Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryEthics

Three managers in city, social network

Should Engineers Think Like Computers?

To limit ourselves to the symbolic logic that computers can do is to leave our humanity behind
Symbolic logic says nothing about the truth or reality of what you give it. To understand what things really are, you have to get outside the pristine mathematical structure of symbolic logic and embrace what Prof. Kreeft calls Socratic logic. Read More ›
feifei-peng-n-rpm9Qo9T4-unsplash
Chain link fence obscuring brake lights

When High Tech Must Be Kept Secret

Universities that do national defence research try to manage the tension between intellectual freedom and national security

A plasma physics professor who interpreted the “fundamental research exception” too loosely ended up in jail.

Read More ›
charles-6OsSbJ8urao-unsplash

Chinese Technocracy Surges Ahead with AI Surveillance

So what do the reservations expressed, about “the soul” and “love,” really mean?

Both big tech entrepreneurs Kai-Fu Lee and Jack Ma seem to believe in souls but do not believe that souls can be trusted with freedom, the way governments can.

Read More ›
Close up of a Chimpanzee-family (mother and her two kids)

Researchers: Apes Are Just Like Us!

And we’re not doing the right things to make them start behaving that way…

In 2011, we were told in Smithsonian Magazine, “‘Talking’ apes are not just the stuff of science fiction; scientists have taught many apes to use some semblance of language.” Have they? If so, why has it all subsided? What happened?

Read More ›
Self driving car on a road. Autonomous vehicle. Inside view.

Elon Musk: You Are Liable for My Malfunctioning Code!

He hopes to put the blame for self-driving mishaps in parking lots on customers

At Mind Matters News, we have criticized his approach on numerous grounds. One problem that keeps getting left out is, who assumes moral responsibility and legal liability for self-driving vehicles?

Read More ›
Uneasy senior woman praying for sick man

New Evidence That Some Comatose People Really Do Understand

Researchers found mental activity in response to verbal commands even in some “completely unresponsive” patients

There is growing evidence that many comatose patients are quite aware of what is going on around them. For example, nurses are often very careful not to say upsetting things that the patient can hear because blood pressure often rises dramatically, even in deeply “unaware” comatose patients.

Read More ›
Lost wallet Charles PH chB-ff0cgCU on Unsplash

The Lost Wallet Returns—and Experts Are Baffled

Social scientists struggle for explanations as to why people turned out to be more honest than theory led them to expect

Finding a higher level of honesty than predicted was a surprise and the “scientific” explanations offered seem ad hoc and inadequate. The experts do not seem to know as much about us as they think they do.

Read More ›
matthew-guay-Q7wDdmgCBFg-unsplash
Screen of boxes on copy of financial times

Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines: Google Gives Away “Free” Cookies…

Also, why AI can't predict the stock market or deal with windblown plastic bags

A good rule of thumb is that unexpected outcomes increase exponentially as a function of AI complexity.

Read More ›
tim-marshall-114623-unsplash

Will Facebook’s New Focus on “Community” Groups Prevent Abuses?

When you look a little closer at the proposal, you will see that the answer is no

Facebook's move to a more group-focused interface gives the appearance of stronger privacy and community orientation but the structure and logic of social media ensure that these are appearances rather than realities.

Read More ›
Girl hiding on the sea shore

Betraying Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Espousing Abortion

Bonhoeffer opposed abortion but the president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute argues for it
I treat very premature babies—they can feel excruciating pain, and colleagues who do fetal surgery always ensure that the fetus, as well as the mother, has sufficient anesthesia during the operation. Read More ›
Aerial view of Harare

China’s AI Package for Africa Includes Mass Surveillance Technology

Africa sees development aid; China sees an expanding African database
Freedom House ranks China at 14/100 and Zimbabwe 30/100 in terms of freedoms. So it is not likely that Zimbabwe will become more free by cooperating with China to increase surveillance, even if the effort reduces crime, as hoped. Read More ›
pathum-danthanarayana-466070-unsplash

A Scientist’s Nightmare: Doxxed on Twitter

The surprisingly good news is that online riots may be hurting the Twitter brand
The market for senseless outrage is not as large as expected and the online riots may actually be hurting the Twitter brand. Many sources say that Twitter has been losing accounts for years. Read More ›
katya-austin-546158-unsplash
Hands selecting colored lights

Younger Thinkers Now Argue That Free Will Is Real

The laws of physics do not rule it out, they say

Assuming this trend among younger thinkers persists, the philosophical discussions around AI are not making determinism seem necessary or inevitable. And that, when you think of it, is an odd fate for determinism.

Read More ›
Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip
Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip

Are we risking a planetary AI intelligence explosion?

Or are our problems with AI the usual boring stuff we prefer to avoid?

Mind Matters News asked some of our house computer science experts for comment.

Read More ›
franz-harvin-aceituna-432708-unsplash
Two pilots behind array of flight controls and computers

A Critic of the Evangelical Statement on AI Misunderstands the Issues

On the question of moral responsibility, Dr. Swamidass seems to misunderstand the Statement entirely

Rather than lacking insight into AI issues, this band of theologians is especially sagacious in applying theology to them.

Read More ›
AdobeStock_62278442
blue cells dividing

Scientists’ Definition of Life Excludes AI, but Includes Embryos

A sophisticated AI machine would certainly be worth a lot of money but it has no more moral worth than a broken toaster

Speaking of moral value, the professors’ proposed definition would certainly include the earliest human embryos, their status as “human life” often denied by those who wish to justify their wanton destruction or casual instrumental use as natural resources.

Read More ›
Machine learning , artificial intelligence , ai, deep learning blockchain neural network concept. Brain made with shining wireframe above multiple blockchain cpu on circuit board 3d render.

Need Cash Fast? Just Pretend That You Wrote Software

Tesla is not the first company to announce software it hasn’t written, but it is indeed the most brazen

Software engineers call imaginary products “vaporware.” And if the tag fits, it wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla has marketed an illusion.

Read More ›
avantgarde-concept-725471-unsplash
Eyeball with ring light reflection in pupil

Transhumanism, the Lazy Way to Human ‘Improvement’

Transhumanists don’t seem much interested in such real improvements in the human condition. They want quick, easy technological fixes

The transhumanist movement swoons over increasing intelligence. If I had to choose between increasing the intelligence of the human race versus enhancing our capacity to love, the human race would be far better off embracing the latter than the former. There is no brain implant for that.

Read More ›