he talks about how to sever Big Tech’s strings: Show Notes and Additional Resources follow. Andrew McDiarmid: Let’s just briefly summarize the problem and then move into some of the solutions you present. So what are some of the ways that our screens are secretly shaping our desires? Doug Smith: Well, the long and the short of it is, it’s ultimately they use the most powerful technologies the world has ever seen to manipulate us into spending more time…

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Human internal organs on metal plate ready for organ transplant.

Firefly 12: The Amazing Mail Order Human Body

The episode, while still interesting, returned to a pattern of puzzling plot developments

I was disappointed with Episode 12. After a run of three great episodes in a row, we experience yet another drop in quality. This drop is marked by the classic telltale sign of a bad episode: Simon says something stupid, and Kaylee storms off in a huff. The context of this conversation is not important; the bottom line is, Kaylee is mad, so all the other women are mad because nobody loves poor Simon. While Kaylee is being consoled, Captain Mal and Zoë are actually doing something important, retrieving the crew’s mail. Now, this plot development was not irksome at first, because Jayne gets a letter from his mother and a funny hat. This made sense. If the crew is…

Chatbot / Social Bot mit Quellcode im Hintergrund

AI Companies Are Massively Faking the Loophole in the Turing Test

I propose the Turing Test be further strengthened by presuming a chatbot is human until proven otherwise

Computer pioneer Alan Turing was posed the question, how do we know if an AI has human like intelligence? He offered his famous Turing test: If human judges cannot differentiate the AI from a human, then it has human-like intelligence. His test has spawned a number of competitions in which participants try to fool judges into thinking that a chatbot is really a human. One of the best-known chatbots was Eugene Goostman, which fooled the judges into thinking it was a 13-year-old boy — mostly by indirection and other distraction techniques to avoid the sort of in-depth questioning that shows that a chatbot lacks understanding. However, there is a loophole in this test. Can you spot the loophole? What better…

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In Control Room Doctor and Radiologist Discuss Diagnosis while Watching Procedure and Monitors Showing Brain Scans Results, In the Background Patient Undergoes MRI or CT Scan Procedure.

Can a Human Being Be Gifted Despite Missing Lots of Brain?

So many would think — but that’s not what the evidence shows

A most interesting recent article by Grace Browne at Wired discusses the fact that a woman who prefers to be known only as EG — but is in her fifties — has lived a quite interesting life while missing a large portion of her brain: For EG, who is in her fifties and grew up in Connecticut, missing a large chunk of her brain has had surprisingly little effect on her life. She has a graduate degree, has enjoyed an impressive career, and speaks Russian—a second language––so well that she has dreamed in it. She first learned her brain was atypical in the autumn of 1987, at George Washington University Hospital, when she had it scanned for an unrelated reason.…

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Blue glowing 4 dimensional object in space abstract fractal background

Hard Problem of Consciousness Solved?: A 4th Spatial Dimension?

Philosopher Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes argues that higher spatial dimensions might hold the key

In an abridged chapter of his recent book Modes of Sentience (2021), University of Exeter philosopher of mind, Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes, argues that higher spatial dimensions might hold the key to the hard problem of consciousness:” He is a fan of the More–Broad–Smithies theory of consciousness: The word tesseract was coined by the aforementioned mathematician and author Charles Howard Hinton, [58] whose work on the fourth dimension can be used to our ends. In his essay of 1880, ‘What is the fourth dimension?’ – published four years prior to the related book Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott – Hinton employs analogy to lower dimensional worlds to elucidate a speculated four-dimensional world. I shall briefly explain it, then connect this four dimensional world to the n-dimensional world of…

Chimpanzees Uganda Alain Houle CC By 4 0

Claim: Research Shows That Animals Have a Moral Sense

We are informed at Nautilus, the Templeton Foundation’s magazine, that “ It’s time to take moral emotion in animals seriously.” Really?

Philosopher James Hutton starts out his article as a sort of a “trick.” He describes the animals he works with as if they were colleagues. Then, in paragraph four, he announces, “But there are a couple of important details about Amy and Sidney that you should know. The first is that they aren’t workers in any conventional sense, but participants in an experiment.” Coming to the point, they’re dogs. And anyone who had been reading carefully would realize that they were animals, probably dogs or horses. But now here is the supposed big revelation from the University of Vienna experiments Hutton describes: The first big idea is that the moral attitudes of human beings are thoroughly emotional in nature. Of…

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Dolbadarn Castle

Yes! There Is Evidence For the Intelligent Design of the Brain

If our brains were not intelligently designed, we would have no reason to believe anything our senses tell us

This is a big topic, of course. The brain, like all of biology, is obviously intelligently designed. From the elegant coordination of neural activity between neurons and brain regions to the remarkable law-like behavior of individual molecules and atoms that comprise neurons and neurotransmitters, the brain carries the unmistakable fingerprint of a Designer. But there is another common-sense way to infer design of the brain that is simple and I think quite convincing — it is based on our belief that our perceptions and concepts accord with truth. To see how this points to intelligent design of the brain, consider a very compelling argument for God’s existence proposed by philosopher Richard Taylor (1919–2003) in his book Metaphysics. Thomist philosopher Edward…

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data transformation, factory processing binary code

Sometimes, Money Really Is the Explanation

Today's internet is a concentration of power, in terms of information, never before seen in history

Veteran software developer David A. Kruger offered some thoughts on computer security recently at Expensivity. We appreciate the opportunity to republish them here as a series. Last week we looked at the fact that the cybercriminal isn’t necessarily the weirdo in the hoodie. He could just a boring corporate bureaucrat collecting data on you that his boss plans to use later. Now we look at where the money in the business is: It’s All About the Benjamins Why are HDCs [human data collectors] so willing to abuse their own users? For the money and the power that comes from having lots of it. In 2002, Google discovered that the raw human data it was collecting from its users to increase…

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Man chained to computer

How Social Media Are Ruining Our Lives

If we can’t stand five minutes in a lineup without checking our phones, we have a problem

Recently, Andrew McDiarmid interviewed Christian author Doug Smith about his book [Un]Intentional: How Screens Secretly Shape Your Desires, and How You Can Break Free (2018, updated 2021). Smith tries to help us navigate the unusual time in which we live, when many are absolutely glued to screens”: Doug Smith: I mean, it’s the families at the restaurant, all looking at their screens instead of looking at each other. It’s the near misses on the interstate because somebody was on their phone. I saw a photo recently of people in Ukraine that were waiting for their train to escape the trials there, and they’re all on their phone, right? I have a friend that’s a missionary in Papua, New Guinea, and…

New York, USA - 26 April 2021: Kubernetes company logo close-up on website page, Illustrative Editorial.
New York, USA - 26 April 2021: Kubernetes company logo close-up on website page, Illustrative Editorial

How Does A Kubernetes Cluster Work?

A general overview of the Kubernetes environment

Now that you have some concrete experience using Kubernetes, this article will present the basic theory of how a Kubernetes cluster works. We won’t talk about how to accomplish these things in the present article – the goal is to provide you with a broad understanding of the components of Kubernetes. Basic Kubernetes Components Kubernetes comes with a lot of different components, and it is hard to get them all shown on the same diagram. Therefore, I will just give a high-level picture of what a Kubernetes cluster looks like. The image below shows the basic setup, which we will cover in this article. You see here a separation between the internal Kubernetes network and the Internet. Note that this…

A man going through the dark old tunnel. Tunnel with traffic lights and a silhouette of a man

Remember When Near-Death Experiencers Were Mental Cases?

Scientists “knew” it wasn’t true. Then modern medicine started bringing people back from the dead…

Here’s ScienceDaily’s writeup of the near-death experiences paper published at the New York Academy of Sciences. It didn’t used to be the case that near-death experiences got written up anywhere except in a psychiatrist’s notebook. Something is changing: “Cardiac arrest is not a heart attack, but represents the final stage of a disease or event that causes a person to die,” lead author Parnia explains. “The advent of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) showed us that death is not an absolute state, rather, it’s a process that could potentially be reversed in some people even after it has started. “What has enabled the scientific study of death,” he continues, “is that brain cells do not become irreversibly damaged within minutes of oxygen…

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tunnel of light

Neuroscientists: Near-death perceptions not just hallucinations

Published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

One of the authors, Sam Parnia is a well-known researcher in this area: Due to advances in resuscitation and critical care, many people are surviving near-death experiences. Survivors’ recalled experiences are not consistent with hallucinations, but instead, follow a specific narrative arc involving perception. Scientific advances in the 20th and 21st centuries have led to a major evolution in the understanding of death. At the same time, for decades, people who have survived an encounter with death have recalled unexplained lucid episodes involving heightened consciousness and awareness. These have been reported using the popular—yet scientifically ill-defined—term “near-death experiences”. A multidisciplinary team of national and international leaders, led by Sam Parnia, MD, Ph.D., director of Critical Care and Resuscitation Research at…