Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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Young mechanic repairing the robot in his workshop

AI Should Be Less Perfect, More Human

Authors Angus Fletcher and Erik J. Larson point us toward a more sustainable future working alongside artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is fragile. When faced with the ambiguity of the world, it breaks. And when it breaks, our untenable solution is to erase ambiguity. This means erasing our humanness, which in turn breaks us. That’s the problem Angus Fletcher and Erik J. Larson address in their piece published this week in Wired. AI can malfunction at the mildest hint of data slip, so its architects are doing all they can to dampen ambiguity and volatility. And since the world’s primary source of ambiguity and volatility is humans, we have found ourselves aggressively stifled. We’ve been forced into metric assessments at school, standard flow patterns at work, and regularized sets at hospitals, gyms, and social-media hangouts. In the process, we’ve lost…

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Surreal 3d illustration of multiple faces in a wall. Concept of post-human and transhumanism ideas.

Is Transhumanism Really a Form of Liberation?

The central transhumanist doctrine is that the body can be dispensed with. What are the consequences?

Libby Emmons, editor-in-chief at The Post Millennial, Canada’s non-Woke “young” media outlet, offered some unexpected thoughts on transhumanism, the idea that we must take charge of the evolution of our species — sometimes expressed in the idea that we can upload ourselves as digital entities and live forever. Emmons is not sure that transhumanism is really a form of liberation. She acknowledges the value of, for example, prostheses controlled by thoughts alone. But she asks us to consider what full-blown transhumanism entails: With the widespread acceptance of human augmentation, bio-tech, AI, and transgenderism, we are removing agency from the human body, and granting it entirely to the mind. But our humanity lies not in our consciousness, but in the biological…

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Hands shaping brain model

Chalmers and Penrose Clash Over “Conscious Computers”

Philosopher Chalmers thinks computers could be conscious but physicist Penrose says no

Two authors I’ve been reading recently are Roger Penrose and David Chalmers. Penrose is a physics Nobel laureate who has stoked controversy by claiming in The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and The Laws of Physics (1989) that the mind can do things beyond the ability of computers. Chalmers is a philosopher of science who claims in The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (1997) that consciousness cannot be reduced to physical processes. Both thinkers are well respected in their fields, even though they articulate positions that imply that the mind’s operation is beyond current science. At the same time, they believe that there is a way to see the mind as part of nature (that is,…

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Cyborg head with red eyes, surronded by wires and lights in a futuristic and ciberpunk enviroment

When the Terminator Ran Into Skynet at the Unemployment Office…

In an ID the Future podcast, computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks explores with Casey Luskin the limits of algorithms

In a podcast at ID The Future, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talked with host Casey Luskin about claims, games, and realities around artificial intelligence: In the course of the fast-paced interview, Marks touches on dystopian AI and the limits of computer algorithms (they can never do anything that is inherently non-computable, Marks argues), and discuss celebrity thinkers and entrepreneurs who’ve weighed in on the promises and perils of AI, such as Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking. Marks calls on Nobel Laureate Roger Penrose to second one of Marks’s central arguments. The occasion for the conversation is Marks’s chapter in the recent Harvest House anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith. (2021) Marks…

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Powerful Personal Computer Gamer Rig with First-Person Shooter Game on Screen. Monitor Stands on the Table at Home. Cozy Room with Modern Design is Lit with Pink Neon Light.

Do AI Entities in Virtual Worlds Have Rights?

A professor of game designing argues that they do; Wesley J. Smith disagrees

Pointing to an article at The Conversation, “How to be a god: we might one day create virtual worlds with characters as intelligent as ourselves,” Wesley J. Smith offers, We have enough problems with attaining universal human rights, but activists want animals and “nature” to have human-type rights. Transhumanists and futurists also worry about guaranteeing rights for AI technologies when they attain “consciousness.” The latest example comes in The Conversation from a professor of game designing — who knew that was an academic discipline? — named Richard A. Bartle, at the University of Essex. He believes that “we may one day create virtual worlds with creatures as intelligent as ourselves.” From, “How to Be a God“: “I believe we will…

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What Is AI Doing To Me? How AI Influences Our Concept of Reality

Reality is far more than what can be quantified by a computer

I have been thinking lately about how artificial intelligence (AI) is affecting me. That is a big topic with many avenues to be explored. I would like to explore just two of them here. The first is how AI influences my concept of reality. The second is how AI is influencing my actions. Both of these dynamics are profound and already evident in our world. In this first of two parts, we will explore how AI influences our concept of reality. AI-driven systems receive data from a variety of sources. Their universe is defined by what their sensors can quantify and deliver to them. As we interact with these AI systems, we are subtly influenced to adopt their view of…

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Robot concept or robot hand chatbot pressing computer keyboard enter

Will AI Take Over Content Moderation?

While content moderators report psychological trauma, experts weigh in on whether artificial intelligence could remove humans from the equation

How do Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and other platforms keep up with the millions upon millions of posts, comments, videos, and photos posted to their sites on a daily basis? It takes a partnership between artificial intelligence and human content moderators.  In recent years, however, content moderators have begun to reveal that their work is often traumatizing. Moderators for Facebook and TikTok have gone so far as to sue for the psychological harm they have experienced at their workplaces, regularly reviewing images and videos that you and I never have to see depicting rape, murder, child trafficking, and other violent and graphic content. Subjecting workers to violent and graphic imagery is an unsustainable way of keeping the internet free of such…

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Eugenics, Transhumanism, and Artificial Intelligence

If we were to succeed at creating an ethical decision-making AI, whose ethics would it abide by?

In his article for the Digital Journal, Saratendu Sethi argues that to build a sustainable global supply chain requires the humanization of AI. This technological revolution, he says, includes “truly autonomous and self-correcting supply chains” that will replace the flawed capital-driven decision making of humans. Sethi defines this utilitarian mission of serving the “greater good” through what he calls a “sustainable, ethical and responsible world that puts equity for all at the center.” His motive of helping everyone while protecting the environment is commendable, yet the larger question remains, whose ethic will drive the logic used by this AI? When resources are limited, how will this AI decide who gets food and who gets medicine? Based on my own study, Sethi’s…

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Diversity And Inclusion. Business Employment Leadership

Universal Design and Artificial Intelligence

Do AI systems serve us all?

An elderly couple I know recently sold their home and became renters. They thought they had sold their house for a good price, but I am not so sure. I am pretty sure they were swindled by a smooth sales pitch from one of those home-buying companies that are buying up so many homes. They had been homeowners, paying off their mortgage and getting the benefit of the rising value of their home. Now, they are renters, helping to pay their landlord’s mortgage and increasing his net worth. All this got me thinking about universal design and artificial intelligence (AI). Universal design is the discipline of designing products and services for as large a part of the population as possible.…

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Red Pill Blue Pill concept. The right choice the concept of the movie matrix. The choice of tablets

Matrix Resurrections: What Does Existence Outside of Time Mean?

Call me a sentimental child, but I liked watching Neo and Trinity fly off into the sunset. I liked watching them fly in the same way those random birds kept flying in a circle. Did it make sense?

For all the latest Matrix movie’s faults The Matrix: Resurrections it tried to play with an interesting concept, the difference between linear speed and time. In the previous two reviews, we discussed Trinity becoming the One, the merit behind the writer’s decision, and one of the fatal flaws within the Matrix series as whole, which is technology being used as an ambiguous magic system rather than a system with clearly defined rules. This time we’ll discuss the movie’s villain, the The Analyst. I vacillated about this character, unable to make up my mind about whether or not the Analyst was a worthy addition to the series. To be honest, I’m still not sure, but I’m leaning toward yes because of…

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Social Media Content Moderator Sues TikTok for PTSD

Social media moderators protect users from graphic content, but who protects the moderators?

A social media content moderator is suing TikTok, a popular video app, for psychological trauma developed from 12-hour shifts moderating endless graphic videos. Candie Frazier works for Telus International, a Canadian contracting firm providing moderation services to social media apps like TikTok. Frazier filed a complaint with the California Central District Court in December, alleging that TikTok and parent company ByteDance do not provide enough support for the psychological wellbeing of their contracted moderators, whose job it is to remove violent, graphic, and otherwise inappropriate content from the platform. TikTok’s popularity exploded in the aftermath of pandemic lockdowns, especially among millennials and Generation Z. As of September, TikTok reported 1 billion users every month. In her complaint, Frazier explains that…

Customer service and support live chat with chatbot and automati

Chatbots: Still Dumb After All These Years

Intelligence is more than statistically appropriate responses

In 1970, Marvin Minsky, recipient of the Turing Award (“the Nobel Prize of Computing”), predicted that within “three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.”  Fifty-two years later, we’re still waiting. The fundamental roadblock is that, although computer algorithms are really, really good at identifying statistical patterns, they have no way of knowing what these patterns mean because they are confined to MathWorld and never experience the real world. As Richard Feynman famously explained, there is a fundamental difference between labeling things and understanding them: [My father] taught me “See that bird? It’s a brown-throated thrush, but in Germany it’s called a halsenflugel, and in Chinese they call it a chung ling and even…

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Modern cyber woman with matrix eye

The Matrix Resurrections: Technology as a Soft Magic System

Stakes and believability are connected, especially when it comes to science fiction. Last time, we discussed the most controversial element of the The Matrix: Resurrections , as well as the meta narrative Lana Wachowski set out to establish at the beginning of the film. Now, the Matrix Resurrections is much better than The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003) because it, at least, brings the original trilogy full circle. That being said, there are loads of problems, and many of them are issues I’ve already discussed in reviews of the earlier films First, we have the pacing issue. Wachowski says too much too fast. This time, we’re not getting conflicting narratives that are confusing the plot but rather…

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Beautiful woman undecided which man to choose

New: AI Learns to Simulate Common Sense

It is a simulation because the AI can perform the task but does not “understand” what the concepts mean

Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, was concerned AI had no common sense. In early 2018, Allen said “AI still lacks what most 10-year-olds possess: ordinary common sense.” He continued, “If we want AI to approach human abilities and have the broadest possible impact in research, medicine and business, we need to fundamentally advance AI’s common sense abilities.” Billionaire Allen coughed up $125 million and founded the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Seattle. I believed that AI would never simulate common sense but always left the door open. Unlike understanding, creativity and sentience, common sense could possibly be computable. There was no indication that common sense was non-algorithmic. And now AI has simulated common sense. The classic test for…

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3d rendering of Human cell or Embryonic stem cell microscope background.

Are the Brain Cells in a Dish That Learned Pong Conscious?

Human-derived organoids learned faster than AI and always outperformed mouse-derived organoids in terms of volley length, raising troubling questions

Recently, science media were abuzz with a remarkable story about minibrains (mouse and human brain cells in a dish) learning to play the video game Pong: Scientists have successfully taught a collection of human brain cells in a petri dish how to play the video game “Pong” — kind of. Researchers at the biotechnology startup Cortical Labs have created “mini-brains“ consisting of 800,000 to one million living human brain cells in a petri dish, New Scientist reports. The cells are placed on top of a microelectrode array that analyzes the neural activity. “We think it’s fair to call them cyborg brains,” Brett Kagan, chief scientific officer at Cortical Labs and research lead of the project, told New Scientist. Tony Tran,…

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Movie at cinema concept. 3D glasses with red and blue lenses with soft colored shadow on dark background.

The Matrix Resurrections: The Studio Is Making Us Do This!

Mark Zuckerberg, eat your heart out. If there is one word to describe this movie, that word is Meta.

Let’s address the most contentious issue first. This movie isn’t great, but it’s not The Last Jedi bad. Matrix fans aren’t going to be storming the gates in protest, because their beloved characters were assassinated for “the message.” It’s true that Neo is nerfed so that Trinity can take his place. This is annoying because, as I’ve said before, nobody wants to see a Dragon Ball Z spectacle featuring Neo’s powers just so the poor sap could die in obscurity because nothing he did mattered anyway. They didn’t do this, and that is to the writer’s credit. If there was anybody who deserved a deus ex machina sent by the Social Justice Warriors from on high, it was Trinity. Her…

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Red arrows to go left or to go right

What If Your Schooling Meant an AI Telling You What To Do?

Lee and Chen are techno-optimists. They recognize the benefits of innovative technologies while acknowledging its inherent limitations and societal costs

Author, CEO of Sinovation Ventures, and former head of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee, shared with COSM 2021 his predictions for the future of AI. His presentation drew from his book AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future, co-authored with prominent science fiction writer Chen Quifan. AI 2041 offers seven short stories that explore the ethical and societal implications of machine-learning technologies on various industries, such as manufacturing, art, and education. The last three chapters address potential societal and geopolitical issues raised by artificial intelligence. Each short story includes an “analysis” section, authored by Lee, which delves into the issues raised by the story and its characters. Lee and Chen are techno-optimists. They recognize the benefits of innovative technologies while acknowledging…

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Red Pill Blue Pill concept. The right choice the concept of the movie matrix. The choice of tablets

The Matrix Trilogy: Some Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the films and am looking forward to the Matrix Resurrections but there are some things I need to say as a reviewer

While waiting for The Matrix: Resurrections, December 22: I admit, I’ve given this trilogy a hard time. But I do actually enjoy the films… when I’m not thinking about them. There are some good elements, and I want to point those out before going further. First of all, the relationship between Neo and Trinity is solid. It develops with the trilogy and we don’t have to suffer through a bunch of “will they?/won’t they?” tropes. A viewer can get invested in their relationship, so it hurts when Trinity dies. I appreciate any film where this risk is taken, instead of breaking up the characters and then getting them back together just so the writers don’t have to show the relationship’s…

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AI(Artificial intelligence) concept.

Understanding the de Facto Cold War With China

High tech is currently a battlefield between freedom and totalitarianism

In “Hyping Artificial Intelligence Hinders Innovation” (podcast episode 163), Andrew McDiarmid interviewed Erik J. Larson, programmer and author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence (Harvard University Press, 2021) on the wrong path he thinks some analysts are taking in terms of what machines can and can’t do. Plus they discussed Alan Turing’s change of heart. Then they looked at the critical fact that Big Data can easily be the enemy of new ideas. And now, the future …? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/34ce0d74-aa74-4ad9-9599-e9ddf2be56a7-Mind-Matters-News-Episode-163-Erik-Larson-.mp3 This portion begins at roughly 38:23 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. They began with: How do we determine that we are not simply manipulated by social media? Larson recommended a book by computer scientist…

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Analytics data big business intelligence background bi

Why Big Data Can Be the Enemy of New Ideas

Copernicus could tell us how that works: Masses of documentation entrench the old ideas

In “Hyping Artificial Intelligence Hinders Innovation” (podcast episode 163), Andrew McDiarmid interviewed Erik J. Larson, programmer and author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence (Harvard University Press, 2021) on the wrong path in terms of what machines can and can’t do. Now they look at the critical fact that Big Data can easily be the enemy of new ideas. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/34ce0d74-aa74-4ad9-9599-e9ddf2be56a7-Mind-Matters-News-Episode-163-Erik-Larson-.mp3 This portion begins at roughly 30:00 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Andrew McDiarmid: Are there lessons about the ethics of innovation from the past that would be useful to us today? Can you think of anything they learned about innovation in the past that we could really learn from as we’re innovating today?…