Get the FREE DIGITAL BOOK: The Case for Killer Robots
Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryArts & Culture

Photo by Amanda Jones

Bridge: Why Shuffle the Deck Seven Times?

For years, competitive bridge players complained that computer shuffling of cards produced goofy results. Statisticians sided with the computers

Bridge is one of the few games where computer algorithms have not yet demolished the best human players but, despite claims to the contrary, algorithms do a much better job of random shuffling of the deck.

Read More ›
Man typing on keyboard with heart symbol hologram

Her (2013): If You Created Her, Is It Real Love?

In this retrospective Mind Matters movie review, Adam Nieri ponders the questions raised by a thoughtful AI film

Unlike Catherine, Samantha is exactly what Theodore was looking for. No surprise there; Samantha is, literally, adjusted and updated according to Theodore’s preferences from when he initially began speaking to her. She exists only to be Theodore’s soulmate. Is that enough?

Read More ›
Robotic filmmaking. Talented robots shoots television movie or motion picture. Creative filmmakers robotic crew director, assistant with spotlight and cameraman behind the scene. Automated process of creating video content. Red wall studio background.

Can AI Help Hollywood Predict the Next Big Hit?

AI analysis sifts the past finely. But how well does the past predict the future?

AI does pose at least one threat to filmmaking. It could intensify the very tone-deafness that studios hope it can fix: Too much reliance on ever more finely grained analysis of the patterns in past data could blind decision makers to the real risks, volatility, and opportunities in the future. That’s a recipe for losing money and inflicting “Oh, not that again!” on audiences.

Read More ›
Photo by Jeremy Bishop

AI Goes to Hollywood

Warner Bros. hopes Cinelytic's AI will save time while making more reasonable financial estimates, thus forestalling expensive box office blunders

Cinelytic’s AI does is what every AI does at its most basic level. It collects and sifts large amounts of data to find patterns that can be used to make predictions. AI excels at pattern recognition because that is its only purpose. Humans aren’t so linear or predictable.

Read More ›
Lost-in-Space-Publicity-Still-IMDB

Lost in Space, A Mind Matters TV Series Review

I was skeptical at first, based on Netflix's track record, but was pleasantly surprised

If I could rewind time a week and add a piece of 2019 sci-fi to my list of the year’s Best and Worst Sci-Fi TV, I would add Netflix’s Lost in Space, Season 2—which came out just after I had published. Let's fix that now.

Read More ›
The-Expanse-Publicity-Still
The Expanse Still Image

Sci-Fi TV: 2019’s Best and Worst

2019 featured many sci-fi television and movies that were less sci-fi than political narrative

In 2019, I fell out with Netflix. I felt bombarded by more and more edgy content, as though Netflix wanted me to know how “adult” it is. Rather than producing a few amazing originals, Netflix started vomiting up a ton of terrible originals.

Read More ›
science-in-hd-1WBN-JKSmKI-unsplash

2019 AI Hype Countdown #6: AI Will Replace Scientists!

In May of this year, The Scientist ran a series of pieces suggesting that we could automate the process of acquiring scientific knowledge

In reality, without appropriate human supervision, AI is just as likely to find false or unimportant patterns as real ones. Additionally, the overuse of AI in science is actually leading to a reproducibility crisis.

Read More ›
Businessman Robot Hands Law Connection HUD Network

2019 AI Hype Countdown #7: “Robot rights” grabs the mike

If we could make intelligent and sentient AIs, wouldn’t that mean we would have to stop programming them?

AI programs are just that—programs. Nothing in such a program could make it conscious. We may as well think that if we make sci-fi life-like enough, we should start worrying about Darth Vader really taking over the galaxy.

Read More ›
filip-mishevski-c5QdMcuFlgY-unsplash

2019 AI Hype Countdown #8: Media Started Doing Their Job!

Yes, this year, there has been a reassuring trend: Media are offering more critical assessment of off-the-wall AI hype

One factor in the growing sobriety may be that, as AI technology transitions from dreams to reality, the future belongs to leaders who are pragmatic about its abilities and limitations.

Read More ›
Usb charging port in woman's neck, cyborg woman concept.

2019 AI Hype Countdown #10: Sophia the Robot Still Gives “Interviews”

In other news, few popular media ask critical questions

As a humanoid robot, Sophia certainly represents some impressive engineering. It is sad that the engineering fronts ridiculous claims about the state of AI, using partially scripted interactions as if they were real communication.

Read More ›
Near Space photography - 20km above ground / real photo

The Expanse: A Mind Matters TV Series Review

The attention to detail and the realistic portrayal of space set it apart from run-of-the-mill sci-fi

I love the deep mystery surrounding the show’s central narrative device, the proto-molecule. It is somewhat sentient and is desperately trying to figure out what happened to the civilization that created it and was then wiped out while it lay dormant in our solar system for millions of years.

Read More ›
the hypothetical planet nine in front of stars lit by the far away Sun

Nightflyers: A Mind Matters TV Series Review

Despite its flaws, Nightflyers does not deserve all the criticism it received.

It’s the saga of a ship of scientists making their way through the cosmos to unlock the secrets of a mysterious entity known as Volcryn. It turns out that Volcryn is not the only mystery; the Nightflyer holds many of its own secrets.

Read More ›
Archeological site of Phaistos in Crete

Can AI Help Us Decipher Lost Languages?

That depends mainly on the reasons we haven’t yet deciphered ancient texts

AI can speed up translation of ancient documents where only a few scholars know the language. Whether it can help with mysterious unknown languages like Minoan A is another question.

Read More ›
sport cyclisme velo tour de France

I Am Giving Up Cycling

It’s just not worth it if a machine can beat me

It’s not that I cannot cycle or that I don’t like to or that I’m not good at it (for a human). But just the other day, as I pedaled along, I was passed by a motorcycle. Its speed was incredible! I appeared to be pedaling in place as the machine zoomed into the distance. In that moment, it became all too clear that my days as a meaningful human were ending. The machine was my better. Okay. That is not true. I am not going to quit cycling. And, being passed by a motorcycle—a machine we built purposely to go faster than anything our two legs can achieve—is not a meaningful measure of my prowess as a cyclist. Many…

Business colleagues review automotive design concepts wearing a virtual reality headset.

Abandoning Reality: Getting Lost in Oculus Quest’s VR

Amazing. And time to remember the history. I was the chair of the first serious conference dedicated to virtual reality twenty-five years ago

Virtual reality got its start in the US Air Force’s investigation of heads-up display for pilots. Just as you see a candy wrapper on your dashboard reflected in the windshield while you drive, pilots could have nearly a instantaneous view of instrumentation simply by focusing their eyes from far objects to near.

Read More ›
Scene of modern urban transportation style. People using smartphone to request a ride sharing, autonomous bus in bus stop. Electric truck and minivan moving on the road. Subway entry near to the inter

Gladwell’s Autonomy: The Future of Our Cars But Not Ourselves?

Malcolm Gladwell’s recent film probes independence, individuality, and what cars mean to us

In order to allow for autonomy to develop, the degrees of freedom available on the public roadways will probably have to decrease.

Read More ›
Student guy is buying tickets for train trip on weekend in tickets vending machine. Bearded male with backpack on his back is choosing the ticket type on a display of self service tickets automat.

Random Comments on the Passing Scene: Carbon Computing and Much More

Child porn traffickers arrested despite their attempts to hide using high tech and Bitcoin

Also, McDonald’s doubles down on self-ordering kiosks, acquires automation firm.

Read More ›
Mobile phone addiction - Young man texting or looking at social media at night - insomnia, online obsession concept. Banner panorama.

The Feed: A Mind Matters TV Series Review

I started out thinking that the show was just the usual ho-hum tyrant-AI-takes-over flick and it is so good to be wrong!

Imagine a world where your mind is stored on social media. Now, what happens if someone steals, then abandons it. What will you do?

Read More ›
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre by the river Thames in Londob, UK

Can AI Prove That Shakespeare Had Ghostwriters?

An author’s unique style is like a fingerprint. AI can fill it in

Turning AI loose on some of these vexing problems should give literary scholars more to write about rather than less. The AI verdict may not always be right but it is bound to be food for thought.

Read More ›
digital graphic hologram

How To Be Human: A Mind Matters Short Film Review

This new film turns a conventional sci-fi storytelling premise upside down

Most AI sci-fi chronicles the struggle of sentient artificially intelligent (AI) beings grappling with how to become human. That makes sense from the viewer’s perspective. If I firmly believed that our humble video game algorithms would evolve into thinking, feeling beings, then I would, of course, conclude that they would struggle as they grappled with their newfound humanity. But a recent DUST release, How To Be Human, takes that narrative—and turns it upside down. Rather than an AI struggling to become human in a human-dominated world, we watch a human struggling to be more like an artificial intelligence in an AI-dominated world. Kimi (one of the protagonists) undertakes a journey in which she sheds all those things that make her…