Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryNatural Intelligence


Can the Air Force Create Thinking Planes?

Smart drones? They are working on general artificial intelligence (GAI)
Eric Holloway: The likely way this will turn out is they'll realize human-in-the-loop is unavoidable for any useful system, so it'll spin off into something like the existing field of human computation. Read More ›

How the KGB Found CIA Agents

An illustration of complex, specified information (CSI) in the world of foreign intelligence agencies
The concept, which has been controversial with respect to the universe as a whole, can be conveniently illustrated on a smaller scale in the events of our time. Consider the case of the phantom Soviet moles. Read More ›
A green lizard eyeing the camera

Yes, Even Lizards Can Be Smart

If you catch them at the right time. But can we give machines what the lizard has by nature?
What is it that we want machines to be and do under our guidance that these—often seemingly strange—life forms are and do spontaneously? The life forms do those things to stay alive. Does it matter then that machines are not alive? Read More ›

Crows Can Be as Smart as Apes

But they have quite different brains. The intelligence doesn't seem to reside in the details of the mechanism
Studying animals' intelligence has taught us many things. But in some ways, it has deepened the mystery of intelligence. Read More ›

The “superintelligent AI myth”

The problem that even the skeptical Deep Learning researcher left out
I largely agree with what François Chollet said last year as to why there will be no explosion of general artificial intelligence. But when he challenged the fear of an AI-driven “intelligence explosion,” he, perhaps unwittingly, said more than he meant. Read More ›

Brains are not billions of little computers

Despite the hype. Also, life forms are not machines and neurons are not neural networks
Life forms exist in a dance with their environment (homeostasis) that requires constant adjustment, an adjustment generated by the inner drive to continue in existence. How does the drive come to be there? The analogy between life forms and machines like computers is not particularly convincing, on close examination. Read More ›
Female Cyborg Robot - 3D render of a futuristic robot conveying artificial intelligence, work and production automation in the digital age

Software pioneer says general superhuman artificial intelligence is very unlikely

The concept, he argues, shows a lack of understanding of the nature of intelligence
François Chollet, author of Keras, for the Python deep learning language, cites the No Free Lunch theorem as one of the reasons. Read More ›

Meet the everyday people behind AI

Not famous, not lone geniuses, usually not even well-paid. Without them, ambitious systems would gather dust.
Although you probably haven’t heard much about the 26-year-old single mother in the hi-tech news, Brenda is one of the intelligences behind artificial intelligence. For $9 a day, Brenda, who lives in the slum district Kibera in Nairobi, along with a thousand co-workers helps code information for self-driving cars for San Francisco-based Samasource (founded 2008). Read More ›

Human intelligence as a halting oracle

Jonathan Bartlett proposes to model the human mind as a halting oracle.
A common objection to Bartlett’s idea is that humans cannot be halting oracles because we embed any unsolvable math problem as the halting condition for a loop and a human cannot tell us whether the loop will halt or not. This objection misses the fact that there is a range of oracles between plain Turing machines and a complete halting oracle. Read More ›

Does information theory support design in nature?

William Dembski makes a convincing case, using accepted information theory principles relevant to computer science
Intelligent design theory is sometimes said to lack any practical application. One straightforward application is that, because intelligence can create information and computation cannot, human interaction will improve computational performance. Read More ›
Background of engine room detail in a steam locomotive

George Gilder explains what’s wrong with “Google Marxism”

In discussion with Mark Levin, host of Life, Liberty & Levin
Gilder: Marx’s great error, his real mistake, was to imagine that the industrial revolution of the 19th century, all those railways and “dark, satanic mills” and factories and turbine and the beginning of electricity represented the final human achievement in productivity so in the future what would matter is not the creation of wealth but the redistribution of wealth. Read More ›

Do we just imagine design in nature?

Or is seeing design fundamental to discovering and using nature’s secrets?
Michael Egnor reflects on the way in which the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has so often gone to those who intuit or impose desire or seek the purpose of things. Read More ›

Does your brain construct your conscious reality? Part II

In a word, no. Your brain doesn't "think"; YOU think, using your brain
The brain understands nothing, imagines nothing, sees nothing. It wills nothing. We understand, we imagine, we see, and we will, using our brains. Read More ›

Does your brain construct your conscious reality? Part I

A reply to computational neuroscientist Anil Seth's recent TED talk
His talk is a breathtaking compendium of fallacies on the mind and the brain. We can learn a lot from him—by understanding the errors into which he falls and the way out of those errors. Read More ›

Inner peace: Is there software for that?

Tech billionaire funds neuroscience in a search for the secret of contentment
His approach to neuroscience is very different from that of the Dalai Lama, who facilitates neuroscience research to better understand contemplation as a path to inner peace. Chen’s focus is more on developing virtual reality. Read More ›

The Hills Go High Tech

An American community finding its way in the new digital economy
At present, says Hochschild, Ankur Gopal and Interapt are sourcing as many new hillbillies as they can find: “For now, there is so much demand for I.T. workers — 10,000 estimated openings by 2020 in the Louisville metro area alone — that Mr. Gopal is reaching out to new groups. Read More ›

Apes Can Be Generous

Are they just like humans then?
If we are to genuinely understand machines, animals, and ourselves, we need to clearly understand that it is the immateriality of human intellect and will—our capacity to think and act abstractly— that makes us radically (i.e. ontologically) different from any animal or machine. Read More ›

Is the octopus a “second genesis of intelligence”?

Can its strange powers provide insights for robotics or the human mind?
What’s really interesting about these stories is that, while we are learning that there is much intelligence in the animal (and plant) world, including some that can be applied to robotics, very little sheds light on explicitly human intelligence. Read More ›
George Montañez

What is learning anyway?

Machine learning specialist George Montañez reflects on the question in a video excerpt from the CNAI gala
Can we make approximations that are so close to ourselves that the fact that they are approximations no longer matters? Read More ›