Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Robert J. Marks

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abstract circle fractal background

Hulu’s Devs Series: Where They Get Determinism Wrong

Devs disposes of a key limitation of computers that can supposedly predict the future with psychobabble

Call me a nitpicker: As a computer engineer, I must say, computers cannot predict the future.

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media reporter with microphone making journalist interview for news

Advice to Physicists: “Shut Up and Do Physics”

Well-known public intellectuals sometimes stray outside their silos of expertise, showing questionable judgment about, for example, AI

Stephen Hawking was a genius in theoretical physics but he did not know much about computers and his fears of an AI takeover were unfounded.

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Close-up view of 'one way' road sign with blurred building in the background. Manhattan, New York City, United States of America.

Flubbed Headlines: New Challenge For AI Common Sense

I propose a new challenge: Teach computers to correctly understand the headline “Students Cook and Serve Grandparents”

Many high tech companies, including Microsoft, are headquartered near the coast in the state of Washington. The executives must have been terrified when they read the headline: “Tuna Biting Off Washington Coast” But wait. Tuna are not chomping on Seattle beaches. The headline, meant to convey good news for fishermen, can be read that way of course. We use common sense to identify the intended meaning and the incorrect interpretation makes us smile. But AI has trouble doing this because it lacks common sense. To solve the problem of AI’s lack of common sense, Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen (1953–2018) poured big bucks into Seattle’s Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. “To make real progress in A.I., we have to overcome the…

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REJECTED CONCEPT

Einstein’s Only Rejected Paper

It was the only one reviewed anonymously, as is the practice today

Today’s collection of scholarly literature is exploding in quantity and deteriorating in quality. One solution is to return to review practices at the time of Einstein. The reviewers were much better qualified and were not anonymous.

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Lightning in the dark

Should AI Hold Patents? The Flash-of-Genius Answer

To understand why AI cannot independently invent, let’s look at how famous inventors have actually done it

Like Excel, AI assists programmers in their design work. AI can search through trillions of possibilities, using data from a million sources, to find a successful design. But the structure of the search and the source of the data is the choice of the programmer. A look at how famous inventors developed products that changed the world sheds some light on the process.

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High-Ranking Military Man holds a Briefing to a Team of Government Agents and Politicians, Shows Satellite Surveillance Footage.

Calvin and Hobbes Explain Why AI Will Never Rule the Battlefield

The creativity needed for successful command is beyond the capability of AI

AI sifts enormous amounts of accumulated data. But successful military strategy often depends on creating a new approach to a problem, one that lies outside the historical data available to the opposing forces. Muhammad Ali and Hannibal were famous for using such strategies.

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Flying futuristic central processing unit. electronic circuitry within a computer that carries out the instructions of a computer program performing arithmetic, logic, controlling.

Coronavirus: Is Data Mining Failing Its First Really Big Test?

Computers scanning thousands of paper don’t seem to be providing answers for COVID-19

If Alphabet’s Deep Mind or Microsoft had successfully data mined the 29,000 papers and found useful coronavirus information, that would be pretty impressive. But they appear to be giving others a chance to try instead, raising issues once again about the value of data mining in medicine.

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Drone monitoring barbed wire fence on state border or restricted area. Modern technology for security.

Iran Conflict Shows Why the US Needs Autonomous Lethal AI Weapons

The bipartisan National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence recently released a sobering report about the U.S. lagging in development of killer robots

To remain competitive, the U.S. military must respond and adapt to new warfare technology including weapons using AI, sometimes called killer robots. This includes autonomous AI that acts on its own. Chillingly, unlike atomic weapons, the tools to construct lethal AI weapons are cheap and readily available to all.

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Night city

Moore or Less: Why the Exponential Speed of AI Can’t Be Sustained

Faster computers only help the performance of AI algorithms that require search marginally.

Exponential growth is often the beginning of a sigmoid or s-shaped curve where growth that appears to be exponential but eventually slows and reaches a saturation point. We see this in nature, for example, in bacteria. 

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Business colleagues review automotive design concepts wearing a virtual reality headset.

Abandoning Reality: Getting Lost in Oculus Quest’s VR

Amazing. And time to remember the history. I was the chair of the first serious conference dedicated to virtual reality twenty-five years ago

Virtual reality got its start in the US Air Force’s investigation of heads-up display for pilots. Just as you see a candy wrapper on your dashboard reflected in the windshield while you drive, pilots could have nearly a instantaneous view of instrumentation simply by focusing their eyes from far objects to near.

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Random Comments on the Passing Scene: Carbon Computing and Much More

Child porn traffickers arrested despite their attempts to hide using high tech and Bitcoin

Also, McDonald’s doubles down on self-ordering kiosks, acquires automation firm.

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3D Rendering of abstract binary data in glowing blue and red color. For deep machine learning, crypto currency, hi tech product uses. Big data visualization, artificial intelligence. With copy space

The Greatest Threat We Face From AI—and What We Can Do

Here’s a list of things that have really happened with artificial intelligence (AI), in order of increasing severity.

When we get to the end of the list, we will see that it is like beads connected by a string—revealing the most dangerous threat.

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Smart Cities?: Proceed With Caution!

Zaheer Allam provides a balanced view of the future impact of AI on society

In some Smart City master plans, our privacy will be seriously compromised.

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AlterEgo Does Not Read Your Mind

What it really does may surprise you but many claims made for it are deceptive
AlterEgo may prove invaluable for applications like helping the severely handicapped by using muscle movements that are usually unnoticed. But despite headlines and publicity claiming otherwise, it provides no technical stride forward in the field of AI-brain interface. Read More ›
alchemy still life

Pursuit of the AI Singularity Is Modern Alchemy

Just as lead cannot just become gold, software cannot just become creative
Isaac Newton was a great scientist but he wasted a lot of time trying to turn lead into gold. Today, some great computer scientists waste a lot of time trying to produce AI that creates better AI without a programmer. Read More ›
gud

Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene: How to Spell Gud

Also, Google and Apple ditching college degree requirements is not really that new

Twenty years or so ago, when I worked in Seattle, Microsoft was famous for the testing coding skills of their applicants and asking Mensa-like questions. Degrees were secondary.

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Can Computer Algorithms Be Free of Bias?

Bias is inevitable but it should be recognized and admitted

Gregory Coppola’s revelations about Google’s politically biased search engine shone a spotlight on how algorithms are written.

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Can AI Predict and Prevent Political Unrest?

The 1996 Democratic Convention tried neural networks but discovered a hidden flaw

The police union’s 1996 objection to fingering specific officers as violence risks without a detailed explanation pinpoints a weakness of neural networks even to this day. The neural network is basically a black box.

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Balancing A Male And A Female Worker In The Cloud

Why It’s So Hard To Reform Peer Review

Robert J. Marks: Reformers are battling numerical laws that govern how incentives work. Know your enemy!

Measurement creates a temptation to achieve a measurable goal by less than totally honest means. As in physics, the simple act of measuring invariably disturbs what you are trying to measure.

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Screen of boxes on copy of financial times

Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines: Google Gives Away “Free” Cookies…

Also, why AI can't predict the stock market or deal with windblown plastic bags

A good rule of thumb is that unexpected outcomes increase exponentially as a function of AI complexity.

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