Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Robert J. Marks

camera record on crane on stage entertainment industry
camera record on crane in production on studio and light to stage for entertainment industry

1: IBM’s Watson Is NOT Our New Computer Overlord

AI help, not hype: It won at Jeopardy (with specially chosen “softball” questions) but is not the hoped-for aid to cancer specialists
One problem that has dogged Watson has nothing to do with AI or medicine. The journalism around the introduction of projects like Watson is long on the Gee Whiz! An Electronic Brain! It Won at Jeopardy! And it is short on systematic inquiry as to outcomes versus goals. Read More ›
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Scene clapperboard in front of two actors

2: AI Can Write Novels and Screenplays Better than the Pros!

AI help, not hype: Software can automatically generate word sequences based on material fed in from existing scripts. But with what result?

“AI rites reel gud!” Seriously, the idea is not new. Back in the 1940s, George Orwell (1903–1950) thought that a machine could write popular novels so long as no creative thinking was involved. Thus, in his 1984 police state world, one of the central characters has a job minding a machine that mass produces them. In the 1960s, some film experiments were done along these lines, using Westerns (cowboy stories). At the time, there were masses of formula-based film material to work with in this popular genre. But what does the product look and sound like? In 2016, Ars Technica was proud to sponsor “the first AI-written sci-fi script:” As explained in The Guardian, a recurrent neural network “was fed the Read More ›

Afraid man in tinfoil helmet watches TV
Afraid man in tinfoil helmet watches TV, paranoia concept. UFO, conspiracy theory, brain theft protection, phobia

3: With Mind-Reading AI, You Will Never Have Secrets Again!

AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Did you read about the flap they had to cut out of a volunteer’s skull?

The Daily Mail is the United Kingdom’s second largest circulation daily. A headline from the webpage screams: No more secrets! New mind-reading machine can translate your thoughts and display them as text INSTANTLY! Not a lot of nuance there. The story continues on a tidal wave of hyperbole, • Researchers say they have developed a machine that can translate our thoughts •  The astonishing machine will analyse what you are thinking and display it as text ending with a charitable hope: •  Scientists hope that the machine can be used by people who are unable to speak The reality is that AI can read your mind for a few words repeated often if you have a flap cut out of your skull and Read More ›

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4: Making AI Look More Human Makes It More Human-like!

AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Technicians can do a lot these days with automated lip-syncs and smiles but what’s behind them?
This summer, some were simply agog over “Sophia, the First Robot Citizen” (“unsettling as it is awe-inspiring”) Read More ›
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5: AI Can Fight Hate Speech!

AI can carry out its programmers’ biases and that’s all
Putting these kinds of decisions in the hands of software programs is not likely to promote vigorous and healthy debate. Read More ›
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6: AI Can Even Exploit Loopholes in the Code!

AI adopts a solution in an allowed set, maybe not the one you expected
One example the programmers offered of this type of gaming the system was a walking digital robot that moved more quickly by somersaulting than by using a normal walking gait. Read More ›
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7: Computers can develop creative solutions on their own!

AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Programmers may be surprised by which solution, from a range they built in, comes out on top
Sometimes the results are unexpected and even surprising. But they follow directly from the program doing exactly what the programmer programmed it to do. It’s all program, no creativity. Read More ›
The truck runs on the highway.
The truck runs on the highway with speed. 3d render and illustration.

8: AI Just Needs a Bigger Truck!

AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Can we create superintelligent computers just by adding more computing power?
Some think computers could greatly exceed human intelligence if only we added more computing power. That reminds me of an old story… Read More ›
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A host of blue squid

9: Will That Army Robot Squid Ever Be “Self-Aware”?

AI help, not hype: What would it take for a robot to be self-aware?
The thrill of fear invites the reader to accept a metaphorical claim as a literal fact. Read More ›
Artificial Intelligence Playing Go

10. Is AI Really Becoming “Human-like”?

AI help, not hype: Here’s #10 of our Top Ten AI hypes, flops, and spins of 2018
A headline from the UK Telegraph reads “DeepMind's AlphaZero now showing human-like intuition in historical 'turning point' for AI” Don't worry if you missed it. Read More ›
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Data graph on monitor showing correlation

Study Shows Eating Raisins Causes Plantar Warts

Sure. Because, if you torture a Big Data enough, it will confess to anything
Enormous data sets compiled by Big Data methods have a higher probability of meaningless correlations than smaller ones compiled by traditional methods. More than ever, common sense is needed. And common sense only comes from programmers writing their own common sense into the software. Read More ›
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Quantum Randomness Gives Nature Free Will

Whether or not quantum randomness explains how our brains work, it may help us create unbreakable encryption codes

When I was boy, my father explained free will and predestination to me: I dig a fence post hole. · Did I create the hole because of my own free will? · Or was the hole already there and I simply removed the dirt? If true, the hole was predestined. The question cannot be answered by examining the evidence. In philosophy terms, it is “empirically unanswerable.” That is the sort of stuff that philosophers debate. Religious people might point to scripture to support one conclusion over the other.1 In physics, however, quantum randomness offers a definitive answer to the question of predestination vs. free will—for subatomic particles. In the world of classical physics (Isaac Newton’s physics), it can be argued Read More ›

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McDonald's Drive through saying

McDonald’s, Meet McPathogens

What happens when the drive to automate everything meets the Law of Unintended Consequences?
I have a wager with a good friend that the self-order touch screen kiosks at McDonald’s will not last. The kiosks not only take longer to use, but are annoying. The idea of the kiosk may sound good on paper, but is a hassle in practice. And besides… Read More ›
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Aerial shot of artists and craters at work

Human Consciousness May Not Be Computable

One model of consciousness would mean that conscious computers are a physical impossibility
As long as computers simply get faster and use more memory, there is no reason to worry about a self-aware Skynet. Read More ›
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Slaughterbots

Is it ethical to develop a swarm of killer AI drones?
For threats like slaughterbots, the answer is the development of newer technology. Like it or not, history is replete with accounts of new military technology replacing old.  Evil, seeking influence, demands a response, so the technology to provide one must be developed. Read More ›
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Could HAL 9000 ever be built?

I say yes. Some reflections on the 50th Year Anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey
At one point on the trip from Earth to Jupiter, HAL becomes suspicious that the crew might be sabotaging the mission. HAL then purposely tries to kill all the crew. The most logical explanation for this act is a coding error. HAL was programmed to operate on the basis that the mission took priority over human life. Read More ›
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Screenwriters’ Jobs Are Not Threatened by AI

Unless the public starts preferring mishmash to creativity
An AI-generated film is not an altogether new idea. Rule-based expert systems were used to write short plays over a half century ago, in the early 1960's. Then, as now, don’t expect creativity. That is not what AI does. Read More ›
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AI That Can Read Minds?

Deconstructing AI hype
The source for the claims seems to be a 2018 journal paper, "Real-time classification of auditory sentences using evoked cortical activity in humans." The carefully described results are indeed significant but what the Daily Mail article didn't tell you sheds a rather different light on the AI mind reader. Read More ›
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Why “Mind Matters” Matter

Mind Matters is a podcast and a news and commentary site where “artificial and natural intelligence meet head-on.” That’s a great slogan, but what does it mean? As your host for the podcast part of the site, I thought I’d take advantage of my role to talk you about some of our exciting plans for both the podcast and the online journal (the latter to be edited by science journalist Denyse O’Leary). Here’s a quick run-down: Topics Mind Matters will track the latest developments in applied AI and technology. How will AI continue to augment human performance and abilities? What are the latest innovations of AI? And how does AI affect you? How is AI applied in pricing your admission Read More ›