Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Investor, AI Isn’t Your Big Fix

In investing and elsewhere, an AI label is often more effective for marketing than for performance

One company sought to leverage Watson, the AI Jeopardy champ, as a stock picker. But lightning-fast search and response don’t have much to do with predicting whether a stock goes up or down…

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Machine Learning, Part 3: Don’t Snoop on Your Data

You risk using a feature for prediction that is common to the dataset, but not to the problem you are studying

As long as we can establish that our theories, hypotheses, and/or models are independent of the data, then we can trust that their predictive power will generalize beyond the data we have observed.

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New Research Suggests That Plants Can “Think”

But what does that mean? Clearly not what some people expect

From time immemorial, we have endowed what we find in nature with our own characteristics. That is called mythology. The people who think that salad is murder or beg plants to forgive their sins are not helping the environment; they are incorporating a mythology into their lives

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Babies Have a Number Sense Before They Can Count

The study showed that counting with babies makes a difference, even though their understanding is not very exact

The question was not whether the infants understood the exact numbers (they didn’t) but whether they understood that the researchers were, in fact, counting things.

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But Could Techno-Immortality Ever Be the Real Thing?

Oxford mathematician John Lennox looks at Ray Kurzweil’s techno-immortality from a Christian perspective

In these excerpts from the podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talks with John Lennox about an AI immortality where we are told, for example, that we won’t need tongues because we can tap right into our taste buds.

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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.

How Do We Know What Superintelligent AI Will Do?

If superintelligent systems existed, logic demonstrates that they would be unpredictable

A lower intelligence can’t accurately predict all decisions of a higher intelligence, a concept known as Vinge’s Principle.

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Digital Neurology

What If Technology Causes Some People to Live Forever?

What would it mean for them and for the rest of us?

The authors also warn, “We can be pretty certain, for instance, that rejuvenation would widen the gap between the rich and poor, and would eventually force us to make decisive calls about resource use, whether to limit the rate of growth of the population, and so forth.”

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Machine Learning, Part 2: Supervised Learning

Machine learning isn’t hard to understand; it’s just different. Let’s start with the most common type

The neat thing about machine learning is that the algorithm can extract general principles from the dataset that can then be applied to new problems. It is like the story that Newton observed an apple fall and then derived from it the general law of gravity that applies to the entire universe.

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Jay Richards: Kurzweil’s Age of Spiritual Machines Is Fiction, like SkyNet

Kurzweil’s vision of computers taking over is “arresting,” Richards admits, but “your mind is running away from you if you think about technology in that way.”

In a recent podcast of ID the Future at the COSM conference in Seattle, Catholic University business studies prof Jay Richards looks at Ray Kurzweil’s “sunny” version of strong AI (computers are smarter than us and will take over but don’t worry), as per his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999) vs. the pessimistic version (“Skynet” wakes up). In a discussion with Andrew McDiarmid, Richards argues the opposite view, namely that human beings possess something beyond the purely material, something even the most powerful computers will never possess. Podcast here. Excerpts: Jay Richards: (08:45) If you are a materialist who thinks we are purely the result of these blind, material processes, you have something to worry about [with computers Read More ›

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Alan Turing’s original “computer” was actually a human being…

But will human beings now be thought of as computers?

We should reflect on how unthinking use of technology can shape us, despite our commitments.

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The Outer Worlds—A Mind Matters Game Review

You must discover the dark secret of the Halcyon space colony, despite the greed and corruption of a handful of powerful corporations

After the raging dumpster fire that Fallout 76 (2018) turned out to be, I hesitated to invest my time and money in another role-playing game (RPG) epic. But I am glad I did.

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Model baggage car.

Finally… the Ultimate Smart Machine

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a small startup called TruMind made the AI dream a reality—Trumind Serial, Part 6

While the skeptics said it could not be done, and even industry veterans and the most idealistic AI pioneers had serious doubts, TruMind revolutionized the entire world of technology seemingly overnight with the TruMind capsule.

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Self driving car on a road. Autonomous vehicle. Inside view.

Elon Musk Walks Back Full Self-Driving Claims

His Q3 earnings call with investors was a stark contrast to earlier claims about a robotaxi fleet

Of course, Musk blames other people for “misconstruing” his claims. This certainly isn't the first time he has palmed off responsibility for his own mistakes onto others.

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Autonomous cars on a road with visible connection

Self-Driving Cars: Florida Lawmakers Speed Through Caution Signs

Legislation seems fuzzy about who accepts responsibility when things go wrong with autonomous vehicles

I believe that most autonomous vehicle manufacturers will exercise an abundance of caution. But if laws are fuzzy, reckless manufacturers may escape blame and innocent riders, drivers, and pedestrians will pay for the resultant mayhem.

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Robots welding in a production line

Robot-Proofing Your Career, Peter Thiel’s Way

Jay Richards and Larry L. Linenschmidt continue their discussion of what has changed—and what won't change—when AI disrupts the workplace

We treat the assembly line as if it has always been here, says business prof Jay Richards, but it only dates back to Henry Ford, a century ago. It’s disappearing but work isn’t disappearing. It’s just changing a lot.

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Is Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity Now Nearer — or Impossible?

In response to Kurzweil’s talk at the COSM Technology Summit, panelists noted that AI achievements are revolutionary in size but limited by their nature in scope

George Montañez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, took issue with Kurzweil’s claim that AlphaGoZero needed no instructions to beat humans at the game of Go: “For a system like this to work, a human must define the incentive structure, also encoding the assumptions.” The sheer power of a computing system does not cause it to do anything at all.

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Mirror, Mirror, Am I a Self?

Scientists ponder, how would animals show self-awareness?

One controversy in animal psychology centers on whether or not an animal can recognize itself in a mirror. But a number of scientists are beginning to doubt that the mirror test shows animal self-awareness.

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Abstract.

Neuroscientist Says Our Souls Are Not Machines

A reviewer notes that Sharon Dirckx makes her case in a way that is easy for the attentive non-specialist reader to understand.

If readers are looking for a book by a writer familiar with the science who does not just adopt the materialist view and then spend two hundred and fifty pages supporting it, Am I Just My Brain? might be a good choice.

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Ray Kurzweil presenting via teleconference at COSM 2019

Tech pioneer Ray Kurzweil: We Will Merge with Computers by 2045

For computers, “Even the very best human is just another notch to pass,” he told the COSM Technology Summit

Advocates point to the success of Kurzweil’s past predictions as evidence that his Singularity is indeed Near, as his 2005 book predicts or Nearer, as his forthcoming one (June 2020) does. But questions bubbled to the surface.

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Personal development and business idea career concept.

Astrophysicist: Materialism Is on Shaky Ground

Adam Frank ponders the fact that materialism entirely fails to explain consciousness

Frank’s computational research group has developed advanced supercomputer tools to study how stars form and die. So he would incline to a materialist view, surely? But no, he says, quantum physics blew all that away. And some neuroscientists just haven’t caught up.

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