Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryMachine Learning

Ruins of Knossos Palace, Crete, GREECE

Could Machine Learning Decipher Lost Languages?

It gives us new search powers, based on perennial facts of language

An endless variety of word games derives from the fact that only certain combinations and orderings of words can be correct. Machine learning applies vast resources to cracking the code.

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Animal clouds shape

How Business Intelligence Can Break the Data Deadlock

Companies today are awash in information. But which patterns are real? Which are cloud bunnies?

Contrary to the dogma of hypothesis testing, it is possible to do after-the-fact pattern analysis while limiting the probability of false positives.

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Abstract Visualisation of data and technology in graph form. 3D Illustration
Abstract Visualization of data and technology in graph form. 3D Illustration

Machine Learning Tip: Set Boundaries for the Problems

We cannot take a giant pile of unorganized data, shove it into a machine, and expect useful results

Humans intrinsically understand causation and, therefore know which pieces of data likely have some correlation. Therefore, when we select data for computers to analyze, we are drastically reducing the size of the problem for computers.

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Just Did It hashtag

Winning Tag Lines Are Hard Enough To Write…

But AI really flops at that

AI tools help us do things better, faster, or more efficiently. But they lack the mind needed to know when “I’m loving’ it” is the winning slogan—and stop there. 

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Photo from driver's seat with light trails ahead

The Real Future of Self-Driving Cars Is — Better Human Drivers!

Manufacturers are improving safety by incorporating warning systems developed for self-driving cars into conventional models

This human-plus-machine combination is proving more potent than the machine-only hype/promise.

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Successful Generalization Is a Key to Learning

In machine learning, the Solomonoff induction helps us decide how successful a generalization is

In the model of generalization set out in the paper, imperfect models can get better scores but they are discounted according to the amount of error they have.

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Old calculator
Detail of an old office machine used for calculations

Machine Learning Dates Back To at Least 300 BC

The key to machine learning is not machines but mathematics

Machine learning is not a new technique, but is simply a modern extension of a tool that we have had in our toolbox since the days of the Babylonians. It continues to serve us well to help us extrapolate our data to estimate the value of unknown results and to help find the signal in noisy data.

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Painted face, split in two

AI as the Artful Dodger

Watch what happens when I train a neural network on portraits of 56 famous scientists, starting the process with a right eye
New AI is much more sophisticated but the old and new AI share the property that the final result is nothing more than an interpolation of the training images used to train the AI. Read More ›
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Android being constructed from Detroit: Become Human

A Closer Look at Detroit: Become Human, Part III

The second pillar of the AI religion is reductionism, the reduction of humanity to matter and energy

If the qualities that define being human (so that there is an obvious distinction between what is human and what is not) are not material by nature; then the premise of a compelling story about androids that become and surpass human beings as intelligent life falls flat.

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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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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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sad robot
Toy Robot looking at itself in mirror

That Robot Is Not Self-Aware

The way the media cover AI, you'd almost think they had invented being hopelessly naïve
If this is how The Telegraph reports on a robotic arm, can you imagine what it will sound like when we get humanoid robots who seem to carry on conversations? We had best inoculate ourselves now against AI hype from science reporters while most of us still have enough self-awareness to realize what’s going on. Read More ›
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Classified section of a newspaper

Part 2: Navigating the Machine Learning Landscape — Supervised Classifiers

Supervised classifiers can sort items like posts to a discussion group or medical images, using one of many algorithms developed for the purpose
In Part 1 of our series, we looked at machine learning, including supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. Now we’re going to dive a little deeper into how supervised learning works. Read More ›
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Scrabble pieces with numbers and letters

The Numbers Don’t Speak for Themselves

The patterns uncovered by machine learning may reflect a larger reality or just a bias in gathering data

Because Machine Learning is opaque—even experts cannot clearly explain how a system arrived at a conclusion—we treat it as magic. Therefore, we should mistrust the systems until proven innocent (and correct).

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Mortar Board on top of keyboard

Artificial Intelligence Is Actually Superficial Intelligence

The confusing ways the word “intelligence” is used belie the differences between human intelligence and machine sophistication

Words often have more meaning than we hear at first. Consider colors. We associate green with verdant, healthy life and red with prohibition and danger. But these inferences are not embedded in the basic meaning of “red” or “green.” They are cultural accretions we attach to words that enable the richness of language. That, by the way, is one reason why legal documents and technical papers are so difficult to read. The terms used are stripped clean of such baggage, requiring additional words to fill the gaps. The word “intelligent” is like that. Saying that a computer, or a program, is intelligent can lead us down a rabbit hole of extra meaning. An honest researcher merely means the computer has Read More ›

Composite image of image of data
Composite image of image of data

Part 1: Navigating the Machine Learning Landscape

To choose the right type of machine learning model for your project, you need to answer a few specific questions
Most machine learning systems fall into three main categories—supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. The choice of system depends first on which category of machine learning best addresses your situation. Read More ›
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Does AI Art Spell the End of the Artist’s Way of Life?

An AI-produced painting sold at auction for $432,500. But is it a trend or just a novelty?

Rather than announce that human artists are now doomed, software engineer Ben Dixon interviewed a number of them and came away with a rather different picture, that “AI-generated art will improve, but artistic creativity will remain a human discipline.”

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Amoebae move and feed by using pseudopods, which are bulges of cytoplasm formed by the coordinated action of actin microfilaments pushing out the plasma membrane that surrounds the cell.
Amoebae move and feed by using pseudopods, which are bulges of cytoplasm formed by the coordinated action of actin microfilaments pushing out the plasma membrane that surrounds the cell.

Is an Amoeba Smarter Than Your Computer?

Hype aside, the microbe’s math skills ace the Traveling Salesman problem and may help with cybersecurity
When we hear hype about machines that will soon out-think people, we might put it in perspective by recalling that we still struggle to build a machine that can out-think amoebas looking for crumbs. Read More ›