Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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Could AI Understand the Universe?

World-renowned chemist thinks it might understand what we can’t, including consciousness
Atkins is arguing that the fact that we do not understand what consciousness is, far from being a barrier to creating artificial consciousness, offers the hope that, once we do create them, artificially conscious entities will understand consciousness but we won’t. The proposition sounds a bit confused, no? Read More ›
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Could HAL 9000 Ever Be Built?

I say yes. Some reflections on the 50th Year Anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey
At one point on the trip from Earth to Jupiter, HAL becomes suspicious that the crew might be sabotaging the mission. HAL then purposely tries to kill all the crew. The most logical explanation for this act is a coding error. HAL was programmed to operate on the basis that the mission took priority over human life. Read More ›
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Robogeddon!! Pause.

Wait. This just in: AI is NOT killing all our jobs
Jay Richards, author of The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines,sees it as more of a retooling than a meltdown. But retooling does mean change, work, cost, and risk. Read More ›
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Can a Game Prove That Computers Could Really Think?

Philosopher Daniel Dennett thinks so. Let's apply Occam's Razor and see
While I agree with Dennett that Occam’s Razor shouldn’t be used overzealously, we shouldn’t be too reluctant to use it either. The reason why Dennett rejects Occam’s Razor in the Game of Life is that if he didn’t, then nothing in the Game of Life would be capable of possessing cognitive states. Read More ›
Close-up Shot of Hacker using Keyboard. There is Coffee Cups and Computer Monitors with Various Information.

Sometimes the ‘Bots Turn Out To Be Humans

That “lifelike” effect was easier to come by than some might think
Companies sometimes pretend to be using AI or machine learning when they are actually using human employees for various reasons. One reason is that they have promised potential investors more high tech than they can deliver. Sometimes, as we learned recently at The Guardian, it gets a bit sticky... Read More ›
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Screenwriters’ Jobs Are Not Threatened by AI

Unless the public starts preferring mishmash to creativity

An AI-generated film is not an altogether new idea. Rule-based expert systems were used to write short plays over a half century ago, in the early 1960's. Then, as now, don’t expect creativity. That is not what AI does.

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Roboter Arme

Could One Single Machine Invent Everything?

The king’s perpetual innovation machine was all ready to roll but then a skeptic butted in
Computers can never originate, they only regurgitate. Humans, on the other hand, can come up with original ideas, i.e. they write the programs in the first place. So, my proof shows that the human mind cannot be a computer program. Read More ›
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George Gilder: Life after Google Will Be Okay

People will take ownership of their own data, cutting out the giant “middle man”

In his new book, he calls the successor era he envisions the “cryptocosm,” referring to the private encryption of data, represented by technologies such as blockchain.

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Why machines can’t think as we do

As philosopher Michael Polanyi noted, much that we know is hard to codify or automate
Human life is full of these challenges. Some knowledge simply cannot be conveyed—or understood or accepted—in a propositional form. For example, a nurse counselor may see clearly that her elderly post-operative patient would thrive better in a retirement home. But she cannot just tell him so. Read More ›
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Why Can’t Machines Learn Simple Tasks?

They can learn to play chess more easily than to walk
If specifically human intelligence is related to consciousness, the robotics engineers might best leave consciousness out of their goals for their products and focus on more tangible ones. Read More ›
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The New Politically Correct Chatbot Was Worse?

If you are a human being who talks to people for a living, don’t quit your job
Within 16 hours, the Microsoft team had to shut down their chatbot Tay. With assistance from so many online sources, Tay’s ability to be nasty exceeded that of any individual human. And as for her replacement, Zo, who would never repeat those mistakes… Read More ›
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AI That Can Read Minds?

Deconstructing AI hype

The source for the claims seems to be a 2018 journal paper, "Real-time classification of auditory sentences using evoked cortical activity in humans." The carefully described results are indeed significant but what the Daily Mail article didn't tell you sheds a rather different light on the AI mind reader.

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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 ›
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AI Has a (Wonderful) Plan for Your Life

Tech-savvy religion scholars play with reshaping society

The team is pessimistic about getting politicians on side and hopes to persuade policy analysts to convince the politicians to adopt the policies their model suggests instead. Wildman predicts, “We’re going to get them in the end.”

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Virtual Railroads and West Virginia Back Roads

AI’s Temptation to Theft Over Honest Toil

Just as a train on a rail requires minimal, or indeed no, human intervention, so cars driving on virtual railroads might readily dispense with the human element.

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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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