Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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The cells of the body are being attacked by bacteria. Generative AI.

Physicists: Perhaps Life Is a Unique State of Matter

A physics gathering next week at the University of Rochester will explore the significance of the fact that life, unlike non-life, needs and uses information
One question the physicists must eventually tackle is, can agency come into existence without an Agent? And how can meaning exist in a mindless universe? Read More ›
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Nanobot enhanced medical breakthroughs medicine

Medical Nanomachines: Our Future Boon — or Bane?

James Tour’s molecular jackhammers could become a new treatment for cancer, says engineering prof Karl Stephan
Nanotechnology poses risks, of course, but Stephan thinks that a bigger risk is reduced funding for groundbreaking research in the years ahead. Read More ›
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Ultra macro ant portrait shot, detailed close-up image of ant's face and trunk.

Why Panpsychism (Everything Is Conscious) Is Gaining Ground

Many life forms do unexpectedly remarkable things. It is simpler to broaden the circle of consciousness than to keep on trying to prove that human consciousness is just an illusion
Panpsychism will face a setback, however, when it tries to show that human consciousness is merely on a continuum with animal consciousness. It isn’t. Read More ›
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The Statue of Liberty over the Scene of New york cityscape river side which location is lower manhattan,Architecture and building with tourist concept

Here Are Some Good Pieces to Read Over the Long Weekend

Reflections on love and freedom from two gifted writers

Happy Independence Day to all the American readers, which, presumably, is most of you! Condolences and best wishes to our British friends as they deal with a large-scale election tomorrow. Many people will be enjoying a particularly long weekend full of hot dogs, fireworks, and summer heat, but one can always use the spare time to catch up on some reading. Here are just a couple of links that I’ve found worthwhile over the last couple days. The first comes from novelist Tara Isabella Burton, who writes a candid piece on overcoming smartphone addiction in Plough. Like many of us, Burton both wrestles with spending too much time on screens but has also made resolutions to overcome her dependency again Read More ›

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Empty cave looking out

Can We Really Study the Minds of Ancient Humans?

The design inference helps sort things out in human paleontology
It’s progress, perhaps, that researchers are defending the role of parsimonious inference. It’s possible to see too much in scattered beads — or too little. Read More ›
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Colorful wooden puzzle brain model. Neurodiversity concept, human mind complexity. Creativity, brainstorming and emotional intelligence.

Neuroscientist: The Mind Is Just the Brain

He cites studies using transcranial magnetic stimulation, which caused subjects to see flashing lights
The fatal flaw in identity theory, as his view is called, is that there is no point of contact between the laws of logic and those of electrochemistry. Read More ›
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plain blank Detailed DIC micrograph of a single-celled Phacus pleuronectes euglenid displaying its distinct striated pellicle, whip-like flagellum, eyespot, paramylon body, and chloroplasts

Dembski Asks the Chatbot: Is Intelligent Design Testable?

ChatGPT4o’s tour through the internet on the topic suggests that there may be some improvement in rational discussion out there
Many of the people who produce the material that the bot encounters desperately want to find ET and don’t want to find design. It still shows. Read More ›
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A ball of energy with electricity beaming all over the place.

Research: Our Brains Float Between Two Phases, Dodging Disorder

Our minds just never quite get used to that
Perhaps it will turn out that a “slush” phase — neither ice nor water exactly — is essential for a structure as complex as a brain. Read More ›
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Upset senior elderly man holding credit card by laptop having trouble worry finance safety data or online payment security. Bank client concerned about problem with credit card, financial fraud threat

Interpol Crackdown: Have You Been Scammed on Social Media Too?

Some details of the law enforcement release hint at the intimate reach of international online crime as well as its broad scope
It’s not that you’re naive. Rather, it is much easier than it used to be to fake up all kinds of things using social media — much easier than hacking computers. Read More ›
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Goldenrod plant

Evolutionary Biologist Defines Goldenrod Plant as “Intelligent”

The media release for the journal paper, sponsored by Cornell University, illustrates the growing comfort of science with panpsychist (everything is conscious) ideas
Andre Kessler is influenced by the idea that plant cells are like bees and the plant is like a colony, where the members think collectively. Read More ›
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A post-apocalyptic New York City with empty roads and bleak atmosphere. Generative AI

A Quiet Place: Two Moments That Stick Out

Characters in the dystopian thriller find solace in the transcendent
Those who can connect with a source of meaning beyond the material pain of the world are the ones who will stay alive in body and spirit. Read More ›
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AI generated view of the multiverse

What Is Pseudoscience? A Philosopher Tries To Sort It Out

Finding little to go on, Massimo Pigliucci suggests relying on popular skeptic sites and, er, … himself
Speaking of Skeptical Inquirers, perhaps we should be much more skeptical of the very concept of pseudoscience, at least as it plays out. Read More ›
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Red blue atom model over blurred blue and red

Bill Dembski: Einstein’s Advice to Bright Young University Grads

His advice, bellowed in parting, may seem obvious but it is challenging in a world that often protects sacred cows over evidence
Sacred cows inhibit thinking because they have no straightforward relationship with the discipline in which they find pasture. Read More ›
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Old man in hospital bed looking up

Disabled Canadian Euthanized Due to Lack of Care

He asked for and received euthanasia explicitly because of a lack of care
Quebec’s chief coroner promises an investigation. Don’t expect much to come of it. Read More ›
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Crashing Ocean Wave with view inside the wave

New Podcast Asks, Is the World Really Enchanted—or Disenchanted?

At Created Souls and The Banquet of Souls, I want to explore the fact that human consciousness is not about to be made obsolete by AI or explained away by neuroscience
The tide is turning. The idea that science will soon explain away human consciousness is ceasing to be a live discussion. Let’s hear the new discussions! Read More ›
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Abstract innovation space travel successful business. Future disruption strategy for time and space travel portal gateway. 3d rendering.

Interstellar (2014), Review Part 4: So Who Are “They” Anyway?

Will we at last find out?
Cooper says that the mysterious "They" have “evolved.” How in the world did natural selection select the fifth dimension? Read More ›
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Bees in the meadow and apiary. Selective focus.

A Darwinian Biologist Winces at Bees That Have Feelings

The problem Jerry Coyne has with Lars Chittka’s evidence for emotions among bees points to a growing conflict between naturalism and panpsychism in science
For a naturalist, the problem with accepting consciousness as real is that it is also immaterial, even in an animal like a dog that has a minimal self. Read More ›
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Music concert in Barcelona. Spain

Coldplay, Pop Music, and AI Mimicry

Musicians are being pressured into the pop music mania

Coldplay is my favorite band. Some make fun of me for this, but their discography, ranging from the raw immediacy of Rush of Blood to the Head (2002) to the synthetic coldness of Ghost Stories (2014) is too wide ranging, beautifully rendered, and personally resonant for me to dismiss. That said, something’s happened to the music industry that has even alt-rockers in its grip, including Coldplay. The super-band’s latest single, “feelslikeimfallinginlove,” is a far cry from their roots. While some bands maturate with age, Coldplay has simplified and infantilized; frontman Chris Martin was writing much more interesting, compelling lyrics at age twenty-five than forty-five. The new single is a simple pop song, youthful, exuberant, without much musical complexity or the Read More ›

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Data analysis science and big data with AI technology. Analyst or Scientist uses a computer and dashboard for analysis of information on complex data sets on computer. Insights development engineer

Can AI Replace Science? Gary Smith and Jeffrey Funk Say No

At Fast Company, they explain some of the real problems with mistaking hype for results
The everyday reality is more like this: AI speeds up many tedious processes but doesn’t replace creative thinking. Read More ›
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Store employee with down syndrome working in a produce store selling stuff

Neanderthals Cared for Down Syndrome Children

Too often, we abort them
Such compassion is on the outs in these “enlightened” days. Indeed, it may now be that more babies with Down syndrome are killed in the womb than are born. Read More ›