Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryEthics

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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AI Is Not a Simple Fix for Plagiarism

The internet speeded up a perennial problem without changing it

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, plagiarism amounts to passing ourselves off as experts without tears. It’s not realistic to expect software to detect all of the subtleties.

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A Mind Matters Review: Love, Death, & Robots

Despite the trash and ruined expectations, several shorts were enjoyable and downright fun to watch

Love, Death, & Robots is rather ambiguous. Perhaps a more descriptive title would be Blood, Butts, and Some Sci-Fi Thrown In.

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Green walk signal at crosswalk

AI Ethics and the Value of Human Life

Unanticipated consequences will always be a problem for totally autonomous AI

In the development of technology overall, there is always a tradeoff in which human life is given a price. For example, cheap cars aren’t safe and safe cars aren’t cheap.

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Face of android for Detroit: Become Human

A Closer Look at Detroit: Become Human, Part II

One pillar, if you like, of the worldview of the “Church of AI” is the belief that our embrace of artificial intelligence is a step on the road to a higher form of life.

Looking more closely, we can see that the stupidity and insignificance of human beings is a central dogma in the AI religion.

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Missile explosion

Why we can’t just ban killer robots

Should we develop them for military use? The answer isn’t pretty. It is yes.

Autonomous AI weapons are potentially within the reach of terrorists, madmen, and hostile regimes like Iran and North Korea. As with nuclear warheads, we need autonomous AI to counteract possible enemy deployment while avoiding its use ourselves.

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Stripes on two lane highway

Can We Program Morality into a Self-Driving Car?

A software engineering professor tells us why that’s not a realistic goal

Any discussion of the morality of the self-driving car should touch on the fact that the industry as a whole thrives on hype that skirts honesty.

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STEM EDUCATION 3. Killing People and Breaking Things

Modern history suggests that military superiority driven by technology can be a key factor in deterring aggression and preventing mass fatalities
Today, better AI is the goal of the arms race. Russian President Vladimir Putin has prophesied: “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere [AI] will become the ruler of the world.” Putin’s remarks apply to both economic and military dominance. Read More ›
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Cryptic characters in neon, a password or curse word

Bitcoin: Is Lack of Trust the Biggest Security Threat?

It’s almost a parable: Everyone can see, no one can access, the millions trapped in the ether by a password known only to a dead man

Is this the future of currency? Seems like the Dark Ages to me. Bitcoin is a clever idea, but it is perhaps too clever for its own good.

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Human Fetus Week Nine

The Junk Science of the Abortion Lobby

Fetuses not only experience pain but experience it more intensely than do adults
Much of pro-abortion advocacy is science denial—the deliberate misrepresentation of science to advance an ideological agenda. Mary Ziegler, a law professor at Florida State University, wrote a misleading essay on that theme in the New York Times, “Science won’t end this debate” (January 22, 2019). Read More ›
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The Creative Spark

An information theory justification for the intrinsic value of human beings
Because creativity is unique to humans and irreducible, all human beings have the ability in principle. The fact that a particular human being’s creativity is not in use or is perhaps unusable at present does not mean that that person does not have the ability. Consequently, all humans have at least latent intrinsic instrumental value. Read More ›
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Research Showing That Fake News Easily Fools Us Collapses

A recent paper claiming that low-quality news (“fake news”) spreads as quickly on social media as accurate news has been retracted by its authors.
A team from the Shanghai Institute of Technology sought to study whether accuracy made any difference to whether a post goes viral on social media. They cited a concern about “the digital misinformation that threatens our democracy.” Read More ›
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AI: Think About Ethics Before Trouble Arises

A machine learning specialist reflects on Micah 6:8 as a guide to developing ethics for the rapidly growing profession
To love mercy sometimes means to give up efficiency. It could mean losing a few points of model accuracy by refusing to take into account features that invade privacy or are proxies for race, leading to discriminatory model behavior. But that’s OK. The merciful are willing to give up some of their rights and advantages so they can help others.   Read More ›
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5: AI Can Fight Hate Speech!

AI can carry out its programmers’ biases and that’s all
Putting these kinds of decisions in the hands of software programs is not likely to promote vigorous and healthy debate. Read More ›