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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…

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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

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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 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 transponder…

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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:…

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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…

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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…

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Can You Really Be a Card Counter Without Resorting to Magic?

Math nerd (and successful gambler) Salvador Cordova explains how card counters improve their odds in blackjack

Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks is back withSalvador Cordova, mathematician, engineer — and gambling ace. In previous episodes, they discussed why most players lose and how “advantage players” — those who understand the game, the players, the management, and the mathematical probabilities — sometimes clean out casinos. Of course, they also sometimes get kicked out, as has happened to Cordova, and new rules and precautions ensue. And, doubtless, new ways are found around them. In this new podcast episode, “Can a good hustler count cards like a computer?”, Cordova says a bit more about how the pros improve their odds from pure chance by card counting. He made his living, inpart, that way from about 2005 through 2014.…

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Ever Wish You Had Total Recall? Ask People Who Do…

Recall of every detail of one’s past works out better for some people than for others

Marilu Henner who played Elaine Nardo in the sitcom Taxi (1978–1983), has total recall: She can recall, off the top of her head, the exact day she got the part. “It was June 4 of 1978. It was a Sunday and I found out at the ‘Grease’ premiere party,” Henner said. “‘Taxi’ is so vivid to my mind. The very first rehearsal was July the 5 th of 1978. That was a Wednesday and our first show was shot the 14 th, a Friday.” The actress, who has also starred in “L.A. Story” (1991) and “Man on the Moon” (1999), is one of only 12 people in the world diagnosed with hyperthymesia, also known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. David…

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Literary fiction, police inspector, investigate crime and mystery story conceptual idea with sherlock holmes detective hat, smoking pipe, retro magnifying glass and book isolated on wood table top

Researchers: Learning by Inference Beats Learning by Association

They found that seeing the patterns underlying events (inference) allowed test volunteers to make predictions about future events

When we learn by association, we notice that some things occur together. For example, suppose three items are frequently seen together on a kitchen table — salt, ketchup, and vinegar. So we might learn to associate salt and vinegar with ketchup. But what, if any, is the relationship? When we infer information about the world around us, we don’t just associate items with each other. We see the pattern underlying them. By seeing the pattern in the group of condiments, we learn more: In this case, we infer that dinner will likely be fish and chips. If the group had been plum sauce, soya sauce, and Sriracha sauce, we would infer that fish and chips won’t be served this time;…

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Chatbot assistant, Ai Artificial Intelligence

Prof: How We Know Google’s Chatbot LaMDA Is Not a “Self”

Carissa Véliz, an Oxford philosophy prof who studies AI, explains where Google engineer Blake Lemoine is getting things mixed up

Say what you want about Blake “LaMDA is a person!” Lemoine. He has forced many people to help us clarify what AI — and in particular, a large language program — is and is not. For that, we should thank him. First, LaMDA is not conscious, sentient, not a self. And second, it’s not even a new idea, just a much bigger and more sophisticated version of a 1960s idea. Oxford philosophy prof Carissa Véliz, author of Privacy Is Power (2021) reminds us of philosopher Thomas Nagel’s seminal question, What is it like to be a bat? Nagel meant that, if an entity is be conscious or sentient, there must be something that it “is like” to be that entity.…

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a german train passes a train station

The “My Train Is Moving Too!” Illusion

Special neurons help us study the motion of others when we are moving too — but they can sometimes be fooled

Do you recall that odd feeling when — sitting on a train that you know is standing still — you suddenly feel that it is moving (!)? It happens when you are watching a moving train right beside you and there is no other reference point. There’s a name for that: vection, “the sensation of movement of the body in space produced purely by visual stimulation.” It is a staple, of course, of IMAX films and virtual reality displays. And it’s a fairly easy illusion to produce: It turns out that vection can be induced with any sufficiently decent screen and some scenery. Experimenters can put make people believe they’re spinning in a circle, zipping back and forth, and even…

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Working Data Center Full of Rack Servers and Supercomputers, Modern Telecommunications, Artificial Intelligence, Supercomputer Technology Concept.3d rendering,conceptual image.

Engineer: Failing To See His AI Program as a Person Is “Bigotry”

It’s not different, Lemoine implies, from the historical injustice of denying civil rights to human groups

Earlier this month, just in time for the release of Robert J. Marks’s book Non-Computable You, the story broke that, after investigation, Google dismissed a software engineer’s claim that the LaMDA AI chatbot really talked to him. Engineer Blake Lemoine, currently on leave, is now accusing Google of “bigotry” against the program. He has also accused Wired of misrepresenting the story. Wired reported that he had found an attorney for LaMDA but he claims that LaMDA itself asked him to find an attorney. He went on to say, I think every person is entitled to representation. And I’d like to highlight something. The entire argument that goes, “It sounds like a person but it’s not a real person” has been…

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October walk in the rain, a young woman with a red umbrella in the autumn city park, autumn look

Computer Prof: You Are Not Computable and Here’s Why Not

In a new book, Baylor University’s Robert J. Marks punctures myths about the superhuman AI that some claim will soon replace us

In a just-released book, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks II explains, as a computer engineering professor at Baylor University, why humans are unique and why artificial intelligence cannot replicate us: ”Emotions that make us human will never be duplicated by a machine,” says Marks. “These include compassion, love, empathy, elation, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, pleasure, pride, excitement, embarrassment, regret, jealousy, grief, hope, and faith. Properly defined, creativity, sentience, and understanding are also on the list. These and other non-algorithmic traits are evidence of non-computable you.” Discovery Institute, “Are Future Humans Doomed To Be Replaced By Artificial Intelligence?” at PR NewsWire (June 21, 2022) Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) is…

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New strong password and weak ones near keyboard.

Forget Your Password? Apple Wants To End Them for Good But…

Do you want to give Apple your face- and fingerprints, maybe other “biometrics” down the road…?

We’ve all heard the tales of woe about people whose password was “password” or “123456” or “BertJones”. Currently, Big Tech, tired of the flak and the fallout, is trying to end passwords. Here’s Apple’s approach: When Apple’s latest software updates for iPhones, iPads and Macs arrive this fall, they will include a way for users to log into various online accounts without entering passwords or relying on password managers to save and fill in credentials. The technology generates unique passkeys for each app or browser-based service in the place of characters. Those passkeys, a new type of identity authentication, prompt a scan of your face or fingerprints to log you in… Passkeys, like those from Apple, are made up of…