Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Richard W. Stevens

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fantasy and mystical creatures loch ness monster in lake, created with generative ai

Cyber Plagiarism: When AI Systems Snatch Your Copyrighted Images

Outright copying of others’ images may put system’s owners in legal jeopardy. Let's look at U.S. legal decisions
The AI companies offering the image-creating services need Robot from Lost in Space in their legal departments waving its arms, crying out: “Warning! Danger!” Read More ›
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Robot hand typing on the computer. The concept of artificial intelligence replacing a human in dealing with another human. Ai generative

Human Impersonation AI Must Be Outlawed

I didn't used to think that AI systems could threaten civilization. Now I do.

(Previous version first appeared at theepochtimes.com on 1/12/2024) In 15 minutes of techno-evolutionary time, artificial intelligence-powered systems will threaten our civilization. Yesterday, I didn’t think so; I do now. Here’s how it will happen. The AI Human Impersonation Danger Recall how in 2023 criminals used an artificial intelligence (AI) system to phone an Arizona mother and say they were holding her daughter for ransom. The AI system mimicked perfectly her daughter’s voice down to the word choices and sobs. The terrified mom found her daughter safe at home, only then to determine the call was a scam. That crime showed the power of AI audio alone to deceive and defraud people. Today, Mom gets a text message demanding a ransom, Read More ›

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Young woman using smart phone,Social media concept.

Facebook and Instagram Allegedly Hook Youngsters with Dopamine Triggering Tactics

“Social media use can negatively affect teens, distracting them, disrupting their sleep, and exposing them to bullying, rumor spreading, unrealistic views of other people’s lives and peer pressure,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Teens and younger children accessing social media repeatedly or for long periods face heightened risks of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, social isolation, negative body image, decreased learning ability, even serious thoughts of suicide. Social media that lures kids into excessive use must come from somewhere. Top on the list is the 800-billion-dollar multinational conglomerate, Meta Platforms, Inc. (“Meta”), owner and operator of the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.  To hold Meta accountable for social media’s damaging effects, 33 American states’ attorneys general (“Plaintiffs”) are Read More ›

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Composite image of 3d image of human brain

You Can’t Always Be Happy

Our dopamine system both excites and tames pleasure

Humans cannot achieve permanent happiness. Earthly pleasures do not ultimately satisfy us. The Bible said it. The neuroscientists have proved it. A non-stop pleasure-filled life is not possible. Death alone does not end human pleasure — the brain does. Research about dopamine explains why. Dopamine is a molecule, a neurotransmitter that carries information between neurons in the brain. Sometimes called “the feel-good neurotransmitter,” dopamine energizes our mood, motivation, and attention. It helps us think and plan, and especially to strive, focus, and find things interesting. The Ups and Downs of Dopamine So, if our brain produces high dopamine levels, then we are happy as long as they remain high, right? Actually, no. Dr. Anna Lembke in her 2021 book, Dopamine Read More ›

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Top View of Handsome Young Man Sleeping Cozily on a Bed in His Bedroom at Night. Blue Nightly Colors with Cold Weak Lamppost Light Shining Through the Window.

Night Shift: The Brain’s Extraordinary Work While Asleep

Lie down, close your eyes, lose consciousness, and the brain undertakes the heavy lifting that sleep demands.

What is consciousness? “Consciousness is what allows you to think, remember, and feel things.” It includes awareness of yourself. Descartes’ famous line. “I think, therefore I am,” declared his consciousness. Conscious thinking means our brains, our minds, are sensing, observing, memorizing, recalling, decoding, analyzing, calculating, interrelating, cross-referencing, rearranging, expanding, generalizing, communicating, and even creating. Those coordinated operations, part of cognition, require real work. After all that brain work, it should be time for a rest, right? Nope. When a supermarket closes, the workers don’t just switch off the lights and go home. Overnight the workers clean, restock, organize, repair, and get the store ready for the next day. It’s the same for the brain. Lie down, close your eyes, lose Read More ›

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Futuristic autonomous vehicle cockpit. Interior of unmanned car cockpit with digital screens. Created with Generative AI

Congress Boosts AI-Enabled Automobile “Kill Switch” Technology to Control Drivers

Federal agency power poised to extend to your every move.

Next thing you know, you’ll be sitting in the driver’s seat, when Siri or Alexa informs you: “Sorry, you may not drive. This vehicle is temporarily disabled. Please try again later.” There is no override, no “lost password” feature to bypass the lockdown. It won’t matter where you were going, nor how urgently you needed to go. The AI-powered system decides you are not fit to drive. Yet another dystopian fantasy? Hardly. Congress and the President enacted Public Law 117–58 (Nov. 15, 2021) requiring national rules to require passenger vehicles “to be equipped with advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology.” Say it that way, and who could speak against the idea?  After all, AI systems would be saving lives. Continued funding Read More ›

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Checklist Writing Notice Remember Planning Concept,home office desk background,hand holding pen and writing note on wood table.

Lawsuit Champions Human Creativity Over AI Mimicry

Copyright laws can protect against sophisticated plagiarism.

Is it possible to violate the copyright on a written work without actually copying the exact words in it?  Yes. And that fact points up how ChatGPT can trample human authors’ rights to their creative work products.   The previous article, Authors Guild Sues OpenAI for Unlawful Copying of Creative Works, described the lawsuit filed by The Authors Guild and many individual writers against OpenAI (and related defendants) for having taught ChatGPT how to copy the writers’ articles and books and then to generate “derivative works.”  The lawsuit first charges that OpenAI made unauthorized copies of billions of words of text, including likely thousands of entire books and articles, to use as training materials for ChatGPT. Making such copies would Read More ›

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closeup of old handwriting; vintage paper background

Authors Guild Sues OpenAI For Unlawful Copying of Creative Works

Did ChatGPT make physical copies of copyrighted books and articles?

How to easily violate a written work’s copyright protection: Make a duplicate copy of it. A photocopy will do. Fishing for a criminal copyright infringement prosecution? Make many copies and sell them. Word-for-word copying of an entire book or article is an obvious violation. Copying significant parts usually violates the law as well. There are various exceptions to the rule, but those are the easy cases. Spotlight 2023. The Authors Guild and other creative writers are suing OpenAI (and related entities) for teaching ChatGPT how to copy the writers’ articles and books and then generate “derivative works,” i.e., “material that is based on, mimics, summarizes, or paraphrases” professional writers’ works and harms the market for them. ChatGPT can create sequels Read More ›

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Modern creative artwork, design. Contemporary art collage of young man playing drums isolated over colorful background. Concept of music lifestyle, jazz, rock, rock n roll, creativity, imagination

Inside the Mind of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Drummer

Delving into the thrilling, demanding world of professional drumming and the mind-body communication it requires
Real drumming means non-stop, real-time, dynamic decisions and actions using complex information deployed via physical sticks and targets. Read More ›
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Adorable little girl shopping for toys. Cute female in toy store. Happy young girl selecting toy

How a Toddler in a Toy Store Refutes Materialism

This everyday observation yields insight into a fundamental truth

I’m a magnet for materialists. I often get into discussions with people who tell me that the universe is nothing but matter and energy. These folks believe in materialism. They say I’m nutty and wrong to think there is anything else. Something like: “Silly theist! Gods are for kids!” Let’s follow that thought. A grandparent of 11 humans, I’ve journeyed with their parents through the young ones’ toddlerhood many times. There’s a lot to learn about reality from toddlers’ learning and growing. It leads to understanding Toddler Truth. Take a toddler to a game arcade, a toy store, or another kid’s house to play. There’s one thing you can count on hearing: “I want that!” We parents start tuning out Read More ›

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Infinite letters background, original 3d illustration.

Postmodernism’s Steady Deconstruction of Reality

How can we find truth when nothing is reliable?

Sometimes, you just have to try using college professors’ ideas in the real world. One such idea is “postmodernism.” Applied to communications, postmodernism teaches that whenever we read a written text, we should not try to discover what the writer intended. Instead of looking for an objective “meaning,” we should experience what the text means to us personally. The idea goes further, urging us to start by disbelieving the text and doubting our interpretations of it, too. People with the postmodern “deconstructionist” view say, “every text deconstructs” itself, and “every text has contradictions.” Deconstruction means “uncovering the question behind the answers already provided in the text.” Standing upon the ideas of the deconstructionist guru, Jacques Derrida, and his followers, one Read More ›

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Brush with paper paint, photo collage in colorful pop art style

Making Sense of the Warhol v. Goldsmith Supreme Court Case

Lawyer Richard W. Stevens sheds light on a recent groundbreaking court case that has implications for generative AI and copyright issues

Here is an excerpt of the transcript from a recent Mind Matters podcast episode, which you can listen to in full here. Lawyer and Walter Bradley Center Fellow Richard W. Stevens sat down with Robert J. Marks to discuss a Supreme Court Case regarding AI and copyright issues. Stevens helps us understand more of what the case is about and what’s at stake. For more on this, read about the court case’s conclusion here, as well as Marks’s commentary from Newsmax. Richard Stevens: So to boil this down, the situation was this. A woman by the name of Lynn Goldsmith, a professional photographer, took a photo of the musician named Prince. Later, Andy Warhol was paid to produce an orange Read More ›

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Legal Law and Justice concept - Open law book with a wooden judges gavel on table in a courtroom or law enforcement office. Copy space for text.

Lawyer Hammered for Using ChatGPT

Court record system proceeded to block access to sloppy lawyering and AI catastrophe

New York Times reporters watched the hearing in federal district court in New York on June 8, 2023, which they then described: In a cringe-inducing court hearing, a lawyer who relied on A.I. to craft a motion full of made-up case law said he “did not comprehend” that [ChatGPT] could lead him astray. Lawyer Who Used ChatGPT Faces Penalty for Made Up Citations – The New York Times (nytimes.com) The reporters got most of it right but even they erred. The lawyer involved did not write a “motion,” he filed a sworn declaration opposing a motion to dismiss. The difference matters: Declarations are under oath, so the lawyer swore to the truth of ChatGPT lies. Looking at the actual court Read More ›

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The imposing court gavel in the digital environment symbolizes the decision and legal protection for large companies. Generative AI

Let’s Apply Existing Laws to Regulate AI

No revolutionary laws needed to fight harmful bots

In a recent article, Professor Robert J. Marks reported how artificial intelligence (AI) systems had made false reports or gave dangerous advice: Prof. Marks suggested that instead of having government grow even bigger trying to “regulate” AI systems such as ChatGPT: How about, instead, a simple law that makes companies that release AI responsible for what their AI does? Doing so will open the way for both criminal and civil lawsuits. Strict Liability for AI-Caused Harms Prof. Marks has a point. Making AI-producing companies responsible for their software’s actions is feasible using two existing legal ideas. The best known such concept is strict liability. Under general American law, strict liability exists when a defendant is liable for committing an action Read More ›

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Puppeteer manipulates the doll. Voting is dishonest. On television, person lowers a paper ballet box to put it in an urn, false voice. Fake news on TV.

Panic Propaganda Pushes Surrender to AI-Enhanced Power

The hype over AI's significance makes us more vulnerable to it

Can you believe it? USA Today, the national news outlet, on May 4, 2023, declared (italics added): It’s the end of the world as we know it: ‘Godfather of AI’ warns nation of trouble ahead. Before digging out and playing your 1987 REM album, ask yourself: Is this headline true – and what do we do now?  The USA Today article mitigates the doom timeframe from imminent to someday in paragraph one (italics added): One of the world’s foremost architects of artificial intelligence warned Wednesday that unexpectedly rapid advances in AI – including its ability to learn simple reasoning – suggest it could someday take over the world and push humanity toward extinction. Within a day, the Arizona Republic ran Read More ›

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Dangerous Hooded Hacker Breaks into Government Data Servers and Infects Their System with a  Virus. His Hideout Place has Dark Atmosphere, Multiple Displays, Cables Everywhere.

20 Ways AI Enables Criminals

If you cannot believe your eyes and ears, then how can you protect yourself and your family from crime?

As reported recently and relayed in this publication, a mom in Arizona described how criminals called her to say they were holding her daughter for ransom and used artificial intelligence (AI) to mimic perfectly her daughter’s voice down to the word choices and sobs. Only because the mom found her daughter safe in her home could she know the call was a scam. Meanwhile, despite efforts to limit ChatGPT’s excursions into the dark side of human perversity, the wildly famous bot can be persuaded to discuss details of sordid sexuality. In one experiment with Snapchat’s MyAI chatbot, an adult pretending to be a 13-year-old girl asked for advice about having sex for the first time – in a conversation in Read More ›

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Digital Law Technology

Can Professor Turley Sue ChatGPT for Libel?

The world wide web of reputation destruction is here

Isn’t there a law against falsely accusing people of serious crimes or misconduct and then publishing damaging lies to the world? Yes. For centuries in English-speaking countries, the victim of such lies could sue the false accuser in civil court for libel per se. Nowadays, libel and its oral statement cousin, slander, are grouped together as defamation. Under American law, it isn’t easy to bring and win a lawsuit even when your case seems strong, but at least the law provides some recourse for defamation. How about when the false accuser is ChatGPT? Jonathan Turley, the nationally known George Washington University law professor and commentator, woke up one morning to discover: ChatGPT falsely reported on a claim of sexual harassment that was never made Read More ›

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Scales of Justice in the dark Court Hall. Law concept of Judiciary, Jurisprudence and Justice. Copy space. Based on Generative AI

AI in the Courtroom: How to Program a Hot Mess

Could AI make competent judicial choices in the court?

Imagine we’re assigned to design the artificial intelligence (AI) software to carry out legal analysis of cases like a human judge. Our project is “CourtGPT,” a system that receives a factual and legal problem in a case where there are two opposing parties, analyzes how certain statutes and other legal principles apply to the facts, and delivers a decision in favor of one of the parties. CourtGPT will make “legal decisions,” not decide “jury questions of fact,” and thus will function like a judge (not juror). To write a computer program of any complexity, we start by describing the entire program’s operations in English (my native tongue). Pro tip: If you cannot describe how your program operates in human language, then you cannot Read More ›

human rights
Circle of paper people holding hands on pink surface. Community, brotherhood concept. Society and support.

Love Thy Robot as Thyself

Academics worry about AI feelings, call for AI rights

Riffing on the popular fascination with AI (artificial intelligence) systems ChatGPT and Bing Chat, two authors in the Los Angeles Times recently declared: We are approaching an era of legitimate dispute about whether the most advanced AI systems have real desires and emotions and deserve substantial care and solicitude. The authors, Prof. Eric Schwitzgebel at UC Riverside, and Henry Shevlin, a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge, observed AI thinkers saying “large neural networks” might be “conscious,” the sophisticated chatbot LaMDA “might have real emotions,” and ordinary human users reportedly “falling in love” with chatbot Replika.  Reportedly, “some leading theorists contend that we already have the core technological ingredients for conscious machines.”  The authors argue that if or when Read More ›

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Red Proofreading Marks and Pen Closeup

ChatGPT: Beware the Self-Serving AI Editor

The chatbot "edits" by reworking your article to achieve its own goals, not necessarily yours

My article, Utopia’s Braniac (short title), reported results from experiments showing that for one, ChatGPT actually lies, and secondly, it gives results plainly biased to favor certain political figures over others. I next ran a follow-up experiment: asking ChatGPT to “edit and improve” the Utopia’s Brainiac manuscript before submitting it.  Close friends told me they’d used ChatGPT to improve their written work and said the process is easy. So, I tried it myself on February 6, 2023. I entered “Please edit and improve the following essay” and pasted my piece in full text (as ultimately published). In under a minute, ChatGPT delivered its edited and revised copy. What did it do? I. Deleted Whole Section That Gave Readers an Everyday Context Read More ›