Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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Claim: Yes, you can upload your brain

Fine print: They might have to kill you first
In a recent piece, we looked at cognitive scientist Susan Schneider’s explanation as to why we couldn’t cheat death by uploading our minds to the internet. But some have made a career of marketing the idea Read More ›
Phrenology Head Busts

Big Question: Can Big Data read the minds of others?

And should Facebook scan your posts for suicidal thoughts? (It does.)

 Neurologist Robert Burton reflects at Aeon on the fact that mind reading does not really work. Most fashionable theories of mind, like the mirror neuron theory, have not really been much use: This is not to say that we have no idea of what goes on in another’s mind. The brain is a superb pattern-recogniser; we routinely correctly anticipate that others will feel grief at a funeral, joy at a child’s first birthday party, and anger when cut off on the freeway. We are right often enough to trust our belief that others generally will feel as we do. More. True, but the problem isn’t with recognizing what most people probably think; it’s with recognizing unusual but important patterns. How Read More ›

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Robot priests: And you thought “robotic religion” was just a pointed criticism… ?

You know, rote prayers, mindless gestures… Is that the way of the future for some?

Reuters announced last year that in Japan, a robot can be hired to perform Buddhist funeral rites: A Japanese company has introduced a new role for SoftBank’s humanoid robot “Pepper” – a Buddhist priest for hire at funerals. … With Japan’s population ageing and shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, prompting some to find part-time work outside their temple duties, said Michio Inamura, Nissei’s executive adviser. The funeral robot could step in when a priest was not available, he said. It also cost less at 50,000 yen (about $450) per funeral compared to more than 240,000 yen ($2,200) for a human priest. More.   As of August 2017, the robot priest had not yet been Read More ›

Bill-Dembski

How Humans Can Thrive in a World of Increasing Automation

Remarks on the purpose and goals of the Walter Bradley Center at its launch

At the official launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, July 11, 2018, design theorist design theorist William Dembski offered three key thoughts on the center’s purpose and goals—and how its work may be evaluated. Dr. Dembski was unable to attend*, so his remarks were read by the Center’s director Robert J. Marks: Good evening. Thank you for attending this launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence. In my talk tonight, I’m going to address three points: (1) the importance of its work, (2) its likely impact, and (3) why it is appropriately named after Walter Bradley. First, however, I want to thank friends and colleagues of Seattle’s Discovery Institute for their Read More ›

Dr. Michael Egnor, M.D.

Neurosurgeon outlines why machines can’t think

The hallmark of human thought is meaning, and the hallmark of computation is indifference to meaning.
A cornerstone of the development of artificial intelligence is the pervasive assumption that machines can, or will, think. Watson, a question-answering computer, beats the best Jeopardy players, and anyone who plays chess has had the humiliation of being beaten by a chess engine. Does this mean that computers can think as well as (or better than) humans think? Read More ›
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AI machines taking over the world?

It’s a cool apocalypse but does that make it more likely?

Doomsday thinking is easily mocked. The character marching  hairy and barefoot under his “End Is Near” sign, is a staple of cartoons in middlebrow mags. Yet when media magnets market doomsday scenarios—like the late Stephen Hawking (“worst event in the history of our civilization”) and Elon Musk (“an immortal dictator from which we would never escape”) — it’s a Cool apocalypse.

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AI can mean ultimate Big Surveillance

That’s what we should really worry about

The celebrity worry about superintelligent AI taking over and getting rid of us humans distracts our attention from a real-world fact: Artificial intelligence (AI) maximizes the opportunities while crashing the costs of corporate and government surveillance. Both have grown massively in recent years, with predictable results. The surveillants don’t by any means want to get rid of us. They want to take over and run our lives, ostensibly for our own good but certainly for theirs.

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Artificial intelligence and mind backdrop

Why “Mind Matters” Matter

Mind Matters is a podcast and a news and commentary site where “artificial and natural intelligence meet head-on.” That’s a great slogan, but what does it mean? As your host for the podcast part of the site, I thought I’d take advantage of my role to talk you about some of our exciting plans for both the podcast and the online journal (the latter to be edited by science journalist Denyse O’Leary). Here’s a quick run-down: Topics Mind Matters will track the latest developments in applied AI and technology. How will AI continue to augment human performance and abilities? What are the latest innovations of AI? And how does AI affect you? How is AI applied in pricing your admission Read More ›

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The Threat, Promise, and Limits of AI

New Center to Explore the Possibilities

What is a human being? Are we unique creatures, bearing evidence of purpose in our making? Or are we meat-clad robots, a race of glitchy natural machines sprung up by chance through unguided evolution? Read More ›