Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Eric Holloway

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Machine Learning: Using Occam’s Razor to Generalize

A simple thought experiment shows us how

This approach is contrary to Fisher's method where we formulate all theories before encountering the data. We came up with the model after we saw the cards we drew.

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Empath—the Ultimate Technology—Cares About You

Arctang discovers how empathy can be manufactured—Trumind Serial, Part 6

Arctang was one of the few outsiders who knew TruMind's secret. Long ago, his elder brother had entered the fortress-like facility, never to be seen again.

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Google vs. IBM?: Quantum Supremacy Isn’t the Big Fix Anyway

If human thought is a halting oracle, then even quantum computing will not allow us to replicate human intelligence

Google’s quantum supremacy claim is certainly fascinating and controversial, but even if true, it ultimately only amounts to an incremental and even inconsequential improvement in the state of AI and ML, due to the still-unmet need for a halting oracle.

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Occam’s Razor Can Shave Away Data Snooping

The greater an object's information content, the lower its probability.

One technique to avoid data snooping is based on the intersection of information theory and probability: An object’s probability is related to its information content. The greater an object’s information content, the lower its probability. We measure a model’s information content as the logarithmic difference between the probability that the data occurred by chance and the number of bits required to store the model. The negative exponential of the difference is the model’s probability of occurring by chance. If the data cannot be compressed, then these two values are equal. Then the model has zero information and we cannot know if the data was generated by chance or not. For a dataset that is incompressible and uninformative, swirl some tea Read More ›

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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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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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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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Mindtrap

Is immortality worth risking the unthinkable? — Trumind serial, part 5

Once he’d lit up the entire sequence and it was displayed back to him above the number pad, Johann felt a tremendous euphoric rush of success, the likes of which he'd never felt in his life, even at the close of his greatest deals.

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The Challenge of Teaching Machines to Generalize

Teaching students simply to pass tests provides a good illustration of the problems

We want the machine learning algorithms to learn general principles from the data, and not merely little tricks and trivia that that score high but ignore problems.

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A Singular Space Adventure Takes A Twist…

The old man could buy anything but youth. Until now, maybe. —TruMind serial, part 4

He was the richest man in history, having amassed wealth through his inheritance and that of a few other unfortunate people.

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Neuroharvest

TruMind engineers had discovered a new science: editing the very fabric of reality. – a tale, from the TruMind serial, part 3

But there was a lingering problem. To power the world’s vacuums and rice cookers, the Craizins had to be at the source of the action: the home. But no one wanted somewhat smelly teenage gamers hulking around in their homes.

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The Brain: Junkyard, Watch, or Antenna?

A warped genius reviews the options, as he seeks ultimate power - a tale

After many dead ends, Flim realized that all forms of human power are ultimately controlled by the human mind. Thus, if he could harness the power of the mind, he would finally be able to create anything his heart could desire.

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Ghost in the Nuke

Weapons have no souls, thus greater power ensures our safety…? —a tale

Arctang's grip tightened on the throttle. This was it. No going back. The Fortress loomed, gigantic towers gazing down on him, laser dots peppering his window.

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“Friendly” Artificial Intelligence Would Kill Us

Is that a shocking idea? Let’s follow the logic

We don't want to invent a stupid god who accidentally turns the universe into grey goo or paperclips, But any god we create in our image will be just as incompetent and evil as we are, if not more so. A dilemma!

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Can Free Will Really Be a Scientific Idea?

Yes, if we look at it from the perspective of information theory
It is possible to empirically distinguish an entity with free will from an entity that runs according to chance and necessity alone, while staying entirely within the methodology of modern science. Read More ›
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Why Do Atheists Still Claim Free Will Can’t Exist?

Sam Harris reduces everything to physics but then ignores quantum non-determinism

A reader, listening to his podcast with computer scientist Judea Pearl, asks how he can be so sure everything is determined by physical forces. How indeed?

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Are Monkeys with Some Human Genes Partly Human?

If they are somewhat smarter than other macaques, do they have minds and souls?

In my ongoing dialogue with Querius, I say no; a human is not reducible to a handful of genes.

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No Materialist Theory of Consciousness Is Plausible

All such theories either deny the very thing they are trying to explain, result in absurd scenarios, or end up requiring an immaterial intervention

Consciousness is the biggest problem for materialism. How is it possible that a bunch of particles that are devoid of consciousness get together and cause consciousness?

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How Business Intelligence Can Break the Data Deadlock

Companies today are awash in information. But which patterns are real? Which are cloud bunnies?

Contrary to the dogma of hypothesis testing, it is possible to do after-the-fact pattern analysis while limiting the probability of false positives.

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A Really Long Time Is Not Forever

No matter how our lives are prolonged, there is a hard stop to our universe

If eternity is what we truly want, then we should not let ourselves become distracted by technolongevity, and instead, seek our true heart's desire, and find out for ourselves if it is a sham or a reality.

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