Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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Creative Idea with Brain and Light Bulb Illustration, with Generative AI Technology

Dear Silicon Valley: You’re Over-Hyping ChatGPT

The abilities of these new chatbots are grossly overstated

Gary Smith and Jeffrey Funk, frequent Mind Matters contributors, co-wrote a piece at Salon on the over-exaggerated dreams big tech has for AI. They write, Silicon Valley’s pre-eminent leaders love prematurely predicting that their products will completely upend the world as we know it. The latest case study comes from Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company behind the ChatGPT AI chatbot that has gone viral for its convincing imitations of human writing. Two years ago, Altman wrote a manifesto, “Moore’s Law for Everything,” in which he forecast that artificial intelligence would make huge swaths of both white collar and blue collar jobs obsolete. -Smith & Funk, Don’t believe the hype: why ChatGPT is not the “holy grail” of AI research | Read More ›

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Rear view of a guy in his 30s looking at an art exhibition

Artists and Writers Unite Against AI

New Guardian article highlights the artists and writers pushing back against AI

A new article from The Guardian covers the struggle of artists, writers, and other “creatives” who are pushing back against AI systems like Midjourney and ChatGPT, which they purport is starting to replace their viability. Betsy Reed writes, Poetry may still be a hard nut for AI to crack convincingly, but among the first to face a genuine threat to their livelihoods are photographers and designers. Generative software can produce images at the touch of the button, while sites like the popular NightCafe make “original”, data-derived artwork in response to a few simple verbal prompts. The first line of defence is a growing movement of visual artists and image agencies who are now “opting out” of allowing their work to Read More ›

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AI vs. Human Intentionality

If ChatGPT were trained over and over on its own output, it would eventually turn to gibberish

We can do a simple experiment that demonstrates the difference between AI and human intentionality. ChatGPT and the like are a sophisticated form of a mathematical model known as a Markov chain. A Markov chain is based on the Markov assumption that the future is entirely a product of the recent past. In other words, if we know the recent past, then nothing else we learn about the more distant past will improve our ability to predict the future. In ChatGPT terms, this means ChatGPT is based on the assumption that everything we need to know to predict future words is contained within a limited window of previously seen words. ChatGPT’s window was 3,000 words, and I believe the newest version has Read More ›

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Robert J. Marks on Fox News

Dr. Marks talked about the hype over AI and where the danger really lies

Robert J. Marks, director of the Walter Bradley Center, was the subject of a new op-ed at Fox News, which featured his unique insights on artificial intelligence and how it can best be used by human beings. Contrary to much of the present alarmism over AI systems like ChatGPT, Marks remains level-headed about AI’s place in today’s world, pushing back against “sci-fi” apocalypticism while at the same time addressing real issues and concerns. Marks said, “No, AI is not going to take over. You’re not going to be its pet in the future. It’s going to be a tool which disrupts society, but we’re still going to be in charge. -Scott Whitlock, AI expert warns of too much ‘hype’: Humans Read More ›

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Moon detailed closeup

We Can’t Build a Hut to the Moon

The history of AI is a story of a recurring cycle of hype and disappointment

Once upon a time there live a tribe who lived on the plains. They were an adventurous tribe, constantly wanting to explore. At night they would see the moon drift lazily overhead, and became curious. How could they reach the moon? The moon was obviously higher than their huts. Standing on the highest hut no one could reach the moon. At the same time, standing on the hut got them closer to the moon. So, they decided to amass all their resources and build a gigantic hut. Reason being that if standing on a short hut got them closer to the moon, then standing on a gigantic hut would get them even closer. Eventually the tribe ran out of mud and Read More ›

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Artificial intelligence. Network in hive mind brain. Vintage futuristic poster.

Is the “Singularity” Already Here?

Two experts in the tech field warn that the singularity, as we've come to imagine it, might be right around the corner

The singularity refers to the future point when the human and the machine will merge––when the personal and technological distinction breaks down entirely. It sounds dystopian and far off. But, two experts in the tech field warn that the singularity, as we’ve come to imagine it, is right upon us. Writing for The Conversation, John Kendall Hawkins and Sandy Boucher comment, To understand why this isn’t the stuff of fairy tales, we need only look as far as recent developments in brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). BCIs are a natural beginning to the singularity in the eyes of many futurists, because they meld mind and machine in a way no other technology so far can. Elon Musk’s company Neuralink is seeking permission from the US Food Read More ›

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a woman is reading a book and holding coffee

ChatGPT and Personal Consciousness

AI vs. the human voice in literature and the arts

This week, Peter Biles, Writer & Editor for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, wrote a piece for Salvo on ChatGPT and the uniqueness of the human voice in literature and the arts. Biles cites Christina Bieber Lake, professor of English at Wheaton College, from her book Beyond the Story: American Literary Fiction and the Limits of Materialism. Bieber Lake pushes back against the reductionistic worldview of Darwinistic materialism, appealing to the personal nature of the human being and the relationships we share together. Since a computer fails to practice personal consciousness, it also fails to create meaningful literature, which always involves two persons––one person speaking to another. Biles also cites Robert J. Marks’s essential book on the topic Read More ›

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Retro wave 80s computer all-in-one illuminated by neon light isolated on black

AI is Old News, Says Tech Consultant

AI actually dates back to the 1950s. It is not new, says Funk

This week, Robert J. Marks sat down with technology consultant and retired professor Jeffrey Funk, who contributes often to Mind Matters, usually in tandem with Gary Smith. Marks and Funk talked about tech startups, where the industry is headed, and the exaggerated hype that currently attends the discourse over AI. Funk talked about the various stages of AI development. “AI is not new,” he said. AI is 70 years old. ChatGPT and other generative AI models are based on neural networks, which have become economical through Moore’s Law, through this incredible increase in computing power that has been going on since the 1950s. But it’s slowed dramatically. -Jeffrey Funk, Jeffrey Funk on AI, Startups, and Big Tech | Mind Matters Read More ›

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Cute 3D Snapchat Ghost Cartoon Character

You Too, Snapchat? Another AI Bot Hits the Scene

"My AI" is eerily human, like the Bing bot, and just as inappropriate

Snapchat introduced a new feature in its app: an AI chatbot “friend” called “My AI.” (Just what lonesome teens need.) We’ve already seen the rogue behavior of Bing’s chatbot, which, in conversation with a New York Times tech journalist, dubbed itself “Sydney” and started beseeching its human counterpart to leave his wife and fall in love with it. Romantic, right? Not so much. The journalist left the experience with the creepy sense that AI had just crossed a sensitive boundary, and that tech companies need to get better at controlling the unpredictable beast they’ve unleashed. “My AI” Gives Shady Advice to Kids Just a couple of weeks later and here we are with AI making inroads into an app used Read More ›

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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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Observing and Communing

What human art and literature do that AI can't

AI image generators like Midjourney or DALL-E are generally adept at capturing the accuracy of the human form. The concerns over copyright, job infringement, and general degradation of the visual arts via such AI are ongoing concerns for many artists and practitioners. However, a new New Yorker article by Kyle Chayka identifies a noticeable flaw in AI artwork: human hands. Missing the Big Picture Chayka begins by recalling an art class where he was asked to draw his own hand. It’s an assignment for beginners, and as behooves a novice, tempts the artist to focus more on the specific contours of the hand instead of the overall structure and form. The forest gets lost in the trees, so to speak. Read More ›

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Brain psychology mind soul and hope concept art, 3d illustration, surreal artwork, imagination painting, conceptual idea

Blake Lemoine and Robert J. Marks on the Mind Matters Podcast

Marks and Lemoine discuss sentience in AI and the question of the soul

Robert J. Marks, director of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence, sat down with former Google employee Blake Lemoine, who made headlines last year when he claimed AI can be “sentient.” The claim also led to his departure from Google. The two had a fascinating conversation, to say the least. In today’s episode, they discuss whether AI can indeed become sentient, the non-computability of certain human traits, and the question of the soul. Marks and Lemoine couldn’t differ more on these fundamental points. Whereas Lemoine thinks AI can be sentient, Marks firmly rejects such a notion. In addition, Lemoine’s materialistic worldview controls his understanding of the brain, while Marks defends the existence of the immaterial mind. While Read More ›

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Mature woman having scones with orange jam

AI and “Qualia,” the Ability to Experience

Robert J. Marks writes on AI's limits in new article at Salvo

Robert J. Marks wrote an article for the Spring Issue of Salvo Magazine on AI, covering his ideas on its “non-computability” in the areas of love, empathy, and creativity. The Quality of Qualia I was particularly intrigued by Marks’s thoughts on qualia, a term used to describe the multifaceted realm of sensory experience. We often report on AI’s inability to be creative here at Mind Matters, but what about experiencing the world through touch, smell, and sight? Qualia is related to the mystery of consciousness, another non-computable feature of human life, and according to Marks, is far out of the purview of AI capabilities. Marks writes about the experience of biting into an orange as an example: If the experience Read More ›

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Students making notes

Learning to Communicate

Why writing skills are so important, especially in today's artificial world

Educators have been shaken by fears that students will use ChatGTP and other large language models (LLMs) to answer questions and write essays. LLMs are indeed astonishing good at finding facts and generating coherent essays — although the alleged facts are sometimes false and the essays are sometimes tedious BS supported by fake references. I am more optimistic than most. I am hopeful that LLMs will be a catalyst for a widespread discussion of our educational goals. What might students learn in schools that will be useful long after they graduate? There are many worthy goals, but critical thinking and communication skills should be high on any list. I’ve written elsewhere about how critical thinking abilities are important for students Read More ›

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Earth at night from outer space with city lights on North America continent. 3D rendering illustration. Earth map texture provided by Nasa. Energy consumption, electricity, industry, ecology concepts.

Robert J. Marks on The Laura Ingraham Show

In response to those who believe AI will take over the world, Marks says, "Look at history."

Robert J. Marks, director of Discovery Institute’s Walter Bradley Center, recently appeared on a podcast episode with Fox News host Laura Ingraham to talk about artificial intelligence, tech, and Dr. Marks’s book Non-Computable You: What You Do That AI Never Will. Ingraham prefaced the conversation with some thoughts on the rapidly evolving technological world we find ourselves in, and the changes such developments are inflicting on society. In response to the futurism and unbounded optimism in AI systems like ChatGPT that many modern figures hold, Marks said that what computers do is strictly algorithmic, This leads us to the idea of whether or not there are non-computable characteristics of human beings, and I think there is growing evidence that there Read More ›

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Man standing in a high place looking up in wonder to the Milky Way galaxy. Small silhouette of a man under the Milky Way and the magical starry sky. Concept of human smallness.

Time for Artificial General Intelligence? Not So Fast, OpenAI

OpenAI CEO is ambitious about the company's direction, but are his hopes profoundly misguided?

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is ambitious about his company’s future, promising the world that they are developing “artificial general intelligence” (AGI) that will supposedly compete with human intelligence, per a recent Futurism piece. However, the ambition is misguided. Or more than that, the ambition is simply delusional. AI is “not even close” to attaining the creativity and intelligence of human beings, and Altman shouldn’t be parading OpenAI products as if it is. Victor Tangermann writes, In reality, however, LLMs have a very long way to go until they’re able to compete with the intellect of a human being — which is why several experts are calling foul on Altman’s recent blog post, calling it meaningless and misleading. After all, AGI Read More ›

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A holographic head representing modern technology / ai floats in a classroom setting. Created with generative ai

Text Generators, Education, and Critical Thinking: an Update

The fundamental problem remains that, not knowing what words mean, AI has no critical thinking abilities

This past October, I wrote that educational testing was being shaken by the astonishing ability of GPT-3 and other large language models (LLMs) to answer test questions and write articulate essays. I argued that, while LLMs might mimic human conversation, they do not know what words mean. They consequently excel at rote memorization and BS conversation but struggle mightily with assignments that are intended to help students develop their critical thinking abilities, such as Lacking any understanding of semantics, LLMs can do none of this. To illustrate, I asked GPT-3 two questions from a midterm examination I had recently given in an introductory statistics class. Both questions tested students critical thinking skills and GPT-3 bombed both questions. I was hopeful Read More ›

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Artificial intelligence - sentient AI thinking for itself using computational data and a human-like sense of consciousness and conscience. Generative AI

Ex-Googler Blake Lemoine Still Thinks AI is Sentient

Lemoine posits that because AI can appear to act anxious and stressed, it can be assumed to be sentient

Blake Lemoine, who formerly worked for Google, has doubled down on his claim that AI systems like LaMDA and Chat-GPT are “sentient.” Lemoine went public on his thoughts on sentience in The Washington Post last June with his bold claim, and since parting ways with Google, has not backed down on his beliefs. Lemoine posits that because AI can appear to act anxious and stressed, it can be assumed to be sentient. Maggie Harrison writes at Futurism, An interesting theory, but still not wholly convincing, considering that chatbots are designed to emulate human conversation — and thus, human stories. Breaking under stress is a common narrative arc; this particular aspect of machine behavior, while fascinating, seems less indicative of sentience, Read More ›

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Let’s Take the “I” Out of AI

Large language models, though impressive, are not the solution. They may well be the catalyst for calamity.

When OpenAI’s text generator, ChatGPT, was released to the public this past November, the initial reaction was widespread astonishment. Marc Andreessen described it as, “Pure, absolute, indescribable magic.” Bill Gates said that the creation of ChatGPT was as important as the creation of the internet. Jensen Huang, Nvidia’s CEO, Jensen Huang, said that, “ChatGPT is one of the greatest things ever created in the computing industry.” Conversations with ChatGPT are, indeed, very much like conversations with a super-intelligent human. For many, it seems that the 70-year search for a computer program that could rival or surpass human intelligence has finally paid off. Perhaps we are close to the long-anticipated singularity where computers improve rapidly and autonomously, leaving humans far behind, Read More ›

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Photographer Who Used Midjourney Calls His Own Bluff

The lifelike portraits gained attention, but alas, weren't real

Joe Avery started posting portraits on his Instagram page in 2022, getting attention and gaining followers at a surprising pace. His pictures were aesthetically pleasing, rendered in black and white, and given captions that assumed the faces in the pictures were legitimately human except, oops. Turns out, they were all AI-generated. Richard Whiddington writes at Artnet News, The problem, one Avery struggled to disclose to his 28,000 followers, was that he was creating the images using Midjourney, an A.I. image generator. Avery made the images by entering a text prompt into Midjourney and then fine-tuning them using Photoshop.” -Richard Whiddington, A Photographer Who Found Instagram Fame for His Striking Portraits Has Confessed His Images Were Actually A.I.-Generated (artnet.com) Avery claimed the images Read More ›