Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Transhumanism, the Lazy Way to Human ‘Improvement’

Transhumanists don’t seem much interested in such real improvements in the human condition. They want quick, easy technological fixes

The transhumanist movement swoons over increasing intelligence. If I had to choose between increasing the intelligence of the human race versus enhancing our capacity to love, the human race would be far better off embracing the latter than the former. There is no brain implant for that.

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I spy AI. And AI spies on me…

The true threat posed by AI is the greatly reduced cost and risk of mass surveillance and manipulation

Some people are quite sure that the world would be a better place if they knew more about our business and policed it better. Mass snooping creeps up unnoticed and becomes a way of life. Then it explodes.

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A Mind Matters Review: Sci-Fi Shorts of the Week

With human input, Sunspring starts to make sense

This week, watch a collaboration between deep learning and human creativity produce something far more coherent than Sunspring. And check out an animation on the pitfalls of emotional intelligence.

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Does “Alien Hand Syndrome” Show That We Don’t Really Have Free Will?

One woman’s left hand seemed to have a mind of its own. Did it?

Alien hand syndrome doesn’t mean that free will is not real. In fact, it clarifies exactly what free will is and what it isn’t.

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AI Is Not a Simple Fix for Plagiarism

The internet speeded up a perennial problem without changing it

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, plagiarism amounts to passing ourselves off as experts without tears. It’s not realistic to expect software to detect all of the subtleties.

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Baylor University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Walter Bradley recalled for the audience at the Dallas launch, November 4, 2018

Walter Bradley: Tell People about AI, not Sci-Fi

His struggle to bring reality to“sci-fi” origin of life research is the Center’s inspiration

The Bradley Center hopes to have a similar effect by promoting more general knowledge of fundamental issues around “thinking computers and the real effects of technology on human well-being.

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Your Phone Is Selling Your Secrets

You’d be shocked to know what it tells people who want your money

Big tech companies have an ambiguous relationship with online invasions of privacy. The companies may be able to make much more money selling information about you than you would pay them to use their medium.

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Circuit board. Electronic computer hardware technology. Motherboard digital chip. Tech science EDA background. Integrated communication processor. Information CPU engineering 3D render background

The Flawed Logic behind “Thinking” Computers, Part III

No program can discover new mathematical truths outside the limits of its code.

Not only is it valid to ask whether artificial intelligence is impossible but the argument can be pursued on a scientific basis with quantifiable, empirical evidence.

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The Flawed Logic behind “Thinking” Computers, Part II

There is another way to prove a negative besides exhaustively enumerating the possibilities

I am publishing, in three parts and with his permission, an exchange with Querius, who is looking for answers as to whether computers can someday think like people. In the first part, we discussed why human thinking cannot be indefinitely compressed. Here is the second part: Recapping for myself what I said in Part I and mulling it over: “If all symbol strings do have a shorter representation, then so must their shorter representations. Thus, we’d end up concluding that all symbol strings can be represented by nothing, which is incoherent.” Wait, I’m getting lost. “Therefore, we conclude that only some symbol strings have a compressed representation. As a consequence, compression intelligence is only true if the physical effects of Read More ›

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The Flawed Logic behind “Thinking” Computers, Part I

A program that is intelligent must do more than reproduce human behavior

If an algorithm that reproduces human behavior requires more storage space than exists in the universe, it is a practical impossibility that also demonstrates the logical impossibility of artificial intelligence.

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AI and the Seductive Optics of the Frankenstein Complex

The fact that some AI makes you feel creepy is a part of its success

One of the factors contributing to fear of AI is the Frankenstein Complex.1 The term, coined by sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov2, originally described fear of the “mechanical man” in the science fiction of old. The complex is named for the young scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, protagonist of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. He stitches human body parts together to create a monster. There is no AI in the story; he brings the monster to life based on an intelligence that was assumed to be resident in biology. “Frankenstein’s monster” later came to be called simply “Frankenstein.” Thomas Edison first filmed the story as a silent movie in 1910 but Boris Karloff’s depiction of the monster in Read More ›

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AI Creates Kitsch, Not Art

And it’s the perfect tool for the job

Creating art begins by fully absorbing what makes art good and then extrapolating outward. AI selectively absorbs and “creates” by remixing what’s left. Thus AI is the perfect kitsch creator

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A Mind Matters Review: Love, Death, & Robots

Despite the trash and ruined expectations, several shorts were enjoyable and downright fun to watch

Love, Death, & Robots is rather ambiguous. Perhaps a more descriptive title would be Blood, Butts, and Some Sci-Fi Thrown In.

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Creativity Does Not Follow Computational Rules

A philosopher muses on why machines are not creative

He worries about something quite different from the usual robots-are-coming scare: “It is entirely possible that we will come to treat artificially intelligent machines as so vastly superior to us that we will naturally attribute creativity to them. Should that happen, it will not be because machines have outstripped us. It will be because we will have denigrated ourselves.”

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A Mind Matters Review: AI Week at DUST, the sci-fi short films channel

Films you have time to see and think about

Looking for a good “robots, AI, ‘n sci-fi” fix to round out your weekend? Mind Matters has you covered for animations and shorts. For starters, check out DUST, a YouTube channel dedicated to short sci-fi. Its recent AI WEEK (February 11–18) offered “A collection of curated short films dedicated to artificial intelligence and its connection with humanity.” When I say “short,” I mean that the longest is about 30 min; the others are much shorter. So if you have just a few minutes to kill while downing a bowl of spicy curry ramen, I would recommend giving them a watch. For AI narratives, they’re not as clichéd as you might fear. Sunspring | DUST AI Week Runtime | 8:15 Cleanliness Read More ›

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Are 3-D Virtual Fossils a Boon or a Threat?

Many paleontologists fear losing control of the story

One of the characteristics of information is that, unlike matter and energy, it is not reduced by being shared. And when it is shared, it can generate new information. Of course, some well-sourced new information may contradict earlier ideas or even important beliefs.

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