Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence


In the Era of ChatGPT, Bradley Center and Mind Matters News Defend the Irreplaceable Human

From the COSM conference, a groundbreaking new book, and hundreds of perceptive articles, the Bradley Center has had a significant and successful year.

Editor’s Note: Mind Matters News is sponsored by the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, a program of the non-profit Discovery Institute. We rely on donations from individuals like you to continue to operate. If you have benefited from Mind Matters News, would you consider an end-of-year donation to support our work in 2024? You can find more about the work of the Bradley Center in 2023 in the article below. This year the seemingly-miraculous capabilities of ChatGPT and other Large Language Models (LLMs) dominated public discussions about artificial intelligence (AI). While many pundits and tech writers openly wondered whether ChatGPT portended humanity’s doom, the Bradley Center provided a clear voice in defense of the continuing need for Read More ›

An artificial intelligence robot writer creating generative AI writing

Can AI Write Screenplays for Films You’d Want to See?

That issue was the heart of the Hollywood writers’ strike. How was it resolved? Or WAS it resolved?

Spanish model agency owner Rubén Cruz was having a tough time recruiting models so he created one. They created Aitana, an exuberant 25-year-old pink-haired woman from Barcelona whose physical appearance is close to perfection. The virtual model can earn up to € 10,000 a month, according to her creator, but the average is around € 3,000. “We did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing,” said Cruz. Laura Llach, “Meet the first Spanish AI model earning up to €10,000 per month,” EuroNews, December 2, 2023 Aitana doesn’t look quite real, of course, but Read More ›

people in the art gallery center

Why AI Can’t Create Genuine Beauty

AI, though a helpful tool in certain contexts, cannot replace the intentionality and creativity of the human person.

Discussions about the encroachment of AI in the arts and humanities have soared in the last year, thanks primarily to the advent of technologies like ChatGPT and text-to-image tools like Midjourney and DALL-E. The conversation is surely merited. Everything from academic integrity in universities and copyright for artists is at stake here as “generative AI” only improves. While fighting for the human voice in a context where the instant and automated is preferred, maybe it’s necessary to also ask what developments in our cultural history made these technologies so welcome. Why is AI so quickly finding a cozy spot in our society? Why did our technological landscape seem to have already set the mold for AI to fill? A satisfying Read More ›

Robotic hand using wooden geometrical shapes at during machine learning. 3d illustration.

Why the Turing Test Is Becoming Obsolete

Chatbots can easily pass the test without doing any thinking at all

Princeton psychology prof Philip Johnson-Laird and predictive analyst Marco Ragni (Chemnitz) propose a new type of IQ test for machines. In their paper, Johnson-Laird and Ragni argue that the Turing test was never a good measure of machine intelligence in the first place, as it fails to address the process of human thinking. “Given that such algorithms do not reason in the way that humans do, the Turing test and any others it has inspired are obsolete,” they write. Sarah Wells, Is the Turing Test Dead? Researchers wonder whether improved large language models require new tests for machine intelligence, IEEE Spectrum, November 30, 2023 The Turing test, was first proposed in 1950 by computer pioneer Alan Turing (1912–1954) as the Read More ›

Chinese flags on barbed wire wall in Kashgar (Kashi), Xinjiang, China.

China: An inside look at Neo-Totalitarianism

Writing in the journal Dignitas, Heather Zeiger outlines the Chinese government’s attempt at total control of the everyday life of residents of XinJiang province

Bioethicist Heather Zeiger, a frequent contributor to Mind Matters News, published a longform piece in academic journal Dignitas on the way that China uses total surveillance to keep the restive far western province of Xinjiang obediently in the fold. Briefly, most Xinjiang residents are Uyghurs — Turkic-speaking Muslims — in a country dominated by Chinese-speaking Han people. It is somewhat like the relationship between mostly English-speaking Canada and mostly French-speaking Quebec — except for one really important thing. In Canada, conflicts are almost entirely a paper war. In Xinjiang, totalitarian China appears to be trying to simply assimilate the Uyghurs by force. It is using the full panopticon of modern technology to do so. Zeiger writes, The Chinese government uses Read More ›

Funny pixelated boss sunglasses on new blue background. Gangster, Black thug life meme glasses . Pixel 8bit style. Color of the Year 2022. Very Peri

From Memes to Hodgepodge

AI again makes an odd mish-mash out of images, this time with memes

AI company Stability AI recently announced a new AI tool called Stable Video Diffusion, which turns images into moving videos. Naturally, Internet users started putting memes into the processor, and as Gizmodo has found, the results are a bit strange to say the least. Thomas Germain humorously writes, For less creative internet users hoping to drum up clicks (can you imagine such a terrible creature), the most obvious use of this tool is to plug memes into the thing. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened on Twitter—aka X—where a variety of meme-to-video AI creations went unfortunately viral. The results were about as horrific as anything you can imagine. -Thomas Germain, AI Turned These Memes Into Videos, It’s Horrible (gizmodo.com) If Read More ›

robot article editor writing publicity post robotic journalist copywriting selection and verification artificial intelligence vector scene

Sports Illustrated Used AI-Generated Authors

Human authors for a human audience, please.

The big-time sports magazine Sports Illustrated allegedly used AI “authors” to generate multiple online articles. Maggie Harrison of Futurism wrote recently that when she and her team reached out to the magazine for comment, they removed all the AI-generated stuff from the site. However, they couldn’t do so before several screenshots were taken that confirmed the suspicion. A massive and influential publication was making up a portion of its own writers. Harrison reports, The AI content marks a staggering fall from grace for Sports Illustrated, which in past decades won numerous National Magazine Awards for its sports journalism and published work by literary giants ranging from William Faulkner to John Updike. But now that it’s under the management of The Arena Read More ›

3d white room with opened door. Brick wall

Is ChatGPT a Dead End?

There is still no known path to Artificial General Intelligence, including ChatGPT.

I want to talk more about Large Language Models (LLMs) and ChatGPT, as it’s all anyone asks me about when I give talks, either in Europe or here in the States. It doesn’t matter where. It’s always ChatGPT. Not self-driving cars. Not robotics. It’s the tech that Sam Altman dissed as “cloning human speech” that has apparently captured everyone’s attention. If I don’t talk about it, I’m not talking about AI. Got it! So I’ll talk about it. Garden Pathing AI Not to go all Altman on everyone, but I think LLMs are nothing but a “garden path” technology. Let me explain. In linguistics, a garden path sentence is one that starts out grammatically, but leads the reader to a dead-end. The Read More ›

Chat with AI or Artificial Intelligence. Young businessman chatting with a smart AI or artificial intelligence using an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI.

Okay, Never Mind. Sam Altman Returns to OpenAI

The OpenAI CEO is back after a brief absence.

Last week, we reported on Sam Altman’s firing from OpenAI and his consequent relocation to Microsoft. At the time it all seemed like a done deal. The board of directors at OpenAI agreed to oust Altman, and days later, the former ex-CEO was offered the opportunity to head up Microsoft’s AI development. That’s all changed now. After an intense corporate battle, Altman is back at OpenAI. The former board of directors at OpenAI ridded Altman on the basis of his apparent lack of candidness in his communication, and they refused to comment on the matter further. However, Altman is back at the helm and with a new board of directors. It’s been a busy weekend. Much of the details on Read More ›

Fuse burning on black background isolated

What Mission Impossible Tells Us About AI Mythology

If you’re looking for an intelligent take on existential risk and superintelligent AI, the latest Mission Impossible movie is not for you.

Tom Cruise — I mean Ethan Hunt — likes to run. He likes to ride motorcycles. He’s always down to speed race cars. He’s all in on leaping out of windows, base jumping, and hand to hand combat. And he always wins the heart of the beautiful girl. You’ll see all this in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One, the latest in the long-running film series, and the film series’ foray into “existential risk” thinking about superintelligent AI. “The Entity,” as it’s called, is the nemesis that Hunt and other members of the mum’s-the-word spy organization IMF (Impossible Mission Force) must confront, against all odds, as it’s smarter than any human, and learning constantly. The Entity cleverly captures personal information about Hunt’s Read More ›

3d abstract render of blue glass cubes in grid forming data trend

Sam Altman Out at OpenAI, Microsoft Picks Him Up

Will Microsoft become the prime leader in the AI movement, and what will be the future of OpenAI?

The CEO and founder of OpenAI, the tech company responsible for creating ChatGPT, was fired by the company’s board last week in a surprising turn of events. The former executive’s dramatic firing was followed by rumors of his potential rejoining OpenAI, but that’s a false hope. Microsoft hired Altman after his failed attempt to retake control of OpenAI over the weekend. Altman will reportedly head up artificial intelligence efforts at Microsoft, according to CNN. Krystal Hur reports, Microsoft stock reached a record high on Monday after the company said that Sam Altman, former chief executive of OpenAI, will join the company to head its artificial intelligence innovation leg. Shares of the tech behemoth hit $377.10 on Monday morning before retreating slightly. The Read More ›

Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and modern computer technologies concepts. Business, Technology, Internet and network concept.

Why ChatGPT Is Killing Off Traditional AI

We're living in another AI "winter"

The web proved that gathering data and using machine learning techniques resulted in superior performance on a number of central tasks in information extraction and natural language processing, like entity extraction, co-reference resolution, and many others (sentiment analysis et al). For all practical purposes, the debate about this raging on among AI scientists was resolved definitely by about 2010 — that the idea of hiring smart people to hand-code “knowledge” in a computer-readable language was quite limited. It had its day, to be sure, but it wasn’t a path to AGI. It wasn’t a path to anything other than hiring philosophers. My own career transitioned from doing the manual code-it-all-in approach to training and developing systems based on provision of data. Read More ›

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 ›

Panoramic view on planet Earth globe from space. Glowing city lights, light clouds. Generative AI

Productivity Increase Will Take Time in the Age of AI

An acceleration in productivity growth from AI isn’t right around the corner, despite promises by economists.

ChatGPT and other forms of generative AI certainly seem impressive. The ability to produce grammatically correct text, workable code, and beautiful pictures has captivated the world and caused some economists to claim they have found the means of accelerating productivity. A Federal Reserve Board governor says she is impressed. Lisa Cook’s speech on September 22, 2023, at the National Bureau of Economic Research Economics of Artificial Intelligence Conference led Bloomberg to publish an article titled “Fed’s Cook Sees Signs of AI Improving US Labor Productivity.” Yet the speech contains no evidence that this is occurring, being filled instead with statements such as, “I am optimistic about broad benefits accruing to the economy and society from the use of generative AI Read More ›

History of science, concept. Isaac Newton with Apple in hand

Don’t Expect AI to Revolutionize Science 

Data science is a downstream phenomenon. Thinking isn't. 

The September 2023 cover of The Economist features a robot sitting under an apple tree, raising a finger to some Eureka! moment, after an apple falls from the tree and hits it on the head. Anyone even remotely familiar with the history of science knows the image belongs to Isaac Newton, who gave an account of an apple falling to the ground while sitting in his garden at Woolsthorpe Manor in 1666. As he later recounted, he asked himself why the apple should fall perpendicularly to the ground, which gave rise to the idea that the very same force pulling the apple to earth kept the moon falling to the earth, and the earth to the sun. The apple, in other words, Read More ›

Young woman cycling in the park at sunset

Computers May Know “How” but They Still Don’t Know “Why”

Computers will not equal, let alone surpass, human intelligence.

Several years ago, a visiting professor taught an introductory statistics class at Pomona College, where I have taught for more than 40 years. When I asked how the class was going, he said, “At my university students ask how; here they ask why.” Knowing how to do a statistical test is important but more important is knowing why a specific test might be appropriate. During a recent Saturday morning bike ride, I got to thinking about the way that this distinction relates to the limitations of current AI systems. Take something as simple as peddling a bicycle. A robotic bike rider equipped with a powerful AI system might be programmed to peddle or it might be trained to peddle by Read More ›


Will Digital Inbreeding Be the End of AI?

Without the creative input of humans, AI is doomed to deteriorate.

On Thursday, November 2, COSM 2023 hosted a panel on “The Quintessential Limits and Possibilities of AI,” addressing one of the fundamental questions COSM seeks to investigate: “Is AI ‘generative’ or degenerative?” If these experts are right, AI might be doomed to eventually degenerate into nonsense. George Montañez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, opened the session by explaining how AI works. Modern AIs and their “large language models” (LLMs) are trained on huge sets of real-world data — namely text and images generated by humans. Panelist William Dembski, a  mathematician and philosopher, pointed out that these LLMs “require a lot of input data and training” in order to work. For example, he notes that it took Read More ›

Robot typing on keyboard

Does Passing the Turing Test Guarantee We’ve Created True AI?

A true test of AI will be able to distinguish between AI and human intelligence.

As noted, at COSM 2023 futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted that by 2029 AI will pass the “Turing test,” effectively making it impossible for us to distinguish computer intelligence from that that of a human being. As I explained, The “Turing test,” was developed by Alan Turing, the famous British computer scientist and World War II codebreaker depicted by Benedict Cumberbatch in the Academy Award-winning movie, The Imitation Game. In 1950, Turing proposed that we could say that computers had effectively achieved humanlike intelligence when a human investigator could not distinguish the performance of a computer from that of a human being. The test has seen many variations and criticisms over the years, but it remains the gold standard for evaluating Read More ›

Hand drawn robot

LLMs Are Still Faux Intelligence

Large language models are remarkable but it's a huge mistake to think they're "intelligence" in any meaningful sense of the word.

In the popular television game show Jeopardy!, three contestants are given general-knowledge clues in the form of answers and respond with questions that fit the answers. For example, the clue, “Fifth President of the United States,” would be answered correctly with “Who is James Monroe?” In 2005 a team of IBM engineers was tasked with designing a computer system they named Watson that could defeat the best human Jeopardy players. Watson used hundreds of algorithms to identify keywords or phrases in a question, matched these keywords to people, places, and things in its massive database, and then formulated possible answers. The more the algorithms agreed on an answer, the more certain Watson was that it was the correct answer. In Read More ›

Human multicolored iris of the eye animation concept. Rainbow lines after a flash scatter out of a bright binary circle and forming volumetric a human 
eye iris and pupil. 3d rendering background 4K

At COSM ’23, Futurist Ray Kurzweil Preaches the Gospel of Artificial Intelligence

The technology futurist thinks AI is humanity's destiny.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way in just the past year since Discovery Institute hosted the previous COSM. After a recent explosion of impressive AI-based “chatbots,” BBC’s Science Focus recently declared that “2023 is the year of artificial intelligence, with AI chatbots emerging as indispensable tools for businesses, individuals, and organisations worldwide.” Thus, COSM 2023 offered an ideal moment to host speaker Ray Kurzweil, a computer scientist, futurist, top Google engineer, and arguably the greatest prophet of AI to ever span the mainstream academic and tech worlds. Future Forecast According to Kurzweil, what we’ve seen so far from AI ain’t nothin’. During his lecture at COSM on Thursday, November 2, Kurzweil repeated forecasts he has made elsewhere that Read More ›