Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

cursive writing
closeup of old handwriting; vintage paper background

Shakespeare vs. AI: Who Wins?

AI fails to do justice to the full range and depth of human language

I’ve written a fair bit in the last month on the development of AI art tools, but what about language? AI, as you’re probably aware, is not only able to mimic artistic styles. Its developers also want it to generate words, and to all appearances, they are succeeding. If visual artists are in trouble, how are journalists, novelists, and academics implicated in the AI revolution? I have a background in English, literature, and creative writing, so naturally, this AI issue hits a bit closer to home. Suppose an AI program could compose a short story with the prose quality and cohesive style of Ernest Hemingway. Could AI eventually produce news content, thus substituting the human reporter or journalist? As it Read More ›

painting of human eye
“Fluorite” - oil painting. Conceptual abstract picture of the eye. Oil painting in colorful colors. Conceptual abstract closeup of an oil painting and palette knife on canvas.

Human Artists and their AI Copycats

What will happen to actual artists if AI can mimic their styles?

Imagine you’re walking through a world-class art museum, and you come across Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.” (Let’s assume someone hasn’t already thrown tomato soup on it.) The painting isn’t a replication. It’s not a copy of a copy of a copy. It’s the original canvas and paint, the direct object created by the artist himself, shaped by age, visited by thousands of admirers—it’s “vintage.” You stand there admiring the work of a past genius, and get a sense of its beauty and meaning in a whole new way. There’s something unique in witnessing “the real thing.” Why do people travel worldwide to look at Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” when they can see a digital recreation through a Google search? Or why Read More ›

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Concept of translation from different languages on an abstract world map

What Happens When You Feed a Translation Program Utter Nonsense?

Indiana University cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter had a lifelong acquaintance with and admiration for the Swedish language and with the help of Swedish friends, became conversant with it. That led him in turn to try an experiment on machine translation programs such as Google Translate and DeepL. At Inference Review, he tells us, “although — or perhaps because — these programs have improved by leaps and bounds over the past few years, I greatly enjoy discovering and poking fun at their many unpredictable weaknesses.” Thus the author of author of Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979) constructed a paragraph of pure nonsense in made-up Swedish, something like Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” which plays around similarly with English: All mimsy were the borogoves, And Read More ›

Retro looking TV
Retro wave, 80s. Old tv with antenna with neon light. Top view, minimalism

The Graying of the Art — and AI — World

Why is so much modern media made up of rehashes and remakes?

The world of popular art (TV, movies, etc.) has a problem. I would even go as far as to label it a crisis. The problem is that the art world is becoming increasingly derivative. There are some points where it is obviously derivative—every movie is a remake, and every TV show is a reboot. We are getting the same stories regurgitated instead of novelty. However, there are also more subtle ways that this is happening.  TV comedies work largely by including inside jokes from previous TV shows.  One of the most popular writers of the 20th century was Louis L’Amour. What I think made L’Amour’s stories so great is that he could draw from a vast amount of personal experience. He could write about a lot Read More ›

fantasy v
NFT virtual land is an own-able area of digital land on a metaverse platform, NFT real estate is parcels of virtual land minted on the blockchain, conceptual illustration

The Danger of Deepfakes (and Deepcake)

In a metaverse world dominated by AI, life and art is in danger of being eclipsed

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other optimistic futurists think the metaverse is our collective future. We will exist in virtual nonexistence. We will eat, shop, worship, communicate, and marry in the metaverse. This is where progress is taking us. So, we’d best go along for the ride if we don’t want to get left behind. But “living” in a metaverse may be much more complicated than you might think. The question of identity, and who has the power to distribute identities at will, haunts the metaverse project, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution. In September, a Russian deepfake company called “Deepcake” (the name strangely makes me hungry for dessert) pasted the face of Bruce Willis on a Read More ›

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Social media concept. Social networking service. Video hosting website. Streaming video.

Does the White House AI Bill of Rights Amount To Anything?

Tech industry watchers aren’t sure

Recently, the White House has been advertising a blueprint for its “AI Bill of Rights”: “To advance President Biden’s vision, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has identified five principles that should guide the design, use, and deployment of automated systems to protect the American public in the age of artificial intelligence.” Summarized at CNN, these principles are That people should be protected from systems deemed “unsafe or ineffective;” that people shouldn’t be discriminated against via algorithms and that AI-driven systems should be made and used “in an equitable way;” that people should be kept safe “from abusive data practices” by safeguards built in to AI systems and have control over how data about them is used; Read More ›

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Metaverse technology future concept. VR virtual digital reality cyber metaverse simulation Innovation connection global blockchain experiences network futuristic. 3d rendering.

How’s Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Doing These Days?

That’s been quite the flop — but the world of virtual reality and avatars is mainstreaming quite rapidly

Apple’s Tim Cook doesn’t think much of it, apparently. Billions of dollars later, lots of people don’t: As waves of critics pointed out, the design of this “immersive” world is astoundingly underwhelming. In the cursed screenshot, Zuck’s pasty, robotic avatar — the design of which is perhaps a half step above a Wii Mii — is pictured in front of a sparse, sad landscape upon which arbitrarily sized replicas of France’s Eiffel Tower and Spain’s Tibidabo Cathedral are uncomfortably plopped. Maggie Harrison, “Wave of criticism hits Zuckerberg’s Metaverse for looking like crap” at Futurism (August 17, 2021) It turns out, even employees who built it don’t use it. At Forbes, the Money columnist thinks the basic idea is the way Read More ›

bumblebee

Did the Court Really Say Bees Are Fish?

And would an AI-run court — which some propose — make a different decision? Not here because California law allows the interpretation

See headlines like: “Great Day” For Bumblebees as Californian Court Rules That They Are Fish and: Bees are fish, California court rules You’d believe, on reading them, that a California court recently ruled that bees are fish. Another eyeroll-worthy court decision! Readers here might muse, “An artificial intelligence-run legal system would never make such a crazy ruling!” The Seemingly Boring Narrow Issue Let’s skip past the exciting headlines. The California Court of Appeal in Almond Alliance of California v. Fish & Game Commission faced the issue of “whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish, as that term is used in the definitions of endangered species, threatened species, and candidate species” under specific sections of Read More ›

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Knowing the Enemy

Elite World of Chess Rocked by Machine-Driven Scandal

A young player’s astonishing rise in the standings is linked to illegal use of a chess computer

After withdrawing from matches in protest, on September 26, world champion Magnus Carlsen accused Hans Moke Niemann, a grandmaster at 19, of cheating. He described cheating in chess as “a big deal” and “an existential threat to the game.” How is it possible to cheat in elite chess and how is cheating detected? Well, in many matches, the moves are made online. Chess.com is a website that detects cheating by comparing players’ moves with those of powerful machines. As Ella Feldman explains at Smithsonian Magazine, the Wall Street Journal got hold of a 72-page report from Chess-com on the problem: Did a player make a critical move that aligns with what a chess engine might suggest? And if the answer Read More ›

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Robot standing holding a pencil on notebook,retro vintage style

The Computer Is Not an Idea Machine, It’s a Powerful Pencil

Robert J. Marks talks to Pastor Greg Young of Chosen Generation about his new book, Non-Computable You

Recently, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks was a featured guest on Pastor Greg Young’s Chosen Generation Radio, in regard to his new book Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) . The nationally syndicated talk show on USA Radio networks, which can be found on stations including KTRB in San Francisco, KDIS in Little Rock, and KYAH in Delta, Utah. The topic turns to artificial intelligence and patents for inventions: Here he is with Dr. Marks, discussing artificial intelligence and patents. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 (The discussion started out with talk of beards.) Pastor Greg Young: Well, one thing that AI doesn’t have is beards. Robert J. Marks: They don’t have beards, among a Read More ›

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Robot with Artificial Intelligence observing human skull in Evolved Cybernetic organism world. 3d rendered image

Computer Takeover Won’t Happen, Say a Scientist and Philosopher

Jobst Landgrebe and Barry Smith say that the Singularity advocates are missing something fundamental about computers vs. humans

Scientist and entrepreneur Jobst Landgrebe and philosopher Barry Smith published a book last month that directly challenges the claim AI is becoming capable of human type thought and will run our world whether we like it or not. Here’s what critics are saying about Why Machines will Never Rule the World: Artificial Intelligence without Fear (Routledge, 2022) It’s a highly impressive piece of work that makes a new and vital contribution to the literature on AI and AGI. The rigor and depth with which the authors make their case is compelling, and the range of disciplinary and scientific knowledge they draw upon is particularly remarkable and truly novel. – Shannon Vallor, Baillie Gifford Chair, Edinburgh Futures Institute, The University of Read More ›

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Future Of Medicine

Would You Trust a Robot To Do Surgery on You?

If you were an astronaut, you may not have an alternative

We’ve heard about how Watson flopped in medicine — and yet a remote surgical robot is going to the International Space Station: On Earth, this technology already allows doctors to assist people in faraway locations where services are not readily available. However, the MIRA technology has the added benefit of performing operations autonomously, meaning that astronauts serving on the Moon and Mars could receive medical care without the need for a human surgeon. Matt Williams, “A Remote Surgical Robot is Going to the International Space Station” at Universe Today (August 8, 2022) Integrating AI and medicine is a complex dance. The Virtual Incision machine, slated for 2024, is part of a program to enable long-term life in space: “NASA has Read More ›

silly robot
Friendly crazy robot handyman on orange background. Creative design cyborg toy. Copy space photo

Tesla’s Optimus is Sub-Optimal

With other robotics programs far outrunning Tesla, it can be hard to see what Elon Musk is adding to the field and why he's even trying

As promised, Elon Musk demonstrated his prototype robot “Optimus” at the 2022 Tesla AI Day.  The original plan for the robot included: Navigating the world through AutoPilot (the Tesla vehicle’s driver assistance system) Being able to perform repetitive or dangerous tasks safely Being able to be instructed using natural language instead of programming A year later, the Tesla robot has not even remotely demonstrated the ability to do any of these things with any sophistication.  That’s not surprising given Elon Musk’s penchant for promising things and not delivering them, but it does drive home the point that many of Musk’s mistakes stem from his more general misconceptions about the nature of the world.  Musk is great at organizing people, capital, Read More ›

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The face of a businessman and a robot opposite each other look into the eyes. Modern technologies, robot versus human, artificial intelligence, neural networks. 3D render, 3D illustration.

One Thing We Can Know About Computers: They Are Not Creative

Computer engineer Robert J. Marks explains that to David Krieger at the Power Hour

Recently, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks was a featured guest on David Krieger’s The Power Hour (KCXL in Liberty, Missouri, and KTRW in Spokane, Washington, September 22, 2022). Despite a short-lived religion based on the idea: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 Robert J. Marks: In fact, there are entire religions which are based on artificial intelligence. One of the most incredible ones is a guy named Anthony Levandowski, who founded an AI church. In the AI church, here’s some examples. We are told that someday we will be able to be uploaded to a computer, and we can be reborn into an eternal life of silicon. And so that’s kind of copying from the Christian church about immortal life. That’s the way Read More ›

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Thinking robot

Should We Love or Hate an Intelligent Robot? Or Care at All?

In Season 3 of Orville that becomes a serious question

The Orville Season 3 was recommended to me by a reader. I recall seeing a large portion of the first season and enjoying it. I had not watched the second season until preparing for this series of reviews. Unfortunately, I must say at the outset that I found myself very disappointed in Season Three, ironically called New Horizons because it only retreads about half of Season Two. This latest season fell far short of my expectations which were based on my memories of the first season. Still, we’re going to take a look at each episode and see where the problems lie. Before beginning our review of the first episode, a little prologue is required. During the midpoint of the Read More ›

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A young man with a pistol gun is standing in front of a high school preparing to go inside and commit a horrible violent mass murder shooting.

Why AI Could (But May Not) Predict School Shootings

There is no solution that is not run through natural intelligence, computer science prof Robert J. Marks explains

In recent weeks, WBC director Robert J. Marks has done a number of interviews for his new book, Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022). At The Cat’s Roundtable, he was asked by host John Catsimatidis about the hype around AI and whether AI could, for example, predict school shootings. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 Robert J. Marks: It’ll continue doing great and exciting things, but there’s a lot of hype associated with it. People think, “Well, is the Terminator going to come alive? Are we ever going to face a scenario like we see in The Matrix?” And the answer is, “No. There are certain brick walls, which artificial intelligence will never go through,” and we Read More ›

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Group of IT experts

At COSM 2022, Blake Lemoine Faces Computer Engineers

… not talk show hosts… about his claim that chatbot LaMDA is a real person. Venture capitalist Matt McIlwain hosts the panel

Matt McIlwain, managing director of Madrona Venture Group a venture capital consortium, will be moderating a most interesting panel at COSM 2022: It includes ex-Googler Blake Lemoine — yes, he’s the one who started the global uproar around that Google chatbot LaMDA, which he claims is a real person. Google HQ didn’t agree… which is why he no longer works there. But is that because it is not true or because it is not popular? What Lemoine believes is still definitely out there. The main point: On McIlwain’s panel, Lemoine will be facing off against Baylor University pioneer in swarm intelligence Robert J. Marks and with George Montañez, an up-and-coming machine learning pro at Harvey Mudd College. Can he convince Read More ›

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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 Read More ›

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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 Read More ›

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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 Read More ›