Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Why Don’t Some Tech Moguls Like Web3, the New Internet?

Web3 is a decentralized, less controlled version of the internet, as George Gilder predicted in Life After Google

In this week’s podcast, “Web3: The next generation of the internet” (August 4, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews graduate student Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert, both in computer engineering at Baylor University, on the coming decentralization of the internet. With developments like the ones they discuss looming, Big Tech may be seeing a waistline trim. This is the Part I of the first of the three discussions. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-198-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript and Additional Resources follow. Dr. Marks began by discussing all the services he gets from Google, confessing that he has not needed to go to a library in over two decades. But… Robert J. Marks: Now, is Google just being nice in giving me Read More ›

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Can Computer Neural Networks Learn Better Than Human Neurons?

They can and do; when artificial intelligence programmers stopped trying to copy the human neuron, they made much better progress

Neural networks are all the rage in computing these days. Many engineers think that, with enough computer power and fancy tweaks, they will become as smart as people. Recent successes playing games and predicting protein folds pour gasoline on the AI fire. We could be on the edge of the mystical Singularity, when humans and computers will merge and we become immortal gods. Or not. Let’s wind the clock back to the beginning of neural networks. In computer science terms, they are actually a very old technology. The earliest version, called a perceptron, (a single-layer neural network) was invented in the 1960s, inspired by McCulloch and Pitt’s early model of brain neurons. But, the perceptron was ignored for decades because Read More ›

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Four Problems AI Writing Tools Can Create But Can’t Fix

Effective communication doesn’t come in a box or a download. It starts with personal joy and suffering

Recently, we look at what AI writing tools can and can’t do. They might speed up writing your speech, term paper, or pitch by overcoming writer’s block. But they can’t replace creativity. Here are some cautions from the pros — four things that can go wrong: 1. Lack of innovation: Just when you need to sound unique, you risk sounding like one of thousands of people whose output was scarfed into the program. Blogger Bhavya J. Shah notes that an AI program will build in keywords that tend to be picked up by search engines. That said, Al writing tools use algorithms to produce their results. They can’t go beyond that window, therefore the X-Factor which makes writing stand out Read More ›

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Panpsychism: If Computers Can Have Minds, Why Can’t the Sun?

Sheldrake’s argument that the Sun is conscious cannot be dismissed out of hand by those who insist that computers can become conscious

Recently, biologist Rupert Sheldrake asked at the Journal of Consciousness Studies, “Is the Sun conscious?” It’s the sort of question that people might have asked before the dawn of modern science (and the usual answer was yes). Sheldrake is pretty controversial but he is likely right to note a “recent panpsychist turn in philosophy.” Prominent philosopher David Chalmers, who coined the term the “Hard Problem of consciousness,” has also said “We’re not going to reduce consciousness to something physical … it’s a primitive component of the universe.” But Sheldrake might have added that there is a panpsychist turn in science as well. After all, a mainstream neuroscientist recently argued in a science publication last year that even viruses are intelligent Read More ›

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Pioneer Environmentalist: Cyborgs Will Rule the Planet

In one of his last pieces, James Lovelock, famous for the Gaia Hypotheses argues that half-human/half-machines will be vastly superior to humans

It might seem odd that a pioneer figure in the environment awareness movement would embrace part-human/part-machine cyborgs. But in 2019, James Lovelock (1919–2022) — one of the originators of the Gaia Hypothesis (that the whole planet can be thought of as a single organism) — wrote that cyborgs would inherit the Earth in the “coming age of hyperintelligence.” Nautilus draws attention to his thoughts on the topic, in recognition of his death on July 26 at 103. In an essay adapted from Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence (2019), Lovelock writes, Our reign as sole understanders of the cosmos is rapidly coming to an end. We should not be afraid of this. The revolution that has just begun may be Read More ›

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If AI Is Like Fire, Let’s Not Get Left With Its Ashes

In a new book, Georgetown University researchers examine what can go right and wrong with adapting our culture to artificial intelligence

Ben Buchanan and Andrew Imbrie, Georgetown University researchers on loan to the U.S. government, think that the invention of artificial intelligence is like the invention of fire. It can bring great benefits — but comes with unavoidable great risks that are equally a consequence of its power to help us. They are honest about AI’s failures, left unattended. As authors of The New Fire: War, Peace, and Democracy in the Age of AI (MIT Press, 2022), they offer some examples from everyday life that certainly give pause for thought: Despite its extraordinary power, AI is far from perfect. Bias insidiously sneaks into AI systems, especially when they learn from data sets of human decisions. The real-world consequences can be severe. Read More ›

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How China’s Pre-Crime Algorithms Work — and Their Fatal Flaw

The algorithms target, for example, those who complain about or draw attention to social injustices and abuses

In a previous article, we looked at the way George Orwell ’s dystopian 1984 is looking less and less like fiction as the Chinese Communist Party exploits the capabilities of AI and Big Data to surveil its entire population. But beyond surveilling citizens’ movements in real time, the CCP also hopes to predict crimes and protests before they happen. In a follow-up story in the New York Times, Paul Mozur, Muyi Xiao, and John Lui look at how the CCP is also bringing the dystopian world of Philip K. Dick ’s Minority Report (2002) to real life, with one difference: Rather than human “precogs” who can predict the future, the CCP relies on algorithms that can interrogate large swaths of Read More ›

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Artificial neural networks can show that the mind isn’t the brain

Because artificial neural networks are a better version of the brain, whatever neural networks cannot do, the brain cannot do.

What is the human mind? AI pioneer Marvin Minsky (1927–2016) said in 1987 that essentially “Minds are what brains do.” That is, the mind is the result of electrical waves cycling through the brain, as neurons spike and synapses transmit signals. But is that true? Can we test this idea? We can indeed, using artificial neural networks. One of the most popular approaches to artificial intelligence is artificial neural networks. These networks, inspired by an early model of how neurons fire (the McCulloch–Pitts model), consist of nodes, where each node is similar to a neuron. A node receives signals and then sends them to its linked nodes based on an activation function. There are, of course, differences between neural networks Read More ›

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New OpenAI Art Program Does NOT Claim Copyright for AI

As DALL-E 2, which generates blended images in response to key words, moves into the art world, a key question has just been settled

A case currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals must decide if artificial intelligences should have patent rights on processes they were used to design. Throwing a wrench into the works, OpenAI has announced that artists using its new DALL-E beta software can sell the work: “Starting today, users get full usage rights to commercialize the images they create with DALL·E, including the right to reprint, sell, and merchandise. This includes images they generated during the research preview.” (July 20, 2022) First, here’s what DALL-E can do: Some worry about its impact on jobs in the arts: OpenAI’s press release for DALL-E 2 markets the advanced tech as a “powerful creative tool” that will speed up and inspire the creative Read More ›

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Should AI Be Granted Patents on the Designs It Helps Develop?

That’s a current argument before the US Court of Appeals

Artificial intelligence (AI) should no more be given a patent on an invention than my word processor should be granted a copyright on the article I’m writing. Yet the US Appeals Court has recently been told: [AI] should be considered the inventor on patent applications covering a beverage container based on fractal geometry and a light beacon that flashes in a new way. Blake Britten, “Artificial intelligence can be a patent ‘inventor,’ U.S. appeals court told” at Reuters (June 6, 2022) Like bulldozers, electricity, and nuclear power, AI is a tool. Make no mistake, AI is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool. But like my word processor. it ultimately does only what it is instructed to do. Here is a Read More ›

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Big Brother Is Watching You (And Trying to Read Your Mind)

Chinese researchers now claim to have developed technology that can read our minds

One of the most popular story lines in the widely acclaimed television show The Good Wife (2009–2016) is when National Security Agency (NSA) techies entertain themselves by eavesdropping on the heroine’s personal life. It clearly resonated with viewers and reinforced the fears of many that the NSA might be listening to their conversations. Indeed, they might be. In 2013 James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, was asked by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden about whether NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.” Clapper answered, under oath, “No sir, not wittingly.” Clapper had been informed the day before that he would be asked this question and he was offered an opportunity the day Read More ›

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AI: The Shadow of Frankenstein Lurks in the Uncanny Valley

The fifth and final excerpt from Non-Computable You (2022), from Chapter 6, focuses on the scarier AI hype

Wrapping AI in an impressive physical package can magnify the perceived impact of new technology. Doing so uses seductive optics. The confusing of AI packaging with AI content was evident in media excitement about a Buddhist robot who delivers messages to the faithful. “The world’s first sutra-chanting android deity, modeled after Kannon the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, was introduced to the public last week,” the report reads. The robot can “move its eyes, hands, and torso, make human-like gestures during its speech, and brings its hands together in prayer. A camera implanted in the left eye to focus on a subject gives the impression of eye contact.”1 Technologically speaking, nothing special is happening here. The messages from the Buddhist robot Read More ›

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AI Would Run the World Better Than Humans, Google Research Claims

Don’t believe the headlines: Google’s inhouse game does not show that AI is ready to rule the world

Sixty years ago, conservative provocateur William F. Buckley wrote, “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the telephone directory, than by the Harvard University faculty.” Buckley was a Yale man, but his barb was not intended to compare Harvard to Yale. He later explained: Not, heaven knows, because I hold lightly the brainpower or knowledge or generosity or even the affability of the Harvard faculty: but because I greatly fear intellectual arrogance, and that is a distinguishing characteristic of the university which refuses to accept any common premise. Now may be the time to update Buckley’s incendiary remarks: I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the telephone directory, than by a black Read More ›

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Artificial Intelligence, Worshipped as God, Is No Ordinary Deity!

Not only will we be reborn into new, immortal silicon bodies but rules regarding theft don’t seem to apply anymore…

This article was published in The Stream (July 6, 2022) under the title “The Church of Artificial Intelligence of the Future” and is republished with permission. There is a church that worships artificial intelligence (AI). Zealots believe that an extraordinary AI future is inevitable. The technology is not here yet, but we are assured that it’s coming. We will have the ability to be uploaded onto a computer and thereby achieve immortality. You will be reborn into a new, immortal silicon body. Of course, through salvation in Jesus Christ, Christianity has offered a path to immortality for over two thousand years. Someday, we are told, software will write better and better AI software to ultimately achieve a superintelligence. The superintelligence Read More ›

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Marks: Computers Only Compute and Thinking Needs More Than That

Robert J. Marks talks about his new book, Non-Computable You, with Oregon-based talk show host Bill Meyer

Recently, Bill Meyer interviewed Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks on his Oregon-based talk show about “Why computers will never understand what they are doing,” in connection with his new book, Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022). We are rebroadcasting it with permission here as (Episode 194). Meyer began by saying, “I started reading a book over the weekend that I am going to continue to eagerly devour because it cut against some of my preconceived notions”: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/07/Mind-Matters-194-Bob-Marks-Bill-Meyer.mp3 A partial transcript, notes,  and Additional Resources follow. Meyer and Marks began by discussion the recent flap at Google where software engineer Blake Lemoine claimed that the AI he was working with was Read More ›

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Study: AI Will Make Human Factors More, Not Less, Critical in War

Counterintuitive? Not when we factor in the “fog of war” that makes military situations more confusing than, say, conventional business ones

We sometimes hear that artificial intelligence in the military means that AI takes the risks and does the fighting while humans direct from a safe distance. It sounds reassuring but it’s not likely, say Georgia Institute of Technology cybersecurity professor Jon Lindsay and University of Toronto AI professor Avi Goldfarb: Many policy makers assume human soldiers could be replaced with automated systems, ideally making militaries less dependent on human labor and more effective on the battlefield. This is called the substitution theory of AI, but Lindsay and Goldfarb state that AI should not be seen as a substitute, but rather a complement to existing human strategy. “Machines are good at prediction, but they depend on data and judgment, and the Read More ›

Concept of robots replacing humans in offices

Marks: Forget the Hype, “Thinking Machines” Can’t Replace Humans

It’s easy to picture, especially if we don’t know much about computers. And fears are easily exploited. But what are the facts?

Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks gave a talk in January at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith on whether a robot will really take your job: “AI Apocalypse: Will Thinking Machines Replace Humans?” Just released on video: As a computer engineer, Marks looks at the pop culture worry a bit differently from some. His skeptical response has also been captured in a just-published book, Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022). The book makes clear that computers compute. They don’t really do anything that cannot be expressed as a computation. That’s both a strength and a weakness. The ability of an algorithm to sort through billions of online documents in Read More ›

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Can AI Really Predict Crime a Week in Advance? That’s the Claim.

University of Chicago data scientists claim 90% accuracy for their algorithm using past data — but it’s hard to evaluate

The University of Chicago recently announced to great fanfare that, Data and social scientists from the University of Chicago have developed a new algorithm that forecasts crime by learning patterns in time and geographic locations from public data on violent and property crimes. The model can predict future crimes one week in advance with about 90% accuracy. University of Chicago Medical Center, “Algorithm Predicts Crime a Week in Advance, but Reveals Bias in Police Response” at Newswise (June 28, 2022) Many thought immediately of the 2002 movie Minority Report, in which three psychics (“precogs”) visualize murders before they occur, thereby allowing special PreCrime police to arrest would-be assailants before they can commit them. Have these University of Chicago researchers made Read More ›

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The emergence of a problem and the search for solutions. Many options for solving a complex problem

Machines with Minds? The Lovelace Test vs. the Turing Test

The answers computer programs give sometimes surprise me too — but they always result from their programming

Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) by Robert J. Marks is available here. What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 2. Selmer Bringsjord, and his colleagues have proposed the Lovelace test as a substitute for the flawed Turing test. The test is named after Ada Lovelace. Bringsjord defined software creativity as passing the Lovelace test if the program does something that cannot be explained by the programmer or an expert in computer code.2 Computer programs can generate unexpected and surprising results.3 Results from computer programs are often unanticipated. But the question is, does the computer create a result that the programmer, looking back, cannot explain? When it comes to assessing creativity (and Read More ›

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How Well Do Researchers Say Chatbots and Other AI Really Perform?

The 400 researchers found that getting moderately high performance requires models with around 100 billion parameters, an exponentially hard problem

A vast team of over 400 researchers recently released a new open-access study on the performance of recent, popular text-based AI architectures such as GPT, the Pathways Language Model, the (recently controversial) LaMBDA architecture, and sparse expert models. The study, titled the “Beyond the Imitation Game,” or BIG, tries to provide a general benchmark for the state of text-based AI, how it compares to humans on the same tasks, and the effect of model size on the ability to perform the task. First, many of the results were interesting though not surprising: ● In all categories, the best humans outdid the best AIs (though that edge was smallest on translation problems from the International Language Olympiad).● Bigger models generally showed Read More ›