Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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Cold fresh lemonade with slices of ripe lemons.

Insurance Company Gives Sour AI Promises

Data collection and discriminatory algorithms are turning Lemonade sour

An insurance company with the quirky name Lemonade was founded in 2015 and went public in 2020. In addition to raising hundreds of millions of dollars from eager investors, Lemonade quickly attracted more than a million customers with the premise that artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can estimate risks accurately and that buying insurance and filing claims can be fun: Lemonade is built on a digital substrata — we use bots and machine learning to make insurance instant, seamless, and delightful. Adding to the delight are the friendly names of their bots, like AI Maya, AI Jim, and AI Cooper. The company doesn’t explain how its AI works, but there is this head-scratching boast: A typical homeowners policy form has 20-40…

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the giant robot launching rocket punch destroy the city,illustration painting

Real vs. Digital Humans Locked in All-Out War — Sci-fi Saturday

The reals are attacking the digitals and the digitals invade Toronto in the 24th century in an attempt to power them down

“E-X-T” by director Adrian Bobb (Uploaded at DUST August 2, 2021, 7:38 min) “200 years after humanity has abandoned the real world for a digital one, the system’s most talented security agent is forced out of retirement to recruit and lead a team of talented warriors to eliminate a threat from a world no one has seen for centuries. The real world.” Further: “In the snow-covered ruins of 24th century Toronto, AEGIS, a humanoid war machine, leads a team of five similar yet unique machines into the EXT, the new real-world to retake an enemy-occupied server installation vital to the survival of their digital homeland. During an attempt to ambush a large pack of enemy-controlled war-drones, AEGIS recalls an interrogation…

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An internet email symbol and a group of people are separated by a red prohibitory symbol No. restrictions on access to the global Internet. Censorship. Information control, society isolation policy

Is “Misinformation” Another Way to Say “Unwelcome Information”?

Cameron English notes that, on social media, major media outlets can botch the science with impunity but the slightest offenses, real or imagined, get others silenced

At American Council on Science and Health (“promoting science and debunking junk since 1978”), Cameron English reflects on the handwringing among social media companies about how to crack down on “misinformation” on COVID-19. Given the number of authoritative statements made and suddenly reversed, tt seems that any such crackdown would largely be driven by politics. For example: Facebook recently announced that it would “no longer take down posts claiming that Covid-19 was man-made or manufactured,” and the company’s new policy nicely underscores this point about credibility. What was the social media platform’s justification for allowing users to discuss the lab-spillover hypothesis? It didn’t hire a team of virologists and foreign policy experts to assess the viability of competing explanations for…

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Beautiful Young Woman Looking Through Binoculars At The Sea On A Bright Sunny Day

Peering Into the Future with Nikola Danaylov

In a new online series, futurist Danaylov shares both wisdom and folly about future expectations for science and technology

Is our future determined? And if so, what is it determined by? These are the questions Nikola Danaylov is discussing at Singularity Weblog, an online format the futurist author and podcaster uses for addressing topics of science, technology, humanity, and the future. In his latest series, Danaylov – who playfully addresses himself as “Socrates” – posits that humanity’s future is, indeed, determined – determined by the stories we tell ourselves.  Before we jump into his fascinating analyses, let’s take a look at Danaylov himself to understand the worldview from which he writes. Danaylov is a futurist author and speaker based in Toronto, Canada. As a futurist, Danaylov is optimistic about the future of technology and the possibility of an age…

Stethoscope on computer with test results in Doctor consulting room background and report chart for medical costs in modern hospital on Laptop desk. Healthcare costs business and fees concept.

An Epic Failure: Overstated AI Claims in Medicine

Independent investigations are finding that AI algorithms used in hospitals are not all they claim to be

Epic Systems, America’s largest electronic health records company, maintains medical information for 180 million U.S. patients (56% of the population). Using the slogan, “with the patient at the heart,” it has a portfolio of 20 proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms designed to identify different illnesses and predict the length of hospital stays. As with many proprietary algorithms in medicine and elsewhere, users have no way of knowing whether Epic’s programs are reliable or just another marketing ploy. The details inside the black boxes are secret and independent tests are scarce. One of the most important Epic algorithms is for predicting sepsis, the leading cause of death in hospitals. Sepsis occurs when the human body overreacts to an infection and sends chemicals into the…

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Working helmet on a pile of stones

When Emergency Services Are Run by AI … — Sci-fi Saturday

It’s not just that AI doesn’t care; it can’t. And that shows

“Stuck” (2020) by Pablo Andrés Tobón Gallo (at Dust July 28, 2021,14:38 min) Many light-years away from Earth, Eve, a mine colony operator, awakes to find herself trapped underground after an explosion went off at the surface. Fear increasing as she feels the walls closing around her, one of her hands trapped, an oxygen leak in her suit and unable to use her thrusters, Eve has to find a way out. Fast. Review: Harrowing. The horrifying thing about the story is that these kinds of accidents happen in Earth’s mines and similar high-risk situations in real life. Ana Isabel Castillo Betancur turns in a good performance as Eve, who has no idea how incompetent management response can be, especially when…

Panoramic image, Man hand holding piggy bank on wood table. Save money and financial investment

The Word “AI” Has Become a Marketing Ploy

Think twice before investing in a business that uses the word "AI" without further explanation

Justin Wang received a bachelor’s degree from Murdoch University in 2012 with a grade of 83.7% and a master’s degree in Information Technology Management from the University of Sydney in 2016 with a grade of 82.5%. In January 2017, he founded a Singapore-based company with the mysteriously cool name Scry in order to “manage information technology to achieve business goals, as well as – and perhaps more importantly – how it can be wielded to disrupt existing value networks.” What’s behind the mystery and jargon? It turns out that Scry is a “social forecasting platform.” Users join for free and can enter their personal estimates of the probabilities that certain events will happen, with Scry calculating the average probability. For example, one question is,…

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Voice recognition, Machine Learning.

You Can Now Hear Our Articles When You Are Driving or Sweeping Up

Curious about that "loudspeaker" icon that has recently appeared in our articles?

You may have recently noticed a new icon that’s appeared on your screen at the beginning of our articles. If you press the little black button with the loudspeaker icon, you will find our article being read aloud for you. This exciting new application – which will make it easier for our readers to enjoy our content even while driving, doing chores, or running errands – is made possible by WebsiteVoice advances in artificial intelligence technology.  WebsiteVoice is a text-to-speech application that converts blog posts and online articles into audible material. It serves over 4,000 clients worldwide in 30 different languages. Founded by Mohamad Awad and Roz Burch, the WebsiteVoice team calls itself “a group of avid readers and podcast…

Robot Examining Financial Report With Calculator

Should Robots Pay Taxes?

Taxing artificial intelligence is the latest proposal to expand centralized control of human life

In June 2021, we started considering the provocatively titled podcast transcript, “Can a Robot Be Arrested? Hold a Patent? Pay Income Taxes?”, posted on the IEEE Spectrum site. Steven Cherry interviewed Ryan Abbott, physician, lawyer, and professor, about these topics and referencing his 2019 book, The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law. We’ve discussed whether artificial intelligence (AI) systems could be charged with crimes or can hold a patent. Whether “robots should pay taxes” turns out to be the scariest question yet. Touching upon the subject only lightly in the podcast, Abbott details the problem of taxing AI in Reasonable Robot, following this thought process: Automation using AI threatens to increase human unemployment. Current U.S. tax law encourages automation through favorable treatment…

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Reflection of a man looking at a help wanted sign in a business window, economy concept

AI vs. the Pandemic: A Hopeful View of the Future of Work

A look at what was predicted and what really happened

In 2019, philosopher Jay Richards offered some thoughts on whether robots would take all our jobs, as widely predicted. In the meantime, the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic idled many more people than robots did or could have. But let’s take a look at how well Richards’ reflections in “Creative Freedom, Not Robots, Is The Future Of Work” have fared. Note: Dr. Richards was speaking at the launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence in Dallas, Texas on August 18. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-142-Jay-Richards.mp3 A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Richards started by pointing out that vast numbers of pundits were committed to the view that AI and robots will take our jobs: Jay Richards: Let me give…

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Artificial intelligence

What If Your AI Started To Talk Like a Human? — Sci-fi Saturday

Should you just shut it down and leave the building?

“Intelligentia” (2020) by Ken Shinozaki (at DUST July 7, 2021, 11:12 min) “Lisa receives a butler A.I. to Turing test, and over the course of the procedure, she discovers the A.I. is not what it seems and her entire world disrupted.” Review: It’s a harrowing tale with a strong performance by Rain Fuller as Lisa and C. J. Baker as her boss. Lisa seems to be on the brink of a breakdown. Which the AI, “Eugene,” seems to have spotted… “Eugene” soon takes charge of the interview. And it becomes clear that “Eugene” is a conscious being. It’s fun sci-fi and well worth the watch. But a bit implausible toward the end. We are told that “Eugene” — essentially just…

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Seniorenpaar mit Rollator unterwegs mit Tochter

Computer Program Predicts When Seniors Have 6 Months to Live

Developed in Canada, the program is further evidence that medicine is growing increasingly impersonal

As if we needed further evidence that medicine is growing increasingly impersonal, the Canadian Medical Association Journal has published a study that claims a computer program can predict when seniors have six months to live. From the Global News story: Amid a lack of proper support for Canadians receiving home-based support towards the end of their lives, a new risk calculator is helping predict how long seniors have left to live. The Risk Evaluation for Support: Predictions for Elder-Life in the Community Tool — dubbed ‘RESPECT’ for short — can predict death within six months, and was developed using data from more than 491,000 community-dwelling adults aged at least 50 years who used home care between 2007 and 2013. Always with the acronyms to hide…

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concept of Different emotions drawn on colorfull cubes, wooden background.

Emotion Recognition Software Use Spreads While Science Is Doubted

Emotional recognition software has been coming under fire for misuse and racial bias for some time

An editor at AI Trends notes The global emotion detection and recognition market is projected to grow to $37.1 billion by 2026, up from an estimated $19.5 billion in 2020, according to a recent report from MarketsandMarkets. North America is home to the largest market. John P. Desmond, “Market for Emotion Recognition Projected to Grow as Some Question Science” at AI Trends (June 24, 2021) But the software has been coming under fire for misuse and racial bias for some time: “How people communicate anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise varies substantially across cultures, situations, and even across people within a single situation,” stated the report, from a team of researchers led by Lisa Feldman Barrett, of Northeastern University,…

Robotic Hand Assisting Person For Signing Document

Can a Robot Hold a Patent?

The boring answer is no, but the question raises intriguing thoughts about AI and intellectual property law

Since the late 1800s, people have been intrigued by robots. There’s something strange, wonderful, but sometimes scary about walking, talking, thinking machines, especially when in human form. Talking about “whether a robot can hold a patent” is bound to intrigue humanoids.  Mute the Robot Sound Bite In June 2021, we started considering the provocatively titled podcast transcript, “Can a Robot Be Arrested? Hold a Patent? Pay Income Taxes?”, posted on the IEEE Spectrum site. Steven Cherry interviewed Ryan Abbott, physician, lawyer, and professor, about these topics and referencing his 2019 book, The Reasonable Robot: Artificial Intelligence and the Law. Our previous discussion, “Can a Robot be Arrested and Prosecuted?”, addressed criminal liability for crimes committed by artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Now we consider: “Can a…

Robot prints on a typewriter

The Great American Novel Will Not be Written by a Computer

It takes more than statistical genius to understand words and create works of art

I’ve written before about how computer algorithms are like Nigel Richards, the New Zealander who has won multiple French-language Scrabble tournaments even though he does not understand the words he is spelling. Computers can similarly manipulate words in many useful ways — e.g., spellchecking, searching, alphabetizing — without any understanding of the words they are manipulating. To know what words mean, they would have to understand the world we live in. They don’t. One example is their struggles with the Winograd schema challenge — recognizing what it refers to in a sentence. Another example is the inability to answer simple questions like, “Is it safe to walk downstairs backwards if I close my eyes?” A third type of example is the brittleness of language translation programs. Yet another…

Gold chess piece on computer mainboard. Concept of IT strategy, making decision, technology background.

Why AI Chess Champs Are Not Taking Over the World

Mastery of closed-world games does not mean that AI can take over and run everything

At one time, the AI that beat humans at chess calculated strategies by studying the outcomes of human moves. Then, it turned out, there was a faster way: In October 2017, the DeepMind team published details of a new Go-playing system, AlphaGo Zero, that studied no human games at all. Instead, it started with the game’s rules and played against itself. The first moves it made were completely random. After each game, it folded in new knowledge of what led to a win and what didn’t. At the end of these scrimmages, AlphaGo Zero went head to head with the already superhuman version of AlphaGo that had beaten Lee Sedol. It won 100 games to zero. Joshua Sokol, “Why Artificial…

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They Knows.

The Pentagon’s UAP (UFO) Report Signals a Sharp Attitude Change

The brass have committed themselves to going “wherever the data takes us”

As promised, the Pentagon released its UAP (UFO) report. And what did they find? First, they … lack sufficient data to determine the nature of mysterious flying objects observed by American military pilots including whether they are advanced earthly technologies, atmospherics or of an extraterrestrial origin. Steve Gorman, “Watershed U.S. UFO report does not rule out extraterrestrial origin” at Reuters via Yahoo News (June 25, 2021) But read on: The report marked a turning point for the U.S. government after the military spent decades deflecting, debunking and discrediting observations of unidentified flying objects and “flying saucers” dating back to the 1940s. Steve Gorman, “Watershed U.S. UFO report does not rule out extraterrestrial origin” at Reuters via Yahoo News (June 25,…

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Robotic man cyborg face representing artificial intelligence 3D rendering

How To Flummox an AI Neural Network

Kids can figure out the same-different distinction. So can ducklings and bees. But top AI can't.

Science writer John Pavlus identifies a key limitation of artificial intelligence: The first episode of Sesame Street in 1969 included a segment called “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other.” Viewers were asked to consider a poster that displayed three 2s and one W, and to decide — while singing along to the game’s eponymous jingle — which symbol didn’t belong. Dozens of episodes of Sesame Street repeated the game, comparing everything from abstract patterns to plates of vegetables. Kids never had to relearn the rules. Understanding the distinction between “same” and “different” was enough. Machines have a much harder time. One of the most powerful classes of artificial intelligence systems, known as convolutional neural networks or CNNs,…

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hand of ants

The Most Promising Defense Against Militarized Drone Swarms

An EMP ray beam could disable an AI swarm like a can of bug spray against a swarm of ants

Want to be scared about a use of artificial intelligence in the military? Watch the leftist video Slaughterbots or the beginning of the movie Angel Has Fallen starring drone-targeted Morgan Freeman. Swarms are hard to defeat. Kicking over an ant hill and stomping on most of the agents in a swarm doesn’t derail the ants’ collective mission. Come back in a week and the anthill is rebuilt. Likewise, if all of the agents in a drone swarm aren’t taken out, the drone swarm can still accomplish its mission. As I mention in The Case for Killer Robots, autonomous swarms of drones are among the scariest applications of AI in military weapons. Russia has developed and tested military drone swarms. So has the United States military. General John…

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Vintage tin robot toys

Researchers: Humans “Exploit” Machines Without a Sense of Guilt!

Humans, we are told, are so unethical that we take advantage of "benevolent" self-driving cars

In case no one knew this, humans are cruel, greedy, and deceptive. We even take advantage of self-driving cars. Our crimes are revealed in a recent study that scolds humans as “unwilling to cooperate and compromise with machines. They even exploit them.” When you’ve stopped laughing, you might be interested to learn of some intriguing findings from studies of human behavior around self-driving cars (autonomous vehicles) and Prisoner’s Dilemma games. One team of researchers, in a test involving 9 experiments and 2000 participants, tried to determine whether humans would behave as co-operatively with AI systems as we do with fellow humans: The study which is published in the journal iScience found that, upon first encounter, people have the same level…