Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

two human figures art
hope, freedom, life, different, contrast concept, blue sky human with broken human, surreal and fantasy artwork, conceptual art, painting illustration, sadness and depression idea

Making Art Is Uniquely Human

While the architects of AI "art" tools like to think their technology can replace human creativity, the artistic impulse is uniquely human

In my last post, I wrote about a novelist who used a version of the AI art tool known as Stable Diffusion to gather images for a promotional website. She wanted erotic and violent elements in the artwork and found that other AI art tools included “guardrails” limiting access to graphic results. But if these images are disconnected from a human, imaginative process, can we say AI-generated results qualify as creative works? Artificial intelligence doesn’t only challenge our notions of what it means to be human. It also makes us wonder what it means to make art and whether human beings are the only agents capable of creating it. Walter Kirn addressed this question poignantly in a Substack essay.  Kirn…

once-more-unto-the-breach-3d-illustration-of-science-fiction-scene-with-robot-general-holding-battle-hammer-rallying-his-android-troops-under-a-stormy-dark-sky-stockpack-adobe-stock
Once more unto the breach / 3D illustration of science fiction scene with robot general holding battle hammer rallying his android troops under a stormy dark sky

Oh, Not This Again: “AI Will Rise Up and Destroy Mankind”

The advances of AI raise a number of issues, yes. But the intelligences behind these advances are not artificial at all

A new paper from researchers at Oxford University and Google’s Deepmind prophesies that “the threat of AI is greater than previously believed. It’s so great, in fact, that artificial intelligence is likely to one day rise up and annihilate humankind … Cohen says the conditions the researchers identified show that the possibility of a threatening conclusion is stronger than in any previous publication.” (MSN, September 15, 2022) How? Why? The research paper predicted life on Earth turning into a zero-sum game between humans and the super-advanced machinery. Michael K. Cohen, a co-author of the study, spoke about their paper during an interview. In a world with infinite resources, I would be extremely uncertain about what would happen. In a world…

closeup-of-hummingbird-hawk-moth-butterfly-macroglossum-stellatarum-feeding-of-red-valerian-flowers-centranthus-ruber-in-flight-its-a-species-of-hawk-moth-found-across-temperate-regions-of-eurasi-stockpack-adobe-stock
Closeup of Hummingbird Hawk-moth butterfly (Macroglossum stellatarum) feeding of red valerian flowers (Centranthus ruber) in flight. Its a species of hawk moth found across temperate regions of Eurasi

Machine Uses Live Hawk Moth Antenna for Smell Detection

Human-created sensors are not sensitive, fast, or discerning enough to identify and process smells in the danger zones for which the Smellicopter was designed

We’ve often written about electronic prostheses that link up with the human nervous system — which essentially means controlling the prosthesis by thoughts alone. A reversal is also possible, as the University of Washington demonstrated in 2020: A machine (the “Smellicopter”) used an insect’s antenna to identify and seek out smells: “Nature really blows our human-made odor sensors out of the water,” said lead author Melanie Anderson, a UW doctoral student in mechanical engineering. “By using an actual moth antenna with Smellicopter, we’re able to get the best of both worlds: the sensitivity of a biological organism on a robotic platform where we can control its motion.” Sarah McQuate, “The Smellicopter is an obstacle-avoiding drone that uses a live moth…

futuristid dystopian city
Dystopian futuristic cyberpunk city at night in a neon haze. Blue and purple glowing neon lights. Urban wallpaper. 3D illustration.

AI Art Tool Can Generate Both Beauty and Horror

Making AI image generators mainstream might offer people an interesting new frontier to explore. But the tech has a serious dark side

The capacities of AI art generators have grown much in the past couple of years. Through complex algorithms, AI scans the internet and manages to make artistic composites, some sublime, others grotesque. Today, AI art generators have incredible potential, but their capacities can also be easily abused. According to a Wired article from September 21, Science fiction novelist Elle Simpson-Edin wanted to generate artwork for her newest book. So, she tried AI tools. Her novel unabashedly depicts gore and sex, but most of the AI tools she discovered included “guardrails” that sanctioned explicit content. That is until she found Unstable Diffusion, “a Discord community for people using unrestricted versions of a recently released, open source AI image tool called Stable Diffusion.”…

COSM-2022-george-gilder

Is AI Sentient? Where’s the Economy Headed? Join Me at COSM 2022!

We’ll find out together from a remarkable lineup of insightful movers, shakers, and thinkers

Where is the U.S. economy headed in the next year? Is decoupling from China realistic, or even possible? Is our country ready for widescale electric vehicle adoption? And what are the cutting-edge technologies that will change the world? These are just a few of the questions we will grapple with at COSM 2022. Register now for COSM 2022, Nov. 9-11 in Seattle Another is whether AI will ever achieve consciousness. Remember the Google engineer who made national headlines a month ago for claiming that the company’s AI had become sentient? His name is Blake Lemoine, and he will be making his case — in one of his first public appearances — at COSM 2022 in November. We have also added…

robot-women-2-stockpack-adobe-stock
Robot Women 2

Science Uprising 10: Asking the Impolite Questions About AI

Specifically about the big AI Takeover. Let's get past the TED talks

In Episode 10 of Science Uprising (September 21, 2022 10:35 min), we get a look at why — despite ultra-fashionable TED Talk-style doomsday claims — computers are not taking over. The short film starts with Sophia the Robot, that some hope will play a big role in health care for seniors: “Hello, world.” (0:13) “What emotion do you feel being awake in life?” “Curious.” Great. (Yikes…!) The film then cuts to the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute’s Nick Bostrom who announces to an enthralled gathering, “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make. Machines will then be better at inventing than we are now, as superintelligence with such technological maturity would be extremely powerful and…

concept-of-robots-replacing-humans-in-offices-stockpack-adobe-stock
Concept of robots replacing humans in offices

AI Is Not Taking Away Our Jobs — Because It Can’t Do Them

Robert J. Marks talks with KSCJ talk show host Mark Hahn about HAL 9000 and the opportunities and fundamental limits of AI

In the “Top Gun, HAL 9000, and Jobs of the Future” podcast (September 15, 2022), WBC director Robert J. Marks discusses whether AI is sucking up all our jobs with talk show host Mark Hahn, who can be heard on KSCJ in Sioux City, Iowa. Dr. Marks, author of Non-Computable You is a professor of computer engineering at Baylor University and a pioneer of AI swarm intelligence. This is the second half of the podcast. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-Episode-204-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Mark Hahn: Dr. Marks, artificial intelligence is something that many people have fantasized on a science fiction level; many shows have been about that. Of course, in Space Odyssey 2001, HAL took over, and that’s what…

army-aerospace-engineers-work-on-unmanned-aerial-vehicle-drone-uniformed-aviation-experts-talk-using-laptop-industrial-facility-with-aircraft-for-surveillance-warfare-tactics-air-strike-stockpack-adobe-stock
Army Aerospace Engineers Work On Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Drone. Uniformed Aviation Experts Talk, Using Laptop. Industrial Facility with Aircraft for: Surveillance, Warfare Tactics, Air Strike

Marks Tells Medved: Top Gun (2022) Is Way Out of Date

Computer science prof Robert J. Marks argues in Non-Computable You, that in the 21st century, drones offer significant advantages over fighter pilots

In the “Top Gun, HAL 9000, and Jobs of the Future” podcast (September 15, 2022), WBC director Robert J. Marks discusses a theme from his new book Non-Computable You with talk show host Michael Medved: Can drones should replace pilots in warfare? Dr. Marks, a professor of computer engineering at Baylor University, is also the author of The Case for Killer Robots: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-Episode-204-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Michael Medved: Why shouldn’t we be able to replace all those hotshot pilots, like the ones being trained in the movie Top Gun: Maverick — one of the most successful movies ever made, by the way, in terms of its box office receipts? That’s showing pilots doing death-defying, astonishing…

cheating-on-a-test-stockpack-adobe-stock
Cheating on a Test

Study: AI Fails To Catch Cheaters on an Exam

In a test of the Proctorio system, students who were told to try to cheat found a variety of ways to fool the system

Is AI the answer to student cheating on tests? Not that you’d know it from a recent study of AI detection system Proctorio at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Proctorio tracks students’ eye movements and body language while taking exams to flag “suspicious” behavior. So, as Vice tells it, 30 computer science student volunteers were told to take a first year exam that that system supervised. Six were told to cheat, five were told to act suspiciously without really cheating, and the rest were told to just write the test: The results confirmed that Proctorio is not good at catching cheaters. The system did not flag any of the cheaters as cheating. Some used virtual machines, a known…

big-ideas-illuminated-light-bulb-among-the-rest-of-the-unlit-bulbs-stockpack-adobe-stock
Big ideas. Illuminated light bulb among the rest of the unlit bulbs.

COSM Speaker Hopes To Put Creativity Within Every Human’s Reach

Jules Urbach, a game developer at 18, has large aspirations but he has the advantage of new software that might help

Jules Urbach, founder and CEO of leading cloud graphics company OTOY, wants to use AI to give every single person the agency to create. He is speaking again at COSM 2022 (November 9–11 in Seattle). Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15. Urbach, who started out in computer gaming at 18, is “a pioneer in computer graphics, streaming, and 3D rendering, with more than 25 years of industry experience. His experience has inspired him to try to help many more people be more creative: Jules Urbach dreams of a world in which anyone can be a creator and anything you imagine can be effortlessly brought to life in fantastic visual detail, without any prior visual graphics…

cpu electronic parts
Spare electronic parts isolated on gray background. 3D illustration

How Federico Faggin Put the Computer’s Brain on a Chip

In the Marvel Universe, a story like this would, of course, start with a portentous meeting of top AI brains in a secret mountain stronghold, holding the world’s future in their hands…

Federico Faggin, one of the inventors of the microprocessor, will be speaking at COSM 2022 (November 9–11 in Seattle). He was leader of the team that developed the Intel 4004, the world’s first commercial microprocessor — essentially, the brains of the affordable modern computer. A few key microchips have replaced the complex, room-size computers of the mid-twentieth century. In a sense, he is one reason why so many people worldwide can afford electronics today. Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15. In the Marvel Universe, a story like this would, of course, start with a portentous meeting of top AI brains in a secret mountain stronghold, holding the world’s future in their hands… This isn’t the…

COSM 2021

Software Pioneer David Gelernter to Speak at COSM 2022, November

Gelernter, a Yale computer prof, is known for thinking through problems from a non-Silicon Valley-elite perspective

David Gelernter has been derided as a “fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist” by influencers whose computer systems may well depend in part on his software (though they probably don’t know that and couldn’t tell us how). From his page at Yale University: The “tuple spaces” introduced in Carriero and Gelernter’s Linda system (1983) are the basis of many computer-communication and distributed programming systems worldwide. “Mirror Worlds” (1991) “foresaw” the World Wide Web (Reuters, 3/20/01) and was “one of the inspirations for Java”; the “lifestreams” system (first implemented by Eric Freeman at Yale) is the basis for Mirror Worlds Technologies’ software. “Breaking out of the box” (NY Times magazine, ‘97) forecast and described the advent of less-ugly computers (Apple’s iMac arrived in…

robotic arm painting
Robotic Arm Painting with Brush Closeup 3d illustration

When Should AI Art Be Protected by Copyright?

Headlines read that AI has recently won an art contest. But what is art?

Damien Hirst cut a cow and calf each lengthwise into two halves and displayed them in four separate baths of formaldehyde in clear display tanks. The title of the creation, “Mother and Child Divided,” is a pun. The cow and calf were cut in two and were displayed physically separated. “Mother and Child Divided” in two ways. Get it? Hee hee. Is this art? Apparently so. The macabre bifurcated bovine creation won top place in the 1995 Turner Prize art competition. This simple example reveals that, like judging the palatability of raw oysters, ranking the quality of art is highly subjective. Jason Allen entered a piece entitled “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” and took home the first-place prize at Colorado State Fair’s…

futuristic-workspace-with-sparkling-particles-floating-out-of-glowing-screen-digital-art-style-illustration-painting-stockpack-adobe-stock
futuristic workspace with sparkling particles floating out of glowing screen, digital art style, illustration painting

AI Wins a Prize at an Art Show. So Are Human Artists Finished?

A painting generated by a carefully crafted AI prompt won at Colorado’s State Fair digital art competition. Some artists wonder if they still have a job

This painting, generated by artificial intelligence, “using a carefully crafted prompt,” won first prize at the Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition for digital arts: The award, which includes a $300 cash prize, was won by Jason Allen. While other candidates for the award used software like Photoshop and Illustrator to create original digital art by hand or alter photographs, Allen used an AI called Midjourney which can generate artworks or just about any kind of synthetic image from a mere line of text. The AI-generated artwork, which Allen calls “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,” depicts a bizarre but intriguing scene from the distant future or some other world in which human figures are in awe as they stare into a huge…

chocolate-and-vanilla-bourbon-ice-creams-stockpack-adobe-stock
Chocolate and vanilla bourbon ice creams

How We Know the Mind Is About Information, Not Matter or Energy

The computer program’s world is one of binary 0 or 1 decisions but the physical world is one of many different shades of more or less

It’s really hard to picture the “mind,” isn’t it? You might think of wavy ghosts, or a spectral light. But nothing very definite. The brain, on the other hand, is very easy to visualize. Images and videos are just a Google away. That’s why it’s easy to assume that our brains are the entities that do our thinking for us. The brain is not only easy to image, it is physical. We can (in theory) touch it. Poke it. The brain even runs off electricity, just like your computer. But what makes a computer run Windows? It isn’t just the transistors on silicon wafers. It isn’t just the electricity coursing through the circuits. Windows itself is a ghostly being, like…

Chatbot / Social Bot mit Quellcode im Hintergrund

Could Better Software Make Chatbot LaMDA a Person?

John Stonestreet looks at the materialist philosophy that underlies the conviction that a well-designed AI chatbot can become a person

On Friday, John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, offered a Breakpoint commentary on the recent episode at Google in which software engineer Blake Lemoine claimed that the chatbot LaMDA had become a real person. Google, of course, denied that and placed him on administrative leave. The topic is complicated by three different factors: At various stages, Lemoine probably was talking to human beings (colleagues standing in for LaMDA during its development, as is the custom. In any event, much interaction with the chatbot was edited for coherence before a draft was publicly available. Third — and more basically — a chatbot produces responses by sifting through many millions of human interactions in fractions of a second,…

robot-dog-delivering-pizza-3d-illustration-stockpack-adobe-stock
Robot dog delivering pizza. 3D illustration

New AI Institute Aims at “World’s Smartest” Intelligent Machines

Boston Dynamics’ Marc Raibert thinks they’ll make progress at machines that think like humans if they keep at it long enough

Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics recently announced the launch of the Boston Dynamics AI Institute, with more than US $400 million to start. Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert is to head it up, for the purpose of “creating future generations of advanced robots and the world’s smartest and most capable intelligent machines.” Boston Dynamics, founded in 1992, is already famous for its robot dogs: Raibert has bigger plans for smarter robots, as he detailed in a recent interview, as he told Evan Ackerman at IEEE Spectum: The new thing that’s clearly different from what Boston Dynamics is doing, is to make robots smarter, in the sense that they need to be able to look at the world around them…

theater-drama-and-comedy-masks-with-curtains-box-office-and-posters-in-the-background-ai-generated-digital-painting-stockpack-adobe-stock
Theater, drama and comedy masks with curtains, box office and posters in the background. AI-generated digital painting.

AI vs. Artists?: Here’s What DALL-E 2 Just Can’t Do

Artificial intelligence may be able to create generic images of particular items, but it can’t grasp and convey general concepts, says engineering prof Karl Stephan

(This article by engineering prof Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog (August 14, 2022) under the title “AI Illustrator Still Looking for Work: The Shortcomings of DALL-E 2,” and is reprinted with permission.) The field of artificial intelligence has made great strides in the last couple of decades, and any time a new AI breakthrough is announced, critics voice concerns that yet another field of human endeavor has fallen victim to automation and will disappear from the earth when machines replace the people who do it now.  Until recently, the occupation of art illustrator seemed reasonably safe from assault by AI innovations.  Only a human, it seemed, can start with a set of verbal ordinary-language instructions and come…

robotic vacuum hardwood
robotic vacuum cleaner on laminate wood floor smart cleaning technology

Turns Out, Computers Are Not Vacuuming Up All Our Jobs

Far from it, we can hardly find all the people we need to manage the computers

Let’s start with radiologists: In 2016 Turing Award Winner Geoffrey Hinton advised that “We should stop training radiologists now. It’s just completely obvious that within five years, deep learning is going to do better than radiologists.” Six years later, the number of radiologists has gone up, not down. Researchers have spent billions of dollars working on thousands of radiology image-recognition algorithms that are not as good as human radiologists. Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith, “The right and wrong way to use artificial intelligence” at New York Daily News (August 6, 2022) Technology researcher Jeffrey Funk and business prof Gary Smith could — and probably will — fill a book with examples, some of which they list and link to at…

cozy-domestic-christmas-interior-with-window-bed-candles-and-fireplace-neural-network-generated-art-picture-produced-with-ai-in-2022-stockpack-adobe-stock
cozy domestic christmas interior with window, bed, candles and fireplace - neural network generated art, picture produced with ai in 2022

What Can AI Text-to-Image Generators Do for Artists?

Developer David Holz discusses his Midjourney generator in terms of the communities that grow up around art generated from words or phrases

In an interview with David Holz, founder of Midjourney, Verge senior reporter James Vincent asks about the new text-to-art AI image generators that are shaking up the illustration market: Generally, the “few dozen” current versions — which rely on combining materials from across the internet — work reasonably well but here are the drawbacks Vincent notes: They’re tricky and expensive to create, requiring access to millions of images used to train the system (it looks for patterns in the pictures and copies them) and a great deal of computational grunt (for which costs vary, but a million-dollar price tag isn’t out of the question). James Vincent, “‘An engine for the imagination’: The rise of AI image generators” at The Verge…