Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Robert J. Marks

dayne-topkin-60559-unsplash

What One Thing Do AI, Evolution, and Entrepreneurship All Need?

They all need an input of creativity to make things happen.

Programs for AI and evolution share the limitation that nothing creative happens without the guidance of a programmer. And a thriving economy based on creative entrepreneurship is one of the things that cannot be automated.

Read More ›
robert-bye-182304-unsplash
Skyscrapers in London looking up

What It Really Takes to Build a High-Tech Company, Sell It, and Get Rich

Inventor and entrepreneur Hal Philipp offers a rewarding but cautionary true story

The road to the success that Hal Philipp enjoys today was laced with landmines. When money starts rolling in, entrepreneurs must expect lawsuits. But perseverance and a strong character won the day. 

Read More ›
AdobeStock_181529526
Baseball player vectors

Big Data Can Lie: Simpson’s Paradox

Simpson’s Paradox illustrates the importance of human interpretation of the results of data mining.

Simpson’s Paradox illustrates the need for seasoned human experts in the loop to examine and query the results from Big Data. Could AI be written to perform this operation? Those who say yes are appealing to an algorithm-of-the-gaps.

Read More ›
freestocks-org-425059-unsplash

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 ›

close up of male hand with news on smartphone
business, technology, mass media and people concept - close up of male hand holding transparent smartphone with internet news web page on screen

Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines

There is usually a story under those layers of hype but not always the one you thought

When Thomas Sowell was writing his syndicated column on economics, I always looked forward to his sporadically appearing “Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene.” Reminding readers that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I offer my own “Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines.”

Read More ›
eric-joseph-770134-unsplash
Boy with glasses looking through blue fence

STEM Education 8: Help Create Creativity

Creativity diminishes with age, in part because we dig ourselves into ruts that limit our field of view.

An aging STEM nerd digs more and deeper ruts and creative thinking becomes more and more difficult. For this reason, I remain tolerant of graduate students with new and seemingly wacky ideas.

Read More ›
david-von-diemar-745535-unsplash

STEM Education 7: Sell the Sizzle

The mathematics underlying our world is fascinating and full of surprises

In my experience, true STEM nerds are always pursuing some type of sizzle even in their spare time. Generally, the higher the academic degree, the greater the freedom STEM nerds have to pursue their sizzle of choice.

Read More ›
antoine-dautry-428776-unsplash
Complex algebra equation

STEM Education 6: How to Guide a Nerd

Students whose high school curricula are flexible can more easily develop and follow their God-given talents

STEM nerd parents and educators need four principles to identify nerds and bring them to a healthy and fulfilling maturity. We here present the first two: identification and nurture in the fundamentals of STEM disciplines

Read More ›
81a6d96f-a69e-46d2-b1b1-2ccf7236a11b

Autonomous AI in War: Trial by Ordeal

The more complicated a system becomes, the more difficult it is to analyze all of its actions.

There are plenty of roads on which to test and tune the self-driving cars, but there are not a lot of wars available in which to test and tune autonomous AI weapons. If we seek military superiority to deter aggression, imaginative and creative minds are needed to assess all possibilities.

Read More ›
basil-samuel-lade-1132874-unsplash
Green walk signal at crosswalk

AI Ethics and the Value of Human Life

Unanticipated consequences will always be a problem for totally autonomous AI

In the development of technology overall, there is always a tradeoff in which human life is given a price. For example, cheap cars aren’t safe and safe cars aren’t cheap.

Read More ›
yannik-mika-467222-unsplash
Mailboxes on a rural road

STEM Education 5: What Difference Do Family and Privilege Make to Success?

A strong family helps a STEM nerd succeed. However, a “strong family” is not necessarily a family that had an easy ride, as my own story shows.

The money my parents could make in the new urban environment was good, but it was a bad place to raise kids. In high school, I began to run with gangs and do many things I’m not proud of. Dad and Mom scraped together money for me to go to college instead.

Read More ›
meteorite explosion in the air on black bakcground
Missile explosion

Why we can’t just ban killer robots

Should we develop them for military use? The answer isn’t pretty. It is yes.

Autonomous AI weapons are potentially within the reach of terrorists, madmen, and hostile regimes like Iran and North Korea. As with nuclear warheads, we need autonomous AI to counteract possible enemy deployment while avoiding its use ourselves.

Read More ›
Businessmen Having a Business Agreement
Japanese Businessmen Having a Business Agreement

STEM Education 4: Do STEM Nerds Need to Learn Latin?

Okay, not Latin. But some arts subjects do enhance a STEM career

Well-roundedness is appropriate in applied STEM curricula to the extent that it rounds out the skills necessary for success as a STEM professional.

Read More ›
philip-brown-542110-unsplash
Two fighter planes, one older one newer

STEM EDUCATION 3. Killing People and Breaking Things

Modern history suggests that military superiority driven by technology can be a key factor in deterring aggression and preventing mass fatalities
Today, better AI is the goal of the arms race. Russian President Vladimir Putin has prophesied: “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere [AI] will become the ruler of the world.” Putin’s remarks apply to both economic and military dominance. Read More ›
laura-ockel-1194574-unsplash
Close up of colorful silicon wafers

The Idol with Feet of Silicon

Religions based on artificial intelligence (AI) cannot transcend the limits of computers

Those proclaiming that exclusive truth lives totally in naturalism are constrained to a sadly narrow view of the world. Some naturalists have put their faith in AI and have founded the AI Church. They may think they are doing something new and cutting edge, but as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun (1:9).

Read More ›
Boy and blackboard filled with math formulas
boy in glasses, blackboard filled with math formulas background

STEM EDUCATION 2. Not Everyone Is Lucky Enough to be a Nerd

How do you identify extroverted nerds? When you are talking to them, they look at YOUR shoes
If I am made to confess that college courses in Shakespearean sonnets will make me a better person, then English literature majors had better confess that calculus makes them better people. Read More ›
Gemini_Mission_Control_-_GPN-2000-001405
Mission Control Center (MCC), Houston, Texas, during the Gemini 5 flight.

STEM EDUCATION 1. Pursuing Nerd Quality Over Nerd Quantity

Reducing math and science to practice is what engineers do. Scientists didn’t put a man on the moon. Engineers did.
Overall, computer applications will impact our society and culture as much as electricity did. And we’re living smack in the middle of the transformation. Read More ›
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 ›