Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

Golden Piano Keys

Is the New Synthesia Piano Program a Crutch—or a Skateboard?

The Synthesia program is a piano roll in digital form.  But instead of a player piano, there is a human piano player, playing the part of the player piano's trackerbar. 
So are the piano teachers of the world doomed by the advent of Synthesia and its spawn of YouTube videos? It doesn't look that way. Read More ›
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A Man, A Boat, and a Goat — and a Chatbot!

Forty-five years ago, Douglas Hofstadter noted a key problem with AI: It can’t do the astonishing things our brains do, as chatbots reveal when asked to solve puzzles
Not understanding what words mean or how they relate to the real world, chatbots have no way of determining whether their responses are sensible, let alone true Read More ›

Jerry Seinfeld Had a Bone to Pick with AI in His Duke Speech

Seinfeld: the implicit message of AI is that "you can't do it"

The iconic comedian and author Jerry Seinfeld gave the commencement speech to the class of 2024 at Duke University; as a supporter of the state of Israel, dozens of students walked out of the ceremony, chanting “free Palestine” while the larger crowds in the stadium counteracted by chanting “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” Seinfeld went on to give a wise, insightful, and of course, hilarious speech about hard work, family, and using one’s privilege to benefit the world. He also had some comedic remarks on artificial intelligence, and what the hype over large language models unfortunately says about modern American culture. “AI is the most embarrassing thing we’ve invented during man’s timeline on earth,” said Seinfeld. “This seems to be the justification Read More ›

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Bill Dembski at COSM 2023

The mathematician and philosopher chats about AI and the questions it raises

Every COSM conference, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Jay Richards sits down with some of the keynote speakers to debrief and discuss important and relevant topics. Here, Richards is joined by mathematician, philosopher, and entrepreneur William (Bill) Dembski, author of over two dozen books, including Being as Communion: A Metaphysics of Information (2014). Together they discuss the limits and possibilities of AI, the philosophical questions posed by some of these new technologies, and the “conversations” Dembski has had with ChatGPT. Watch the short interview now and enjoy access to ALL of last year’s star-studded COSM conference.

Blockchain Information flows in the digital global networks. 3D illustration of data cells with binary code elements.

The Financial World Has Lost the Plot

Cathie Wood on the investment opportunities of the future.

“I feel as though the financial world has lost the plot,” said Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest, in last year’s star-studded COSM conference. Investors are avoiding risk and investing in safe but unpromising world of the past, said Wood, who went on to discuss the “trends and investment opportunities in technologies related to public blockchains, multiomic sequencing, energy storage, and robotics, that are tied together by advances in artificial intelligence.” Watch her intriguing talk below and let us know what you think of it in the comments! The fourth and final sequence of COSM 2023 videos have now been added to our YouTube channel, so you can enjoy a host of stimulating talks, panels, and conversations about artificial intelligence, Read More ›

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Final Release of COSM 2023 Videos!

The fourth and final tranche of COSM 2023 videos is now available.

The fourth and final tranche of COSM 2023 videos is now available — featuring topics such as how advances in artificial intelligence may affect automobile transportation, solutions to the vast amounts of energy artificial intelligence will require, and why we might be on the brink of seeing the most disruptive innovations the world has ever seen. If you weren’t able to attend, or perhaps you want to revisit some of your favorite speakers, take a look at our COSM 2023 playlist on YouTube! A few highlights of the recently released videos: You can also watch backstage interviews, in which Senior Fellow Jay Richards goes into greater depth with several speakers on the topics addressed onstage. Click here to go to Read More ›

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What Chatbots Have Achieved, and What They Haven’t — and Can’t

Chatbots (LLMs) succeeded where the older expert systems I used to work on failed but that does not mean that they are creative
An LLM generating a connection new to us, is not acting creatively. It is throwing stuff at the wall and seeing what we let stick. Read More ›
Pen, Writing, Letter.

The Uniqueness of the Human Writer

LLMs are shortcuts, but sometimes the shortcut makes you miss the point of the journey
The place of the human writer in our increasingly automated world has been a point of debate for years, even before the advent of ChatGPT. Read More ›
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Does ChatGPT Think?

Are Large Language Models like ChatGPT capable of legitimate thought?

It’s one of the hot topic questions and will almost certainly continue to be. Are Large Language Models like ChatGPT capable of legitimate thought? And what counts as “thinking”? Is there a quality to the concept that makes it distinctly human, or are the tech futurists right? Can AI computation be considered a type of cognitive activity? Stephen Wolfram, George Gilder, and Bob Metcalfe spoke on the possibilities and limits of AI at last year’s star-studded COSM conference. We are experiencing watershed moments in technology, with lots of hype to go along with it, but are we putting the cart before the horse in some cases? Discover more in this special recording on YouTube.

Futuristic AI Woman: The Evolution of AGI in a Digital World, Facial recognition, Artificial Intelligence, AI Generated Art

Don’t Trust AI to Sketch Your Suspects

The resemblance is definitely NOT uncanny in this case

A man broke into an old woman’s house recently, and after being described to the police in Kent, England, an AI image of the fellow was rendered. Usually, of course, an artist will sketch the profile of the criminal suspect based on details provided by the witness, but now AI is having its shot; only, the result was laughable. The profile looked like it could have come from the 2008 version of the Wii. It isn’t detailed, the neck and head aren’t ratioed like a real person’s would be, and it just simply came out cartoonish. Frank Landymore reported on the incident over at Futurism, writing, The suspect is described as being a white man around five feet, five inches Read More ›

Glowing mind image . Mixed media

No, Chatbots Are Not Conscious 

The arguments in favor of computer consciousness remain weak

In the midst of all the chatter surrounding AI and chatbots, one might be led to believe that the concepts of consciousness or even the soul, let alone the afterlife, are simply relics of outdated beliefs. This sentiment is often echoed by some scientists, raising the question: Is this truly the case? And should we readily accept this perspective? In a recent episode of Mindscape, renowned philosopher and cognitive scientist Raphael Millerie, who boasts an Oxford education and is now a fellow at the Center of Science and Society, teamed up with Sean Carroll, a prominent theoretical physicist known for debunking notions of the soul and the afterlife, to delve into the world of chatbots and AI (see episode 230). Read More ›

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The New Tower of Babel

The old ways of arguing and understanding each other are on the decline, if not on life support.

We all know Babel (no, not the language learning company). It’s in Genesis. The Biblical story about God making so many languages and dialects and (let’s add) opinions that no one could understand each other or effectively communicate. One legacy of the triumph of digital technology and AI in every corner of our existence is that we’ve recreated this Babel. Let me try to unpack this, and bear with me if it seems I’m saying something derogatory about one belief or another — my aim is to avoid that game and try to explain the mechanism, the social and cultural story, by which our new Babel is ascendant, and the old ways of arguing and understanding each other are on Read More ›


Robert J. Marks Discusses Artificial Intelligence in D.C.

Marks is making the rounds talking about AI and his new book.
Marks’ views on AI are valuable contributions to the current discourse on the topic, so it’s wonderful his book is making a splash with some big names. Read More ›
Large Language Models - Generative AI illustration

Large Language Models Are Often Wrong, Never in Doubt

LLMs are statistically driven text generators, nothing more
As an economist, professor, and writer, I am reportedly in imminent danger of being replaced by large language models (LLMs). I’m not worried. Read More ›
AI, Artificial Intelligence concept,3d rendering,conceptual image.

Is AI’s Future Open or Closed?

Watch Archana Vemulapalli, Head of Solutions Architecture at Amazon Web Services, discuss developments in artificial intelligence

Watch Archana Vemulapalli, Head of Solutions Architecture at Amazon Web Services, discuss developments in artificial intelligence with Bryan Mistele, CEO of transportation analytics provider, INRIX – especially ways in which AI can be employed to make people more productive and efficient, and in the end, make the world a better place. You can watch this video and many more from the most recent COSM conference, which featured leading thinkers and pioneers in the fields of tech, artificial intelligence, and computing.

Magician or illusionist is showing magic trick with wand and hat on dark background.

AGI as Magic: Not Real, But Still Deadly

AI's magical hype will continue to hypnotize, but its fundamental limits are stark, and need to be acknowledged.

Andy Crouch is a man who wants to evade the algorithm, so he doesn’t post much on X, but when he does, it’s generally an insightful nugget meant to be noted and digested. Crouch, a tech critic and a partner at Praxis Labs, doesn’t think AI will do all the wild stuff some of the futurists claim, but he does believe a belief in AI’s potential outlandish capacities, like consciousness, could be harmful. He posted on X, The analogy with magic is one Crouch has employed before in his extrapolations of technology. His thoughts echo economist Gary Smith’s frequent musings on this subject. The real danger of AI is not that it will become smarter than humans, but that we Read More ›


Does AI Make Immortality Possible?

Ray Kurzweil speaks out

Technology futurists are confident that artificial intelligence will soon surpass human intelligence, but will it enhance human longevity too? Computer scientist and pioneer Ray Kurzweil addresses this question in his fascinating lecture at COSM 2023, the national tech summit that witnesses the best minds on tech, AI, and its intersections with society. See Kurzweil talk about the direction he thinks AI is currently headed, and how our longevity could be affected as a result. See also a number of other exciting and timely videos from the most recent COSM conference for more material on these topics!

Futuristic AI robot in priest attire stands inside church and preaching. Setting combines traditional religious elements with advanced technology, showcasing unique blend of past and future.

Father Justin, a Chatbot, is Absolving Sinners

Critics are calling for the AI priest to be "taken down immediately."

Catholic Answers is a “media ministry that serves Christ by explaining and defending the Catholic faith,” according to their description on X. For Catholic observers, it serves as a good resource for deepening one’s faith and finding clarification on certain Catholic doctrines. However, the site recently introduced a controversial new member to the team: Father Justin, a chatbot “priest” designed to help answer people’s questions about Catholicism. In defense of this AI app, Catholic Answers said, As a leading Catholic apostolate, Catholic Answers is committed to leveraging the latest technologies to advance its mission of explaining and defending the Catholic faith. The Father Justin app is the latest example of this commitment, providing a new and appealing way for searchers Read More ›

University college audience or lecture room with students as back to school education study and learning during conference presentation and training seminar meeting

Universities Should Prioritize Critical Thinking Over Large Language Models

It is doubtful that LLMs can generate novel ways to boost productivity
No matter how many words they train on and no matter how many human trainers correct their mistakes, they will continue to lack the critical thinking skills. Read More ›
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AI’s Illusion of Rapid Progress

It always seems to be on the verge of perfection
Too many people are extrapolating from the systems that are purportedly automated, even though they aren’t yet working properly. Read More ›