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Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

Businessman with psychopathic behaviors

All AI’s Are Psychopaths

We can use them but we can’t trust them with moral decisions. They don’t care why

Building an AI entails moving parts of our intelligence into a machine. We can do that with rules, (simplified) virtual worlds, statistical learning… We’ll likely create other means as well. But, as long as “no one is home”—that is, the machines lack minds—gaps will remain and those gaps, without human oversight, can put us at risk.

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Aerial view of city intersection with many cars and GPS navigation system symbols. Autonomous driverless vehicles in city traffic. Future transportation concept

The Real Threat AI Poses Is the “I” That Controls It

As AI becomes a part of everyday life, the science fiction glow fades; the constant high-tech surveillance intensifies

Pundits like Nick Bostrom and Ray Kurzweil worry that smart AI will rule us. But, as the Carnegie Index shows, conventional dictators using conventional AI for mass surveillance are a growing real-world problem while smart AI remains science fiction.

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Streetcar in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The “Moral Machine” Is Bad News for AI Ethics

Despite the recent claims of its defenders, there is no way we can outsource moral decision-making to an automated intelligence

Here’s the dilemma: The Moral Machine (the Trolley Problem, updated) feels necessary because the rules by which we order our lives are useless with automated vehicles. Laws embody principles that we apply. Machines have no mind by which to apply the rules. Instead researchers must train them with millions of examples and hope the machine extracts the correct message… 

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Digital Brain

Are We Doomed Unless We Get Ourselves Digitized?

A tech writer suggests humans can escape Earth’s end by digitizing ourselves elsewhere in the galaxy

Today’s apocalyptic vision seems now to have moved on from the arrival of the extraterrestrials to uploading ourselves to a supercomputer. Whether it’s possible is really secondary. The main question is whether it answers a cultural need for a vision that mirrors the inner turmoil of the day.

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technical financial graph on technology abstract background

Is Moore’s Law Over?

Rapid increase in computing power may become a thing of the past

If Moore’s Law fails, AI may settle in as a part of our lives like the automobile but it will not really be the Ruler of All except for those who choose that lifestyle. Even so, a belief that we will, for example, merge with computers by 2045 (the Singularity) is perhaps immune to the march of mere events. Entire arts and entertainment industries depend on the expression of such beliefs.

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Joyful happy boy hugging a robot

Can Robots Be Programmed To Care About Us?

Some researchers think it is only a matter of the right tweaks

The quest is a curious blend of forlorn hope fueled by half-acknowledged hype and resolute denial of the most serious problems. Also by sometimes systematic confusion as to what, precisely, we are talking about.

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The Dreamy Abstract background from soap bubble in the air with nature defocused

Stanford’s AI Index Report: How Much Is BS?

Some measurements of AI’s economic impact sound like the metrics that fueled the dot-com bubble

Stanford University’s AI index offers us fanciful measures of the triumph of AI, rivaling the far-fetched metrics of dot-com commerce. The reality has been the opposite. For decades, U.S. productivity grew by about 3% a year. Then, after 1970, it slowed to 1.5% a year, then 1%, now about 0.5%. Perhaps we are spending too much time on our smartphones.

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issue-type-bug-blame

Machines Never Lie but Programmers… Sometimes

A creative claim is floating around out there that bad AI results can arise from machine “deception”

We might avoid worrying that our artificial intelligence machines are trying to deceive us if we called it “Automated Intelligence rather than “Artificial Intelligence.”

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Beautiful bored people bored isolated on pink background

Are Facial Expressions a Clear, Simple Basis for Hiring Decisions?

Marketing AI to employers to analyze facial expressions ignores the fact that correlation is NOT causation

Have you heard of the Law of the Instrument? It just means, to quote one formulation, “He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.” All any given problem needs is a good pounding. This is a risk with AI, as with amateur carpentry. But with AI, it can get you into more serious trouble. Take hiring, for instance.

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Asian Doctor with the stethoscope equipment hand holding the Artificial intelligence of brain technology over Abstract photo blurred of hospital background, AI and physician concept

How AI Can Make Medicine Better—or Not

Experts offer some real-world cautions about powerful new AI tools

Medicine involves many risks, benefits, and tradeoffs. Early diagnosis, for example, can certainly be defended and promoted on a right-to-know basis. But that is not the same thing as saying that it reliably improves outcomes or even enjoyment of life. If a powerful AI method reliably detected the very early onset of Alzheimer, it might ruin a senior's early retirement years without changing the outcome much. Getting the most from AI will include determining the relationship between what it can potentially do and what will provide a medical benefit.

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Man in black hat in the rain at dark overcast street

How Can AI Help with Real-Life Cold Case Files?

AI doesn’t create new ideas in police work; rather, it does the work that police, who must move on to urgent, fresh cases, don’t have time to do

When no new leads emerge in a murder or missing persons investigation, police must shift their resources to cases that offer new information. Currently, the FBI Uniform Crime Report keeps an estimated 250,000 cold cases on file. Recent developments in AI, however, have shed light on some of these old and cold cases.

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Stop Sign with damage yuliyakosolapova-DmtblAatFtk unsplash

McAfee: Assisted Driving System Is Easily Fooled

Defacing a road sign caused the system to dramatically accelerate the vehicle

Over time, machine vision will become harder to fool than the one that was recently tricked into rapid acceleration by a defaced sign. But it will still be true that a fooled human makes a better decision than a fooled machine because the fooled human has common sense, awareness, and a mind that reasons.

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Soldiers are Using Laptop Computer for Surveillance During Military Operation in the Desert.

Killer Robots Is Now Available in Audible Format

Artificial intelligence expert Robert J. Marks contends that America must remain competitive in lethal AI military technology

In the book, Baylor professor Marks asks “What if ambitious nations such as China and Iran develop lethal AI military technology but the United States does not?” He argues that “Advanced technology not only wins wars but gives pause to otherwise aggressive adversaries.”

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robot sit down and thinking

A Philosopher Explains Why Thinking Matter Is Impossible

He’s right but Captain Kirk tumbled to it before him. So did a medieval poet

According to analytical philosopher Richard Johns, we cannot represent ourselves completely mathematically so we cannot generate fundamentally contradictory thoughts about ourselves. Some part of us lies beyond mathematics. An android would not be so lucky, as Captain Kirk realized in an early Star Trek episode.

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virtual-reality-AdobeStock_201971753

Is Transhumanism Uncomfortably Tempting?

An ethicist asks us to stop and reflect

Jacob Schatzer identifies three issues in the essay, “The Allure of Transhumanism,” that might prompt some queasy recognitions in all of us, at times.

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Photo by Eugene Triguba

AI has changed our relationship to our tools

If a self-driving car careens into a storefront, who’s to blame? A new Seattle U course explores ethics in AI

A free course at Seattle University addresses the “meaning of ethics in AI.” I’ve signed up for it. One concern that I hope will be addressed is: We must not abdicate to machines the very thing that only we can do: Treat other people fairly.

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Photo by Chris Yang

Technology Centralizes by Its Very Nature

Here are some other truths about technology, some uncomfortable ones

To see what I mean about centralization, consider a non-digital tool, say, a shovel. The shovel doesn’t keep track of your shoveling, read your biometrics, and store a file on you-as-shoveler somewhere. It’s a thing, an artifact. So you see, the new digital technology is itself the heart of the surveillance problem. No Matrix could be built with artifacts.

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Schrift

Unexplainability and Incomprehensibility of AI

In the domain of AI safety, the more accurate the explanation is, the less comprehensible it is

With AI decision-making, a non-trivial explanation can’t be both accurate and understandable but it can be inaccurate and comprehensible. There is a huge difference between understanding something and almost understanding it.

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Futuristic and technological scanning of the face of a beautiful woman for facial recognition and scanning to ensure personal safety.

Teaching Computers Common Sense Is Very Hard

Those fancy voice interfaces are little more than immense lookup tables guided by complex statistics

Researchers at the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) published a paper recently, deflating claims of rapid progress toward giving computers common sense.

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Two female women medical doctors looking at x-rays in a hospital.

AI Can Help Spot Cancers—But It’s No Magic Wand

When I spoke last month about how AI can help with cancer diagnoses, I failed to appreciate some of the complexities of medical diagnosis

As a lawyer with medical training reminded us recently, any one image is a snapshot in time, a brief part of the patient’s whole story. And it’s the whole story that matters, not a single image, perhaps taken out of context.

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