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Soldiers are Using Drone for Scouting During Military Operation in the Desert.

Book at a Glance: Robert J. Marks’s Killer Robots

What if ambitious nations such as China and Iran develop lethal AI military technology but the United States does not?

Artificial intelligence expert Robert J. Marks tackles the contentious subject of military drones in his just-published book, The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s Military Needs to Continue Development of Lethal AI. Many sources (30 countries, 110+ NGOs, 4500 AI experts, the UN Secretary General, the EU, and 26 Nobel Laureates) have called for these lethal AI weapons to be banned. Dr. Marks, a Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, disagrees. What if ambitious nations such as China and Iran develop lethal AI military technology but the United States does not? Nations that wish to maintain independence (sovereignty), he argues, must remain competitive in military AI. (“Advanced technology not only wins wars but gives pause to Read More ›

Panorama starry landscape. Panorama of the universe. Planet and stars rise.

Scientific American Explores Panpsychism… Respectfully

This is a major change. At one time, a science mag would merely ridicule the idea of a conscious universe

Make no mistake, panpsychism—as Goff elucidates it—is a purely naturalist view (“nothing supernatural or spiritual”). But, unlike the village atheist, he goes on to ask, but then what is nature? Matter is all there is? But what is matter? It turns out, no one really knows.

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Robotic filmmaking. Talented robots shoots television movie or motion picture. Creative filmmakers robotic crew director, assistant with spotlight and cameraman behind the scene. Automated process of creating video content. Red wall studio background.

Can AI Help Hollywood Predict the Next Big Hit?

AI analysis sifts the past finely. But how well does the past predict the future?

AI does pose at least one threat to filmmaking. It could intensify the very tone-deafness that studios hope it can fix: Too much reliance on ever more finely grained analysis of the patterns in past data could blind decision makers to the real risks, volatility, and opportunities in the future. That’s a recipe for losing money and inflicting “Oh, not that again!” on audiences.

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Photo by Wherda Arsianto

Serious Media In China Have Gone Strangely Silent

With a compulsory new app, the government can potentially access journalists’ phones, both for surveillance and capturing data

Liu Hu sums up the scene in a few words: “Outside of China, journalists are fired for writing false reports… Inside China, they are fired for telling the truth.”

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Photo by Austin Distel

EVERYONE Can Beat the Market!

We’ve all heard: “No one can beat the market.” Is that true? Let’s look a little deeper

Using your talents to identify and invest in high-quality assets and pull money away from low-quality assets is a benefit to everyone involved in the market and, on the larger scale, the market’s future. If you invest in this way, you will beat the market.

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Photo by Jeremy Bishop

AI Goes to Hollywood

Warner Bros. hopes Cinelytic's AI will save time while making more reasonable financial estimates, thus forestalling expensive box office blunders

Cinelytic’s AI does is what every AI does at its most basic level. It collects and sifts large amounts of data to find patterns that can be used to make predictions. AI excels at pattern recognition because that is its only purpose. Humans aren’t so linear or predictable.

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Pleasant girl and robot working in the office

Robots Move? Tax Them!

Some policymakers see robots as a direct threat to jobs and hope taxes will slow them down

Jay Richards asks: Just imagine if our government had taxed earlier technological innovations because they threatened jobs. Does anyone think a targeted “tractor tax” would have been a good idea in the early twentieth century?

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Futuristic Robot Arm Touches Human Hand in Humanity and Artificial Intelligence Unifying Gesture. Conscious Technology Meets Humanity. Concept Inspired by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam

Can Machines Be Given Consciousness?

A prominent researcher in consciousness studies offers reasons for doubt

Two theories of human consciousness are about to be tested in a historic contest. Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness and rival Global Workspace Theory (GWT) have sharply different implications for consciousness in machines.

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Big Data Technology for Business Finance Analytic Concept. Modern graphic interface shows massive information of business sale report, profit chart and stock market trends analysis on screen monitor.

Serious Investors Should Embrace the Stock Market Algos!

We can use computers’ inability to distinguish meaning from noise in data to our advantage

Computer algorithms are much, much better than humans at discovering statistical patterns but much, much worse than humans at discerning whether the patterns are meaningful. Wise investors can use the resulting blips to their advantage.

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Breast cancer histology: Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is seen in the lower left with invasive (infiltrating) lobular carcinoma in the upper right. Screening mammography can detect early tumors.

How AI Can Help Us Fight Cancer

Breast cancer is an excellent example of how AI can speed up early detection

AI catches things doctor miss, and doctors catch things AI misses. Using the AI to highlight what may be cancer tissue helps the radiologist focus on ambiguous situations, reducing the chance of missing early cancers.

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black mathematics board with formulas

Faith Is the Most Fundamental of the Mathematical Tools

An early twentieth century clash of giants showed that even mathematics depends on some unprovable assumptions

David Hilbert wanted all mathematics to be proved by logical steps. Kurt Gödel showed that no axiomatic system could be complete and consistent at the same time.

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Man caressing a tame black fox

Tame Animals, Not Wild Ones, Are Mysterious

A recent discovery about tame foxes sheds some light but deepens the larger mystery

New research puts us back where we started. The foxes are tame. But why are they tame? Other foxes are decidedly not tame. Why is it so easy to “tame” dogs and cats but not wolves and bobcats? 

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GPS navigator in desert

AI Should Mean Thinking Smarter, Not Less

We should be all the more engaged when we use technology

Tim Harford points to the Sanchez tragedy to raise an important question: How do we know when a given technology is really helping us? And when we are taking too great a risk or paying too high a price?

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Lost-in-Space-Publicity-Still-IMDB

Lost in Space, A Mind Matters TV Series Review

I was skeptical at first, based on Netflix's track record, but was pleasantly surprised

If I could rewind time a week and add a piece of 2019 sci-fi to my list of the year’s Best and Worst Sci-Fi TV, I would add Netflix’s Lost in Space, Season 2—which came out just after I had published. Let's fix that now.

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Group Of Businesspeople Identified By AI System

How To Fool Facial Recognition

Changing a couple of pixels here and there can stump a computer

Both computers and humans can be fooled by patterns that appear significant but really aren’t. But the bigger the computer, the more random patterns it can find in the vast swathes of data processed.

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Robot Predicting Future With Crystal Ball

Five AI Predictions to Watch in 2020

We'll check on these a year from now

Some problems experts hope AI can help with may be outside AI's capacities. Some people may simply want to believe doctored images and deepfakes, for example.

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3d rendered illustration of karate dojo background. Karate school is out of focus to be used as a photographic backdrop.

What Did the Computer Learn in the Chinese Room? Nothing.

Computers don’t “understand” things and they can’t handle ambiguity, says Robert J. Marks

Larry L. Linenschmidt interviews Robert J. Marks on the difference between performing a task and understanding the task, as explained in philosopher John Searle’s famous “Chinese Room” thought experiment.

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Tesla Motors logo sign

2019 AI Hype Countdown #1: Tesla’s Robotaxis—Tales of a Phantom Fleet

Musk put out a tweet on December 22, saying “Sorry, it's been a bit of a struggle.” At last, a claim we can unreservedly believe

Because Tesla has yet to make a yearly profit in any of its sixteen years of existence, it depends on capital raises of various forms (equity, debt, etc.) to stay in business. Capital raises require big promises and Tesla’s overstatements about its self-driving cars are always good for a few billion.

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Photo by Daniil Kuželev

Researchers: Our Conscious Visual Perception Lies Outside Our Visual Cortex

They concluded that the end step of perceiving where objects are occurs in the frontal lobes, a finding they describe as “radical”

A major consequence of the advance of modern neuroscience is that we now “know” so much less than we used to. But what we do know points us in promising research directions.

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Businessman forecasting a crystal ball

2019 AI Hype Countdown #2: Big Data Is Our Crystal Ball!

The biggest problem is that human behavior is not as predictable as the models imply

Many models are ridiculously simplistic, making the results worse than worthless. They become a way of solidifying biases.

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