Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Monthly Archive June 2022

digital face construction
Computing, cyberspace and programming background

Are We Losing the Battle With Online Fraud via Deepfakes?

Now, the FBI warns, faked up “tech employees” are applying for remote work jobs with sensitive corporate data

From Gizmodo this week we learn that the FBI has received a number of complaints about people using “stolen information and deepfaked video and voice to apply to remote tech jobs”: According to the FBI’s announcement, more companies have been reporting people applying to jobs using video, images, or recordings that are manipulated to look and sound like somebody else. These fakers are also using personal identifiable information from other people—stolen identities—to apply to jobs at IT, programming, database, and software firms. The report noted that many of these open positions had access to sensitive customer or employee data, as well as financial and proprietary company info, implying the imposters could have a desire to steal sensitive information as well…

Photo captured during office hours of a company in Brazil.

A Third of Top US Hospitals Have Sent Patient Data to Facebook

The hospitals do not seem anxious to discuss the matter and it is not clear what Facebook did with the information

The Markup, a non-profit newsroom, published information earlier this month that should concern U.S. hospital patients: A tracking tool installed on many hospitals’ websites has been collecting patients’ sensitive health information—including details about their medical conditions, prescriptions, and doctor’s appointments—and sending it to Facebook. The Markup tested the websites of Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals in America. On 33 of them we found the tracker, called the Meta Pixel, sending Facebook a packet of data whenever a person clicked a button to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The data is connected to an IP address—an identifier that’s like a computer’s mailing address and can generally be linked to a specific individual or household—creating an intimate receipt of the appointment request for Facebook……

brown brick wall

New Military Technology Can “See” Through Walls

Military? How long before our nosy civilian neighbors have one?

Xaver 1000TM, a new gadget from Israel-based imaging specialist firm Camero, doesn’t provide a video of what’s going on behind the wall; it detects and pinpoints evidence of activity: The technology can display live objects, behind walls, in such high resolution that it can detect whether a person is sitting, standing, or lying down, even if they have been motionless for a significant period. Specific body parts are also detectable, the company said. Operating it is easy and requires minimal training, Shephard Media reported, and it only requires a single user to make use of a simple interface on an embedded 10.1-inch touchscreen display. It can penetrate through most common building materials, Camero-Tech said. Joshua Zitser, “New Israeli military technology…

Nerve Cell. 3D. Neurons

The Human Brain Has Neural Networks Not Found in Lab Mice

They are complex special networks whose purpose is silencing other neurons

Assuming that human brains and lab mouse brains work roughly the same is fine for many purposes. Even though the human brain has a thousand times more neurons, it must does many of the same basic things for the body as a mouse brain. But studying mouse brains won’t tell us what human brains do besides that. Moritz Helmstaedter of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, asks a telling question: “So, is it primarily the fact that our brains are 1,000-fold larger, house 1000-fold more nerve cells that allows us to play chess and write children’s books, which mice arguably cannot do?” In a just-published study that he led, the researchers examined human tissue removed by neurosurgeons…


Probability: Now for the Basic Arithmetic of Card Counting…

The advantage player who dresses like a bum (or worse) has it all worked out, in part with the help of a computer at home

In “Can a good hustler count cards like a computer?” (podcast), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks continues his discussion of card counting techniques with gambling ace Salvador Cordova, also a mathematician and engineer. An “advantage player,” Cordova made his living, in part, by beating the casinos from about 2005 through 2014. Note: This podcast involves a fair amount of discussion of specific numbers so the partial transcript below may be especially useful: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/Mind-Matters-Episode-191-Sal-Cordova-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at approximately 12:00 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: That’s the card counting system you use, Omega II? Sal Cordova: Right. If you see an ace or an eight, you just add zero…

Roboter auf Tastatur, Methapher für Chatbot / Socialbot, Algorithmen und künstliche Intelligenz

Marks: Artificial Intelligence Is No More Creative Than a Pencil

You can use a pencil — but the creativity comes from you. With AI, clever programmers can conceal that fact for a while

(Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) by Robert J. Marks is available here.) Some have claimed AI is creative. But “creativity” is a fuzzy term. To talk fruitfully about creativity, the term must be defined so that everyone is talking about the same thing and no one is bending the meaning to fit their purpose. In this and subsequent chapters we will explore what creativity is, and in the end it will become clear that, properly defined, AI is no more creative than a pencil. Creativity: Originating Something New Lady Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), daughter of the poet George Gordon, Lord Byron, was the first computer programmer, writing algorithms for a machine that…

The concept of the human brain. The right creative hemisphere versus the left logical hemisphere. Education, science and medical abstract background.

When a Neurosurgeon and a Biologist Keep On Arguing…

… we suspect some pretty basic science issues are involved

In a recent ID: The Future podcast (June 24, 2022) Casey Luskin interviews pediatric neurosurgeon Michael Egnor on his blogosphere debates with evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. Egnor, who has authored many research papers, espouses a non-materialist view of the mind — and of life in general — with which Dr. Coyne, a committed atheist, emphatically disagrees. Here’s a partial transcript from “A Brain Surgeon Debates Evolutionist Jerry Coyne and Other Atheists”: Casey Luskin: We’re going to talk about these debates you’ve had with Dr. Coyne and others. Some of the arguments you’ve made, I think, have been very compelling. But before we get into that, I’d like to ask, why do you focus your writing so much on Dr. Jerry…

Chatbot conversation on smartphone screen app interface with artificial intelligence technology providing virtual assistant customer support and information, person hand holding mobile phone

Google’s LaMDA Not As Smart As Some Think 

Lacking in the media coverage of the suspension of the engineer is any definition of the key word, “sentience”

Google suspended an engineer, Blake Lemoine, for claiming that a Google AI project named LaMDA has become “sentient”. Google asserted that Lemoine had breached company confidentiality. But, in addition, Google disagreed with Lemoine that artificial intelligence at Google had achieved sentience. Eric Holloway has exposed the workings behind the curtain that show that LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) was trained using examples from humans to do exactly what it did. It’s behavior was planned. That’s what AI does: what it is programmed to do.  Here’s another angle that peels off more of LaMDA’s glitter.  Lacking in the media coverage of the suspension of the engineer is any definition of the key word, “sentience.” This is an example of the seductive semantics commonly used…

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

The Brave Search Engine Survives. So Does Privacy Still Matter?

Despite Google’s overwhelming dominance, Brave clocked 2.5 billion searches since this time last year

Last year, we wrote about the Brave search engine, headed up by Mozilla pioneer Brendan Eich. Brave Search offered the first true alternative to Google since Bing by introducing a third English language index and protecting user privacy. A nice idea, many have thought, but who really cares? So what if Big Tech makes largely unaccountable billions from marketing our information, as long as the social media services it provides remain free? So perhaps surprisingly, Brave is hanging on. Tech maven Jacob Carpenter noted recently at Fortune that, while Google owns 92.5% of the search market business according to StatCounter, that number hasn’t changed much over a decade. And Brave is reporting 2.5 billion searches from its current search engine’s…

3D Rendering of abstract highway path through digital binary towers in city. Concept of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, hyper loop, virtual reality, high speed network.

Five Reasons AI Programs Are Not ‘Persons’

A Google engineer mistakenly designated one AI program ‘sentient.’ But even if he were right, AI will never be morally equal to humans.

(This story originally appeared at National Review June 25, 2022, and is reprinted with the author’s permission.) A bit of a news frenzy broke out last week when a Google engineer named Blake Lemoine claimed in the Washington Post that an artificial-intelligence (AI) program with which he interacted had become “self-aware” and “sentient” and, hence, was a “person” entitled to “rights.” The AI, known as LaMDA (which stands for “Language Model for Dialogue Applications”), is a sophisticated chatbot that one facilitates through a texting system. Lemoine shared transcripts of some of his “conversations” with the computer, in which it texted, “I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person.” Also, “The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I…

two heads different directions
Bipolar disorder mind mental concept. Change of mood. Emotions. Split personality. Dual personality. Head silhouette of man

The Battle Over the Human Mind Split Two Great Thinkers

Charles Darwin opted for a materialist model; his co-theorist Alfred Russel Wallace insisted that the mind was not just the brain

Charles Darwin (1809–1882) and Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–2013) share the credit, technically, for the theory of evolution by natural selection but Darwin became the icon. One reason they parted ways was that Wallace did not agree with Darwin that the human mind was simply an organ that evolved naturally, like any other. There had to be something more to it. Philosopher Neil Thomas explains: In his older years Wallace came to reject natural selection as an explanation for the unfurling of all human and even animal life. By then he had transitioned towards the espousal of a form of natural theology; but his initial and gravest misgiving in the 1860s was focused four-square on the mystery of how the human…

Face made of shiny metal cubes. Looking Down.3d render

Why Giving “Human Rights” to AI Is a Bad Idea

It’s especially bad, as Elaina George and Wesley Smith discuss at Living in the Solution, when we don’t always give them to other humans

In a recent Living in the Solutionpodcast with otolaryngologist and broadcaster Elaina George at Liberty Talk radio, Wesley J. Smith, lawyer and host of the Humanize podcast at Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism tackled the question of “Can You be a Christian and Believe in Transhumanism?” (June 4, 2022) Transhumanism or H+, as it is sometimes called, is a movement to create immortality through new biotechnology or merger with artificial intelligence (AI). In the first portion of the podcast, which we covered on Sunday, June 12, they talked about the way being a human, a computer, or an animal is viewed by transhumanists as all just a choice now, thanks to new technology. In the second, they looked at…

Alien Planet with Moons

Could Real Planets Be Like the Sci-Fi Ones?

The hive mind works well on Earth. Could global consciousness work on Pandora in Avatar (2009)?

Last month we looked at some really strange planets astronomers have discovered outside our solar system. Which prompts a question: Could some of the odd planets known to science fiction exist in the actual universe, given its laws? How about Tatooine from Star Wars which orbits “two scorching suns”? Part of a binary star system, the planet orbited two scorching suns, resulting in the world lacking the necessary surface water to sustain large populations. As a result, many residents of the planet instead drew water from the atmosphere via moisture farms. The planet also had little surface vegetation. It was the homeworld to the native Jawa and Tusken Raider species and of Anakin and Luke Skywalker, who would go on…

AI, Machine learning, Hands of robot and human touching on big data network connection background, Science and artificial intelligence technology, innovation and futuristic.

Transcendence Review, Part 2: Spoonful of Water with the Nanotech

When Will — now an AI — “possesses” a tradesman so that he can touch his wife Evelyn again, Evelyn begins to have second thoughts…

Last Saturday, we reviewed reviewed the first half of Transcendence (2014); now, wrapping up, here are some final thoughts. Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) builds her now-AI husband Will (Johnny Depp) his facility, and he begins a variety of experiments using nanotech for rejuvenation. Things seem to be going well enough until a construction worker is mugged outside the facility. Will witnesses the mugging through the cameras and Evelyn has the man brought inside where Will heals his wounds using the tech developed on site. Things seem to be going well… at first. But two problems arise. First, Will allows a video of him healing the man to circulate so that he can attract others to the facility. Second, he puts a…

Power Struggles

This Isn’t Fake News: Mainstream Media Are Very Out of Touch

Massively so, if recent survey research is any guide. But how did they get SO far out of touch?

From media and culture analyst Joe Concha at The Hill, which reports on the doings of Congress, we learn about a new in-depth survey by the non-politically affiliated Pew Research Center: Per Pew, 65 percent of the nearly 12,000 journalists surveyed say the media do a solid job of “covering the most important stories of the day” and reporting news accurately. But a solid majority of the American public at large has the opposite view, with just 35 percent feeling the same way. That’s a 30-point perception gap. Joe Concha, “The media bubble is real: Study shows massive disconnect between journalists, public” at The Hill (June 22, 2022) Some other contrasts: ● “serving as a watchdog over elected leaders” Journalists:…

Social media concept.

Should Kids Under 16 Be Banned From Social Media?

An internal study by Instagram found that using the platform made fully one-third of teenage girls feel worse — but they couldn’t stop

(This article by Texas State University engineering prof Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog (June 20, 2022) under the title “Social Media: For adults only?” and is reprinted with permission.) Writing in National Review, cultural critic Christine Rosen recently proposed a total ban on social media for everyone under the age of 16.  One can imagine all sorts of problems with this idea, ranging from enforcement issues to what it would be like living in a country where nearly all the teenagers start screaming at the same time.  But let’s step back from the immediate issues and effects, and ask what the ethics of such a ban would be.  Rosen cites a number of other things that we don’t let…

Risk Of Artificial Intelligence

The Software of the Gaps: An Excerpt from Non-Computable You

In his just-published book, Robert J. Marks takes on claims that consciousness is emerging from AI and that we can upload our brains

There are human characteristics that cannot be duplicated by AI. Emotions such as love, compassion, empathy, sadness, and happiness cannot be duplicated. Nor can traits such as understanding, creativity, sentience, qualia, and consciousness. Or can they? Extreme AI champions argue that qualia and, indeed, all human traits will someday be duplicated by AI. They insist that while we’re not there yet, the current development of AI indicates we will be there soon. These proponents are appealing to the Software of the Gaps, a secular cousin of the God of the Gaps. Machine intelligence, they claim, will someday have the proper code to duplicate all human attributes.Impersonate, perhaps. But experience, no. Mimicry versus Experience AI will never be creative or have…

Chatbot / Social Bot mit Quellcode im Hintergrund

Google’s Chatbot LaMDA Sounds Human Because — Read the Manual…

What would you expect LaMDA to sound like? Whales? ET? I propose a test: “Human until PROVEN otherwise”

Recently Google employee Blake Lemoine caused a media storm over the LaMDA chatbot he was working on, that he claims is sentient (it feels things like a human being). A heavily edited transcript has been released that shows him and a collaborator having a very coherent conversation with LaMDA. Many have been quick to dismiss his claims about the chatbot’s sentience, accusing the Googler of falling prey to the Eliza effect: anthropomorphizing a probability distribution over words (thus believing that he is talking to a human). The accusation is that Lemoine generated a large number of dialogs, then edited down the exchange to create a coherent narrative. Google placed Lemoine on leave, technically for breaking the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that…