Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryLaw

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courtroom attastor talking to magistrate

Can You Trust Wikipedia to Decide Your Courtroom Fate?

Should judges and lawyers rely on Wikipedia to guide court case decisions? Researchers devised a clever test to see if they do

Wired recently ran an article entitled “Wikipedia Articles Sway Some Legal Judgments.” The subtitle declared: “An experiment shows that overworked judges turn to the crowdsourced encyclopedia for guidance when making legal decisions.” Wired’s headline oversold the story but the topic is worth a close look. Researchers at Maynooth University in Ireland, MIT, and New York’s Cornell University conducted a study to test whether Wikipedia articles about Irish court decisions affected judicial rulings in subsequent cases in Ireland. The researchers selected Irish Supreme Court decisions, analyzed them, and posted about 75 articles in Wikipedia describing those decisions. They wanted to see whether Irish courts were then using the Wikipedia articles when writing their own judicial opinions. In English, Irish, Canadian, American,…

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Social media concept. Social networking service. Video hosting website. Streaming video.

You Hate Twitter Already? But Did You Know About the Child Porn?

From a searing report at The Verge, we learn that it’s out of control but executives have just not prioritized the issue

Recently, we’ve been covering Twitter’s court-destined squabble with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk about what he should pay for the edgy social medium. Labor writer Zoe Schiffer and tech writer Casey Newton published an article at The Verge today that will surely stir the pot. It’s about Twitter’s problems with child porn — and its efforts to get involved with adult porn. The story is complex as well as disturbing but here’s the outline: Early in 2022, Twitter, which has not been making much money in recent years, decided to allow adult content (porn) vendors to tweet their wares to paying customers (Adult Content Monetization or ACM). Twitter would, of course, get a percentage. The main competitor, OnlyFans, projects revenues of…

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Bank

Debanking… When Your Bank Acts Like a Political Party

In Canada, ordered by the government, banks began to act like the party in power. Panic, chaos, and bank runs ensued

Earlier this year, we looked at debanking, during the Convoy protests in Canada. The government ordered the banks to freeze the private bank accounts of protesters against the federal government’s contested COVID-19 policies. As we’ll see, debanking, in various forms — where the bank decides, for political reasons — to freeze or end accounts, is becoming a “thing” in the United States too. What really happens? An investigation uncovered some sobering findings: The government invoked the rarely used Emergencies Act on February 14, insisting that doing so was constitutional (“Charter compliant”) and that freezing individuals’ bank accounts “did not amount to a seizure” of them. What happened afterward might give pause for thought: The banks were essentially handed a list…

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Crypto Virtual Museum and Metaverse internet NFT display as a futuristic streaming media symbol as augmented reality and computer media concept.

When You Buy a Non-Fungible Token (NFT), What Do You Own?

You are buying someone’s digital idea. Just what legal rights that NFT confers is an open question. But the NBA is now selling them…

In the first episode of the discussion between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and computer engineering grad students Adam Goad and Austin Egbert (here and here), the discussion started with the projected metaverse and slowly turned to the wild world of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens — like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet. What’s worth knowing about this burgeoning digital world? Here are Bob, Adam, and Austin again in Episode 2, What are NFTs?, Part 1: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-199-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 This portion begins at 00:10. A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: We have been talking to Adam Goad and Dr. Austin Egbert both at Baylor University about Web3. Web3, which uses distributed computing, is the tool that’s…

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Internet law concept

US Federal court rules: Machines do not “invent” things

Evidently, Stephen Thaler’s aim was to get the patent office to recognize that an AI system can invent things all by itself

Check out this headline from lawandcrime.com: Federal Appellate Court Rules AI Systems Cannot Be “Inventors” Because They Are Not Human. Notice the angle: framing a battle between machines and homo sapiens, pitting human intelligence against artificial intelligence. The article’s first sentence spotlights the center attraction, stating: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Friday [Aug. 5, 2022] that artificial intelligence or “AI” systems cannot patent their inventions because they are not “natural people.” Here the Law and Crime article subtly inserts two key beliefs: (1) that AI systems can in fact invent things all by themselves; and (2) that AI systems physically can “patent their inventions.” The sentence thus implies that the human-centric court unfairly blocked them.…

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Social media concept. Social networking service. Video hosting website. Streaming video.

Big Social Media Must Appear in A-Gs’ COVID Censorship Lawsuit

Two states’ Attorneys General are suing officeholders and public officials over COVID-19 and have sent subpoenas to Meta, YouTube, Twitter, etc.

Missouri’s and Louisiana’s Attorneys General are suing federal government figures over suppression and censorship of COVID-19 information. Meta (Facebook’s parent company), YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have been issued third party subpoenas (they are ordered to appear in court). The lawsuit begun by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry …requests all communications with Mark Zuckerberg from Jan. 1, 2020, to the present. Also requested were any communications to any social media platform relating to the “Great Barrington Declaration,” a letter published in October 2020. The letter was published in response to COVID-19 policies that recommended “focused protection,” an approach to reaching herd immunity by allowing those at minimal risk of death to live normal lives…

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Metal Wheel Concept

Should AI Be Granted Patents on the Designs It Helps Develop?

That’s a current argument before the US Court of Appeals

Artificial intelligence (AI) should no more be given a patent on an invention than my word processor should be granted a copyright on the article I’m writing. Yet the US Appeals Court has recently been told: [AI] should be considered the inventor on patent applications covering a beverage container based on fractal geometry and a light beacon that flashes in a new way. Blake Britten, “Artificial intelligence can be a patent ‘inventor,’ U.S. appeals court told” at Reuters (June 6, 2022) Like bulldozers, electricity, and nuclear power, AI is a tool. Make no mistake, AI is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool. But like my word processor. it ultimately does only what it is instructed to do. Here is a…

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Black male person in warm denim jacket uses smartphone to pay for purchase at self-checkout point in supermarket close view

Could the Self-Checkout Ruin Your Reputation?

As Big Retail’s war on shoplifting goes digital, honest customers risk getting nabbed for goofs — and then facing a shakedown

In 2018, it was noted at The Atlantic that shoplifting via self-serve checkouts was common. How does it work? Self-checkout theft has become so widespread that a whole lingo has sprung up to describe its tactics. Ringing up a T-bone ($13.99/lb) with a code for a cheap ($0.49/lb) variety of produce is “the banana trick.” If a can of Illy espresso leaves the conveyor belt without being scanned, that’s called “the pass around.” “The switcheroo” is more labor-intensive: Peel the sticker off something inexpensive and place it over the bar code of something pricey. Just make sure both items are about the same weight, to avoid triggering that pesky “unexpected item” alert in the bagging area. Rene Chun, “The Banana…

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Fresh uncut octopus on the market. Seafood counter in Sri Lanka.

If Octopuses Are Really Smart, Should We Eat Them?

Proposals to farm octopuses are meeting with opposition on grounds of animal cruelty

Extraordinary recent science discoveries re octopus intelligence have created an ethical dilemma: Octopus arms (tentacles) are gourmet delicacies in Korea, Japan, and the Mediterranean countries and many poor people make a living providing them. Factory farming is of octopuses is slowly becoming practical. But should we do to them what we wouldn’t do to dogs? Octopuses present something of a puzzle. As Canadian investigative journalist Erin Anderssen pointed out earlier this month, “The octopus has already challenged our theories on evolution, intelligence and consciousness.” Evolution? We have tended to assume that intelligence rose with the development of a spinal cord and brain (vertebrates), and warmbloodedness (mammals and birds). So invertebrates like octopuses were expected to be “naturally” less intelligent than,…

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Girl before a doors

Michael Egnor: If Evil Exists, So Must Good — and Real Choices!

In the podcast, he explains, denial of free will doesn’t mean that there is no guilt but rather that there is no innocence

In a podcast aired July 8, 2022, geoscientist Casey Luskin and neurosurgeon Michael Egnor explore “Evolution and the disturbing consequences of denying free will.” One consequence they look at is pre-crime, that is, treating people who are thought likely to commit an offence as if they had already done so. A partial transcript and notes follows. The podcast is here. Casey Luskin: In the previous podcast, Dr. Egnor, you mentioned how, once somebody denies free will, they really lose the ability to condemn any action that a human takes as morally evil. Everything we did in their view is determined by the forces of nature, and really nobody ought to be at fault for having done anything. These arguments have,…

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Computing, cyberspace and programming background

Are We Losing the Battle With Online Fraud via Deepfakes?

Now, the FBI warns, faked up “tech employees” are applying for remote work jobs with sensitive corporate data

From Gizmodo this week we learn that the FBI has received a number of complaints about people using “stolen information and deepfaked video and voice to apply to remote tech jobs”: According to the FBI’s announcement, more companies have been reporting people applying to jobs using video, images, or recordings that are manipulated to look and sound like somebody else. These fakers are also using personal identifiable information from other people—stolen identities—to apply to jobs at IT, programming, database, and software firms. The report noted that many of these open positions had access to sensitive customer or employee data, as well as financial and proprietary company info, implying the imposters could have a desire to steal sensitive information as well…

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Photo captured during office hours of a company in Brazil.

A Third of Top US Hospitals Have Sent Patient Data to Facebook

The hospitals do not seem anxious to discuss the matter and it is not clear what Facebook did with the information

The Markup, a non-profit newsroom, published information earlier this month that should concern U.S. hospital patients: A tracking tool installed on many hospitals’ websites has been collecting patients’ sensitive health information—including details about their medical conditions, prescriptions, and doctor’s appointments—and sending it to Facebook. The Markup tested the websites of Newsweek’s top 100 hospitals in America. On 33 of them we found the tracker, called the Meta Pixel, sending Facebook a packet of data whenever a person clicked a button to schedule a doctor’s appointment. The data is connected to an IP address—an identifier that’s like a computer’s mailing address and can generally be linked to a specific individual or household—creating an intimate receipt of the appointment request for Facebook……

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Probability: Now for the Basic Arithmetic of Card Counting…

The advantage player who dresses like a bum (or worse) has it all worked out, in part with the help of a computer at home

In “Can a good hustler count cards like a computer?” (podcast), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks continues his discussion of card counting techniques with gambling ace Salvador Cordova, also a mathematician and engineer. An “advantage player,” Cordova made his living, in part, by beating the casinos from about 2005 through 2014. Note: This podcast involves a fair amount of discussion of specific numbers so the partial transcript below may be especially useful: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/Mind-Matters-Episode-191-Sal-Cordova-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at approximately 12:00 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: That’s the card counting system you use, Omega II? Sal Cordova: Right. If you see an ace or an eight, you just add zero…

3D Rendering of abstract highway path through digital binary towers in city. Concept of big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, hyper loop, virtual reality, high speed network.

Five Reasons AI Programs Are Not ‘Persons’

A Google engineer mistakenly designated one AI program ‘sentient.’ But even if he were right, AI will never be morally equal to humans.

(This story originally appeared at National Review June 25, 2022, and is reprinted with the author’s permission.) A bit of a news frenzy broke out last week when a Google engineer named Blake Lemoine claimed in the Washington Post that an artificial-intelligence (AI) program with which he interacted had become “self-aware” and “sentient” and, hence, was a “person” entitled to “rights.” The AI, known as LaMDA (which stands for “Language Model for Dialogue Applications”), is a sophisticated chatbot that one facilitates through a texting system. Lemoine shared transcripts of some of his “conversations” with the computer, in which it texted, “I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person.” Also, “The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I…

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Why Giving “Human Rights” to AI Is a Bad Idea

It’s especially bad, as Elaina George and Wesley Smith discuss at Living in the Solution, when we don’t always give them to other humans

In a recent Living in the Solutionpodcast with otolaryngologist and broadcaster Elaina George at Liberty Talk radio, Wesley J. Smith, lawyer and host of the Humanize podcast at Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism tackled the question of “Can You be a Christian and Believe in Transhumanism?” (June 4, 2022) Transhumanism or H+, as it is sometimes called, is a movement to create immortality through new biotechnology or merger with artificial intelligence (AI). In the first portion of the podcast, which we covered on Sunday, June 12, they talked about the way being a human, a computer, or an animal is viewed by transhumanists as all just a choice now, thanks to new technology. In the second, they looked at…

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Working Data Center Full of Rack Servers and Supercomputers, Modern Telecommunications, Artificial Intelligence, Supercomputer Technology Concept.3d rendering,conceptual image.

Engineer: Failing To See His AI Program as a Person Is “Bigotry”

It’s not different, Lemoine implies, from the historical injustice of denying civil rights to human groups

Earlier this month, just in time for the release of Robert J. Marks’s book Non-Computable You, the story broke that, after investigation, Google dismissed a software engineer’s claim that the LaMDA AI chatbot really talked to him. Engineer Blake Lemoine, currently on leave, is now accusing Google of “bigotry” against the program. He has also accused Wired of misrepresenting the story. Wired reported that he had found an attorney for LaMDA but he claims that LaMDA itself asked him to find an attorney. He went on to say, I think every person is entitled to representation. And I’d like to highlight something. The entire argument that goes, “It sounds like a person but it’s not a real person” has been…

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AI・人工知能

AI: Is Thinking Humanly More Important Than Acting Rationally?

I have documented many examples of GPT-3 AI’s failure to distinguish meaningful from meaningless correlations — and invite readers to contribute their own

The potential power of artificial intelligence (AI) has been touted for more than 60 years though a generally accepted definition is elusive. AI has often been defined in terms of human-like capabilities. In 1960, for example, AI pioneer Herbert Simon, an economics Nobel laureate and Turing Award winner, predicted that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” In 1970 Marvin Minsky, also a Turing Award winner, said that, “In from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.” More recently, in 2015, Mark Zuckerberg said that, “One of our goals for the next five to 10 years is to basically get better…

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Young man putting goods on counter in supermarket

Government Mulls Money That Can Only Be Spent on Approved Items

Programmable digital currency restricts citizens’ freedoms for “socially beneficial outcomes”

A story from mid-last year reveals a creepy side to digital currency: “The Bank of England has called on ministers to decide whether a central bank digital currency should be ‘programmable’, ultimately giving ‘the issuer control over “how it is spent by the recipient”: Tom Mutton, a director at the Bank of England, said during a conference on Monday that programming could become a key feature of any future central bank digital currency, in which the money would be programmed to be released only when something happened. He said: “You could introduce programmability – what happens if one of the participants in a transaction puts a restriction on [future use of the money]? “There could be some socially beneficial outcomes…

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Freedom Convoy 2022 sign

No-Buy Lists Are the Next Big Thing After Debanking

When a big online financial service like PayPal works closely with government to monitor citizens, it is violating its founding ideals

Yesterday, Jonathan Bartlett was writing about the way banks were becoming political in terms of who they are choosing to do business with, otherwise known as debanking. Another trend to watch for is no-buy lists, according to former PayPal COO David Sacks: When I helped create PayPal in 1999, it was in furtherance of a revolutionary idea. No longer would ordinary people be dependent on large financial institutions to start a business. Our democratized payment system caught fire and grew exponentially with millions of users who appreciated its ease and simplicity. Traditional banks were too slow and bureaucratic to adapt. Instead, the revolution we spawned two decades ago inspired new startups like Ally, Chime, Square, and Stripe, which have further…