Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArts & Culture

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The head of a cyborg with wires on a gray background.

Sci Fi Saturday: Kiko: A Great Short But Key Questions Unanswered

A lonely retail service robot longs for a world beyond her store

“Kiko,” (9:20 min) by Jamil Munoz, tells the tale of a lonely retail service android who longs for a world beyond her store. Her signature line, “Goodnight, Charlie,” is priceless, as she is then all alone again, a mere as part of the business equipment. It’s an agreeable short (no spoilers, except that the kid who comes to her rescue is great). The android is wholly believable but the film never addresses the question of how the proprietor of “Charlie’s” computer retail store could have created or acquired a robot that had attributes like wanting a different type of life. A farmer can’t “create” a horse who wants to go to university. Even if the farmer could create a horse,…

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Top view of attractive young woman sleeping well in bed hugging soft white pillow. Teenage girl resting, good night sleep concept. Lady enjoys fresh soft bedding linen and mattress in bedroom

#5 AI hype: AI Could Go Psychotic Due To Lack of Sleep!

Well, that’s what we can hear from Scientific American, if we believe all we read

Our nerds here at the Walter Bradley Center have been discussing the AI hypes of the year. Our director Robert J. Marks, Eric Holloway and Jonathan Bartlett have been talking about 12 overyhyped AI ideas. From AI Dirty Dozen 2020 Part II, here’s #5 AI: can go psychotic due to lack of sleep! https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-114-Jonathan-Bartlett-Eric-Holloway.mp3 Our story begins at 16:03. Here’s a partial transcript. Show Notes and Additional Resources follow, along with a link to the complete transcript. The story started at Scientific American Some types of artificial intelligence could start to hallucinate if they don’t get enough rest, just as humans do… The change will come when (and if) AI systems that mimic living brains are incorporated into the wide…

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Chat bot concept

#6 A Conversation Bot Is Cool —If You Really Lower Your Standards

A system that supposedly generates conversation—but have you noticed what is says?

Our Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks has been interviewing fellow computer nerds (our Brain Trust) Jonathan Bartlett and Eric Holloway about 12 overhyped AI concepts of the year. From AI Dirty Dozen 2020 Part II. Now here’s #6. A means of generating copy from AI: “GPT-3 Is “Mindblowing” If You Don’t Question It Too Closely So what about the bot that replaces conversation? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-114-Jonathan-Bartlett-Eric-Holloway.mp3 Our story begins at “09:03. Here’s a partial transcript. Show Notes and Additional Resources follow, along with a link to the complete transcript. Robert J. Marks: GPT-3. Those are four alphanumeric letters that rhyme. GPT-3. And, there was a headline that says there’s a subreddit populated entirely by AI personifications of other subreddits. First…

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Watermelon Pacman eating small red round pieces

#7 AI Can Create Great New Video Games All by Itself!

In our 2020 "Dirty Dozen" AI myths: It’s actually just remixing previous games

Our Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks has been interviewing fellow computer nerds (our Brain Trust) Jonathan Bartlett and Eric Holloway about 12 overhyped AI concepts of the year. From AI Dirty Dozen 2020 Part II. Now here’s #7. Computers can create their own video games, no imagination involved! Or maybe… wait … don’t invest just yet … https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-114-Jonathan-Bartlett-Eric-Holloway.mp3 “Computers can create their own video games” starts at 05:07. Here’s a partial transcript. (Show Notes and Additional Resources follow, along with a link to the complete transcript.) Robert J. Marks: Okay. Number seven. AI can implement video games just by watching. This was from an article called “Learning to simulate dynamic environments with gameGAN.” Eric Holloway (pictured): Yeah but…

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King and queen playing cards

Deepfake of Queen’s Christmas Message Highlights Era of Fake News

The concept is actually an old one and we are not helpless against such deceptions

Elizabeth II is among the longest-serving constitutional monarchs in history (1953–). Britain’s edgy Channel 4 tested the waters with a deepfake Christmas address: In Commonwealth countries like Canada, it is a longstanding custom to listen to Elizabeth’s Christmas Address. So how did the fake fare?: If you have bad eyesight and limited hearing, you might, might, be fooled by the fake Queen on a busy Christmas day. But by the time she starts talking about Netflix and launches into a dance routine, you’d surely know something’s up. Channel 4 makes little effort to hide its deception, but that hasn’t stopped some critics from expressing discomfort with the stunt. Rhett Jones, “First Deepfake Address from the Queen of England Makes Its…

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sri lanka elephant

Sci-fi Saturday: What If Next-Stage Evolution Children Appear?

A sci-fi short from Sri Lanka looks at the possibilities

Here’s the last item in our Saturday reviews of free, relevant sci-fi fun from DUST, the sci-fi channel at YouTube. This one is “Vikaari”from Synhedrion Studios (Sri Lanka, 13:54): Due to some possible “evolutionary transformation,” children in Sri Lanka are born with no emotional reaction to anything but with the ability for telekinesis and a hive mind. It’s suggested that that is an adaptive response to continuous warfare. Many want to kill them, saying “They look like kids, but they’re not.” Eerily reminiscent of the persecution of people with Down Syndrome. Evolution theories are evoked in glowing color to explain the situation though many such theories are contested today. The story is very well done as a parable of the…

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alien planet landscape, beautiful forest the surface of an exoplanet

The Search for Extraterrestrial Life Gets an Update

The universe appears fine-tuned for life to a dramatic degree; it’s at least reasonable to think it’s out there

California Institute of Technology, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Santiago High School are updating the famous Drake Equation (1961): Over the span of human history, many have wondered if life exists on other planets—intelligent or otherwise. As new tools have been applied to the question, many space scientists have become convinced that the likelihood of extraterrestrial civilizations developing seems more probable than not given all that has been learned. As other exoplanet systems have been found, many circling stars very similar to our sun, it has become difficult to find anything unique about our own planet to justify a belief that Earth alone ever produced life. In this new effort, the researchers have expanded on research done by Frank Drake…

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The face of a child robot.

Sci-Fi Saturday: Can Parents Get Back a Dead Child as an Android?

They aren’t even united in their grief; they just think they must “do something” to get back a facsimile of what they remember.

Are you in lockdown at home? Hey, here’s another one we found, in our weekly foray into free short sci-fi. This is from SkillLab Creative Studio: “Article 19-42” (14:29 min) A French couple (subtitles in English) drive to an old barn in northern woods, on a seemingly curious mission—to resurrect a dead child as an android: One wouldn’t offer a spoiler, such as above, except that the film goes on way too long without making that part clear. The ambience—one suspects that the lab is illegal—is wonderful. The central characters are pitch perfect: parents of an only child, united by and obsessed with her death. They aren’t even entirely united in their grief; they both want to get back at…

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Spaceship in space above the planets in distant solar system. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

Astrobiologist: Change How We Search For ET!

There’s a longstanding controversy in the pursuit of extraterrestrial life as to whether life forms must be carbon-based

Sara Imari Walker, of Arizona State University, puts her finger on a key issue: The discovery of life on another planet should be a momentous event for humanity, but any announcement of a biosignature detection made right now will not be a milestone but a mess, because scientists will have no consensus that we’ve even made a discovery. Here on Earth, we don’t recognize life by its atmospheric byproducts. In fact, none of our current biosignatures address the central question: What about us makes us alive? Our biosignatures are not definitive signs of life because we don’t have a coherent theory of what life is… Carl Sagan famously showed that adopting a definition that includes the ability to eat, metabolize,…

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smart hotel in hospitality industry 4.0 technology concept, robot butler (robot assistant) use for greet arriving guests, deliver customer, items to rooms, give information, support  variety languages

Sci-Fi Saturday Film: The Robot Tries To Learn About Grief

An elderly woman buys a robot to help her when she finds herself all alone, due to tragedy

In our weekly foray into free sci-fi at DUST, we found “Rewind” (13:36 min, set in December 2043) An elderly woman, Sheila, whose daughter has been in a high-conflict zone in a military environment, learns to manage with a robot—ordered apparently off the internet, with a manual—that can learn to do housework and hang Christmas decorations. It’s an agreeable story and good Christmas fare! That said, the robot is obviously a guy in a “robot” suit. He learns to do housework, appreciate snow—and to deal with tragedy a robot could never really understand. A robot can’t deal with things that are non-computable because non-computables cannot be programmed. This is a fact often overlooked by heady futurists. But don’t let that…

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Robo Women 3

Erica, Robot Film Star, is Pretty Typical Modern-Day Puppeteering

It may be a good film, to be sure, Jonathan Bartlett stresses, but there is little new AI in there

Yesterday, we looked at Erica the Robot, our #9 technology hype of 2020. While Erica, described as the star of a film, b, to start production in 2021, may be more sophisticated than some, clever animatronics have actually been around for decades (think Muppets… ). So Robert J. Marks and Eric Holloway talked about the question of how much of the Erica puff signifies something really groundbreaking and how much is the usual AI hype. Jonathan Bartlett (pictured) gets back to us with some further thoughts on that very question: The hype around Erica starts with the simple description of her role in the film. Many articles about the film say that Erica was “cast” in the role. However, being…

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Many Robo Women 7

#9: Erica the Robot Stars in a Film. But Really, Does She?

This is just going to be a fancier Muppets movie, Eric Holloway predicts, with a bit more electronics

Our Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks has been interviewing fellow computer nerds (our Brain Trust) Jonathan Bartlett and Eric Holloway about 12 overhyped AI concepts of the year. Lots of stuff happened and it’s the time of year for fun and entertainment! So here’s #9: Erica the Robot, from Japan, is to star in a film (filming begins in 2021): https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-113-Eric-Holloway-Jonathan-Bartlett.mp3 #9 starts at about 16:58 A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. A link to the complete transcript follows the Additional Resources. Robert J. Marks: Okay. We are counting down the Dirty Dozen hyped AI stories of 2020, and we’re at #9. In June 2020 in The Hollywood Reporter, we learned of the robot in…

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Dictionary showing the word definition

Jill Biden: Who Should, and Shouldn’t, Be Called “Doctor”?

The controversy around Jill Biden’s title, “Dr.,” could use some clarification from the dictionary

There is a controversy about whether Joe Biden’s wife should be referred to as “Doctor” Jill Biden. Isn’t “Doctor” a title for physicians only?The question is resolved easily by consulting a dictionary. Two of the definitions in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary are: 1.a person skilled or specializing in healing arts especially : one (such as a physician, dentist, or veterinarian) who holds an advanced degree and is licensed to practice 2.a person who has earned one of the highest academic degrees (such as a PhD) conferred by a university Jill Biden has a doctorate (an EdD) from the University of Delaware. Independent of one’s politics (I’m not a Biden fan), Jill Biden can be accurately referred to as Dr. Jill Biden.…

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Online dating app or site in mobile phone. Finding love and romance from internet with smartphone. Man giving like. Many hologram photos of beautiful woman around cellphone. Stalker looking at profile

Can AI Find You the Love of Your Life?

Faced with a steeply declining birth rate, Japan’s government has decided to try AI matchmaking

Well, outsourcing everything to technology is the thing these days and the Japanese government, faced with a steeply declining birthrate, is giving AI matchmaking a try: Around half of the nation’s 47 prefectures offer matchmaking services and some of them have already introduced AI systems, according to the Cabinet Office. The human-run matchmaking services often use standardized forms to list people’s interests and hobbies, and AI systems can perform more advanced analysis of this data. “We are especially planning to offer subsidies to local governments operating or starting up matchmaking projects that use AI,” the official said. AFP-JIJI, “We have a match! Japan taps AI to boost birth rate slump” at Japan Times (December 7, 2020) Declining birthrate? Japan Times…

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Time concept. Hi-res digitally generated image.

Sci-Fi Saturday Film: “Speed of Time” from DUST

A computer nerd writing a pizza delivery program discovers that his work is way more important than he, or anyone, thought

From the free DUST sci-fi channel at YouTube: “Speed of Time,” 12:19 min by Russ Nickel and William J. Stribling, September 17, 2020: “Johnny Killfire (John Hennigan) must go back in time and team up with his former self (Sean Marquette) to stop the TimeBorgs from getting their hands on an app that breaks the space-time continuum by delivering pizzas into the past…before they were even ordered.” It sounds like an agreeable quarter hour. Imagine what happens when an accomplished ground warrior busts in from another time on a quiet family at the breakfast table… Unfortunately, things go downhill from there, unless the film is intended as a satire on a certain type of science fiction. Pizza delivery rips a…

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360 degree massive black hole panorama, equirectangular projection, environment map. HDRI spherical panorama. Space background with black hole and stars

Sci-Fi Saturday Film: “Alone” at DUST

Space engineer Kaya Torres, the only survivor of a black hole, contacts an “interstellar penpal” to keep her company until she dies

From the free DUST sci-fi channel at YouTube: “Alone” by William Helmuth (December 3, 2020): From the Press Kit: Kaya Torres, an engineer with a sailor’s mouth and a stubborn spirit, barely escapes her research ship when calamity breaks it in half. Now she’s circling a black hole in a pod, with no one coming, no one to help. She’s alone. While figuring out what to do, Kaya starts sending messages to Hammer, a cartographer marooned on a nearby planet. And as their friendship grows, Kaya’s options slowly dwindle, until survival seems hopelessly out of reach… As Torres is “marooned on my lifepod” as the only survivor of the DSV Intrepid, she is able to contact an “interstellar penpal” to…

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Blue Ice covered mountains in south polar ocean. Winter Antarctic landscape. The mount's reflection in the crystal clear water. The cloudy sky over the massive rock glacier. Travel wild nature

Sci-Fi Saturday Film: “The Beacon” at DUST

Especially harrowing is the Arctic encounter where the grieving husband finds out what really happened

From the free DUST sci-fi channel at YouTube: (“The Beacon” by Chris Staehler, 25:10 min) “Mark and Kara Verne are both young shipping pilots struggling to make ends meet. When Kara goes missing months after taking a large interstellar contract, Mark travels to the far reaches of the galaxy in search of his wife.” The story sets up well. A business opportunity suddenly presents itself that will enable the copule to greatly improve their fortunes. When she goes missing, her desperate husband has a hard time finding out what happened. The film is definitely worth seeing, if only for the bureaucrat from hell that Mark confronts about the problem though it strikes a false note when he offers her a…

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set of funny colored stickers with different emotions

Study: The Expression of Human Emotions Is Universal

Most representations in visual arts depend on the universality of human emotion

Most of us wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the expression of human emotions is universal. But today there is a study for everything and 16 “universal human emotional expressions” have been identified: Whether at a birthday party in Brazil, a funeral in Kenya or protests in Hong Kong, humans all use variations of the same facial expressions in similar social contexts, such as smiles, frowns, grimaces and scowls, a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, shows… Researchers at UC Berkeley and Google used machine-learning technology known as a “deep neural network” to analyze facial expressions in some 6 million video clips uploaded to YouTube from people in 144 countries spanning North, Central and South America, Africa, Europe,…

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White robot woman using digital sphere connection hologram 3D rendering

Robots Really Don’t Explain It All for Us—But They Helpfully Try

And what else can they do? The literature written about their efforts is often a lot of fun!

When computer whiz Rosalind Picard gave a course at MIT in 1997,“Toward Machines That Can Deny Their Maker,” she included some dialogue from a play she had written. As she tells it, The dialogue was inspired, in part, by the 1921 play of Karel Čapek, entitled “R.U.R.,” which stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots. This play is where the word robot originated, from the Czech “robotit,” which means “to drudge.” In R.U.R., humans have figured out the secret to making robots that are emotional and alive. However, the robots can only live for 20 years. Afterward, they expire (die.) Karel Čapek (pictured) invented the concept and maybe even the word, robots: As Picard tells it, “The robots in this dialogue share…

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Extraterrestrial aliens spaceship fly above sunset sea

Could Aliens Be Hiding From Us Until We Are Ready?

An Israeli space expert says they are waiting for us to catch up

Okay, it seems kind of crazy but here on sci-fi Saturday, we have spent a lot of time wondering why we don’t see intelligent aliens even though the universe is big enough and fine-tuned for life. But the “We’re not ready” theory at least gives them some credit for having intelligence. Anyway, for what it is worth, one ex-space boffin says, “Trump was on the verge of revealing [aliens existence], but the aliens in the Galactic Federation are saying, ‘Wait, let people calm down first,’” Eshed, who helmed Israel’s space security program from 1981 to 2010, reportedly said. “They don’t want to start mass hysteria. They want to first make us sane and understanding.” Until that day, aliens have secured…