Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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AI Chatbot Claude Passed My “Sex and Gender” Test. I’m Impressed.

The chatbot "Claude" isn't perfect, but it's miles ahead of the others.

The chatbots are improving — fast. One bot, Claude — developed by Anthropic — is truly impressive. In fact, it was the first to pass a test I’ve been giving to various chatbots over the last year. The test is a simple question, designed to determine, first, if the chatbot is just summarizing online stereotypes, or doing real analytic work, and second, if it is ideologically biased. Let me explain. For the last three years, I’ve been working on the controversy over gender ideology, which is responsible for the widespread claim that a child might be “born in the wrong body.” A central theme of this controversy is the shape-shifting uses of the word “gender.” Most people now use the Read More ›

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How Do We Define Successful Use Cases for Generative AI?

Current generative AI systems are designed to give us the most common solutions, instead of the new ones we need.

The debate about AI continues to diversify and intensify. Amidst the disagreements between techno-optimists and doomsayers, there is also a debate about the extent to which AI is currently used and will be used in the future.  McKinsey estimates that “generative AI could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually across the 63 use cases [it] analyzed,” five years after it said AI in general can deliver $13 trillion in economic value by 2030. Those are big numbers. On the other hand, Gary Marcus has questioned the existence of successful use cases, consistent with various surveys that show a slow uptake of generative AI. In addition, Gary Smith has repeatedly shown the limitations of generative AI in Read More ›

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Substack Gets It. AI Can’t Replace Human Writers

It was encouraging to see the up-and-coming writing platform boldly herald the uniqueness of human creativity.

A couple years ago, Substack, the writing platform that allows writers to build a subscriber base and earn money for their work, was obscure. Only a few seemed to understand what it was or why it was. When I signed up for it, it seemed like a “newsletter” service, but soon I realized that it was basically a really nice blogging platform. Anyone could make their own Substack account, write what they wanted to, and build an audience, however broad or niche. Eventually, whole publications like The Dispatch and The Free Press started to capitalize on the convenience of building their sites via Substack. In the last year especially, Substack has exploded, with many writerly types now preferring it as Read More ›

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Large Language Models are Still Smoke and Mirrors

Incapable of understanding, LLMs are good at giving bloated answers.

I recently received an email invitation from Google to try Gemini Pro in Bard. There was an accompanying video demonstration of Bard’s powers, which I didn’t bother watching because of reports that a Gemini promotional video released a few days earlier had been faked. After TED organizer Chris Anderson watched the video, he tweeted, “I can’t stop thinking about the implications of this demo. Surely it’s not crazy to think that sometime next year, a fledgling Gemini 2.0 could attend a board meeting, read the briefing docs, look at the slides, listen to every one’s words, and make intelligent contributions to the issues debated? Now tell me. Wouldn’t that count as AGI?” Legendary software engineer Grady Booch replied, “That demo Read More ›

cute artificial intelligence robot with notebook

Psychology Researchers: AI Showed Imitation, Not Innovation

Testing children and adults against chatbots, the researchers found that the chatbots could match things up but struggled to solve problems on their own

Have you ever suspected that a good deal of what hear about AI rendering humans obsolete is, well, hype? Apparently some people at the Association for Psychological Science have been wondering about that too. Enterprising researchers have just published a study in one of their journals, Perspectives on Psychological Science, that distinguished between imitation, which AI does very well, and innovation which … we will let them tell the story: AI language models like ChatGPT are passively trained on data sets containing billions of words and images produced by humans. This allows AI systems to function as a “cultural technology” similar to writing that can summarize existing knowledge, Eunice Yiu, a co-author of the article, explained in an interview. But Read More ›

Psychology concept. Sunrise and woman silhouette.

If Science Doesn’t Support Dualism — Well, It Should

At Big Think, Kmele Foster interviews five figures in consciousness studies. Not one is a dualist but a listener may come away with a new appreciation for dualism

In “Consciousness: Not just a problem for philosophers” Big Think commentator Kmele Foster interviews five very different thinkers, some of them at a conference at the New York Academy of Sciences. Some highlights to watch for: Panpsychist researcher Christof Koch lost a 25-year wager with philosopher David Chalmers earlier this year because no one has found a “consciousness area” in the brain. He tells Foster: Panpsychism really says, “Fundamentally, everything in the universe has two aspects: has an inner aspect and has an outer aspect.” It’s not something in additional you have to presuppose, but it comes inherent with object, with things. Complex things have complex minds associated with it. Simple things like maybe a fly or Protozoa have very, Read More ›

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AI and the Chinese Room Argument

We still haven't cracked the mystery of human intelligence.

One of the most well-known criticisms of AI is John Searle’s Chinese room argument. Published in 1980, the argument asks the reader to imagine himself a librarian in a large library full of books. These books are full of rules that convert one string of Chinese characters into another string of Chinese characters. Each day the librarian is given a paper with some Chinese characters on it, and he then looks through his books to convert the characters into a response. Throughout the whole process, the librarian does not know what any of the characters mean. He is just following rules by rote. Searle states that just as the librarian in the room has the ability to translate Chinese without Read More ›


The Present Shock We’re Experiencing

Our modern obsession with the possibility of truly smart machinery keeps a self-important anti-humanism alive and kicking.

In 1970, the American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler insisted the western world was suffering from “future shock,” the challenge of the times, too much change, too radical a kind, too fast for our social brains. He tapped a nerve: an information technology revolution (Intel’s microchip, the basis of the modern computer, debuted in 1971) was underway. Today the “IT revolution” is old hat, and future shock has morphed into what author and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff once called “present shock.” As the subtitle of his 2014 book puts it, present shock happens when everything happens now. The common thread here is our hyper-technological consumerist society that happily ignores lessons of the past and dismisses history itself as a compendium of Read More ›

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Who Has Time To Watch All That AI Can Create?

New technologies put deceased icons in direct competition with current actors and entertainers

The 170,000 actors who piled into the Hollywood Writers’ Strike earlier this year probably tipped the balance in favor of the 11,500 writers. Hollywood couldn’t do without that big a hunk of its creative talent for long. And the actors, as they doubtless foresaw, may be more vulnerable than the writers. Consider, for example: ● James Dean (1931-1955), who died in a car accident — after only three movies — will reportedly star in a new film, Back to Eden — as a digital clone: The digital cloning of Dean also represents a significant shift in what is possible. Not only will his AI avatar be able to play a flat-screen role in Back to Eden and a series of Read More ›


In the Era of ChatGPT, Bradley Center and Mind Matters News Defend the Irreplaceable Human

From the COSM conference, a groundbreaking new book, and hundreds of perceptive articles, the Bradley Center has had a significant and successful year.

Editor’s Note: Mind Matters News is sponsored by the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, a program of the non-profit Discovery Institute. We rely on donations from individuals like you to continue to operate. If you have benefited from Mind Matters News, would you consider an end-of-year donation to support our work in 2024? You can find more about the work of the Bradley Center in 2023 in the article below. This year the seemingly-miraculous capabilities of ChatGPT and other Large Language Models (LLMs) dominated public discussions about artificial intelligence (AI). While many pundits and tech writers openly wondered whether ChatGPT portended humanity’s doom, the Bradley Center provided a clear voice in defense of the continuing need for Read More ›

An artificial intelligence robot writer creating generative AI writing

Can AI Write Screenplays for Films You’d Want to See?

That issue was the heart of the Hollywood writers’ strike. How was it resolved? Or WAS it resolved?

Spanish model agency owner Rubén Cruz was having a tough time recruiting models so he created one. They created Aitana, an exuberant 25-year-old pink-haired woman from Barcelona whose physical appearance is close to perfection. The virtual model can earn up to € 10,000 a month, according to her creator, but the average is around € 3,000. “We did it so that we could make a better living and not be dependent on other people who have egos, who have manias, or who just want to make a lot of money by posing,” said Cruz. Laura Llach, “Meet the first Spanish AI model earning up to €10,000 per month,” EuroNews, December 2, 2023 Aitana doesn’t look quite real, of course, but Read More ›

people in the art gallery center

Why AI Can’t Create Genuine Beauty

AI, though a helpful tool in certain contexts, cannot replace the intentionality and creativity of the human person.

Discussions about the encroachment of AI in the arts and humanities have soared in the last year, thanks primarily to the advent of technologies like ChatGPT and text-to-image tools like Midjourney and DALL-E. The conversation is surely merited. Everything from academic integrity in universities and copyright for artists is at stake here as “generative AI” only improves. While fighting for the human voice in a context where the instant and automated is preferred, maybe it’s necessary to also ask what developments in our cultural history made these technologies so welcome. Why is AI so quickly finding a cozy spot in our society? Why did our technological landscape seem to have already set the mold for AI to fill? A satisfying Read More ›

Robotic hand using wooden geometrical shapes at during machine learning. 3d illustration.

Why the Turing Test Is Becoming Obsolete

Chatbots can easily pass the test without doing any thinking at all

Princeton psychology prof Philip Johnson-Laird and predictive analyst Marco Ragni (Chemnitz) propose a new type of IQ test for machines. In their paper, Johnson-Laird and Ragni argue that the Turing test was never a good measure of machine intelligence in the first place, as it fails to address the process of human thinking. “Given that such algorithms do not reason in the way that humans do, the Turing test and any others it has inspired are obsolete,” they write. Sarah Wells, Is the Turing Test Dead? Researchers wonder whether improved large language models require new tests for machine intelligence, IEEE Spectrum, November 30, 2023 The Turing test, was first proposed in 1950 by computer pioneer Alan Turing (1912–1954) as the Read More ›

Chinese flags on barbed wire wall in Kashgar (Kashi), Xinjiang, China.

China: An inside look at Neo-Totalitarianism

Writing in the journal Dignitas, Heather Zeiger outlines the Chinese government’s attempt at total control of the everyday life of residents of XinJiang province

Bioethicist Heather Zeiger, a frequent contributor to Mind Matters News, published a longform piece in academic journal Dignitas on the way that China uses total surveillance to keep the restive far western province of Xinjiang obediently in the fold. Briefly, most Xinjiang residents are Uyghurs — Turkic-speaking Muslims — in a country dominated by Chinese-speaking Han people. It is somewhat like the relationship between mostly English-speaking Canada and mostly French-speaking Quebec — except for one really important thing. In Canada, conflicts are almost entirely a paper war. In Xinjiang, totalitarian China appears to be trying to simply assimilate the Uyghurs by force. It is using the full panopticon of modern technology to do so. Zeiger writes, The Chinese government uses Read More ›

Funny pixelated boss sunglasses on new blue background. Gangster, Black thug life meme glasses . Pixel 8bit style. Color of the Year 2022. Very Peri

From Memes to Hodgepodge

AI again makes an odd mish-mash out of images, this time with memes

AI company Stability AI recently announced a new AI tool called Stable Video Diffusion, which turns images into moving videos. Naturally, Internet users started putting memes into the processor, and as Gizmodo has found, the results are a bit strange to say the least. Thomas Germain humorously writes, For less creative internet users hoping to drum up clicks (can you imagine such a terrible creature), the most obvious use of this tool is to plug memes into the thing. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened on Twitter—aka X—where a variety of meme-to-video AI creations went unfortunately viral. The results were about as horrific as anything you can imagine. -Thomas Germain, AI Turned These Memes Into Videos, It’s Horrible (gizmodo.com) If Read More ›

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Sports Illustrated Used AI-Generated Authors

Human authors for a human audience, please.

The big-time sports magazine Sports Illustrated allegedly used AI “authors” to generate multiple online articles. Maggie Harrison of Futurism wrote recently that when she and her team reached out to the magazine for comment, they removed all the AI-generated stuff from the site. However, they couldn’t do so before several screenshots were taken that confirmed the suspicion. A massive and influential publication was making up a portion of its own writers. Harrison reports, The AI content marks a staggering fall from grace for Sports Illustrated, which in past decades won numerous National Magazine Awards for its sports journalism and published work by literary giants ranging from William Faulkner to John Updike. But now that it’s under the management of The Arena Read More ›

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Is ChatGPT a Dead End?

There is still no known path to Artificial General Intelligence, including ChatGPT.

I want to talk more about Large Language Models (LLMs) and ChatGPT, as it’s all anyone asks me about when I give talks, either in Europe or here in the States. It doesn’t matter where. It’s always ChatGPT. Not self-driving cars. Not robotics. It’s the tech that Sam Altman dissed as “cloning human speech” that has apparently captured everyone’s attention. If I don’t talk about it, I’m not talking about AI. Got it! So I’ll talk about it. Garden Pathing AI Not to go all Altman on everyone, but I think LLMs are nothing but a “garden path” technology. Let me explain. In linguistics, a garden path sentence is one that starts out grammatically, but leads the reader to a dead-end. The Read More ›

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Okay, Never Mind. Sam Altman Returns to OpenAI

The OpenAI CEO is back after a brief absence.

Last week, we reported on Sam Altman’s firing from OpenAI and his consequent relocation to Microsoft. At the time it all seemed like a done deal. The board of directors at OpenAI agreed to oust Altman, and days later, the former ex-CEO was offered the opportunity to head up Microsoft’s AI development. That’s all changed now. After an intense corporate battle, Altman is back at OpenAI. The former board of directors at OpenAI ridded Altman on the basis of his apparent lack of candidness in his communication, and they refused to comment on the matter further. However, Altman is back at the helm and with a new board of directors. It’s been a busy weekend. Much of the details on Read More ›

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What Mission Impossible Tells Us About AI Mythology

If you’re looking for an intelligent take on existential risk and superintelligent AI, the latest Mission Impossible movie is not for you.

Tom Cruise — I mean Ethan Hunt — likes to run. He likes to ride motorcycles. He’s always down to speed race cars. He’s all in on leaping out of windows, base jumping, and hand to hand combat. And he always wins the heart of the beautiful girl. You’ll see all this in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One, the latest in the long-running film series, and the film series’ foray into “existential risk” thinking about superintelligent AI. “The Entity,” as it’s called, is the nemesis that Hunt and other members of the mum’s-the-word spy organization IMF (Impossible Mission Force) must confront, against all odds, as it’s smarter than any human, and learning constantly. The Entity cleverly captures personal information about Hunt’s Read More ›

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Sam Altman Out at OpenAI, Microsoft Picks Him Up

Will Microsoft become the prime leader in the AI movement, and what will be the future of OpenAI?

The CEO and founder of OpenAI, the tech company responsible for creating ChatGPT, was fired by the company’s board last week in a surprising turn of events. The former executive’s dramatic firing was followed by rumors of his potential rejoining OpenAI, but that’s a false hope. Microsoft hired Altman after his failed attempt to retake control of OpenAI over the weekend. Altman will reportedly head up artificial intelligence efforts at Microsoft, according to CNN. Krystal Hur reports, Microsoft stock reached a record high on Monday after the company said that Sam Altman, former chief executive of OpenAI, will join the company to head its artificial intelligence innovation leg. Shares of the tech behemoth hit $377.10 on Monday morning before retreating slightly. The Read More ›