Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryPhilosophy of Mind

Businessman and his conscience

Consciousness: Three New Books, Same Dilemma, Still Fascinating

Consciousness studies are getting markedly crazier, if we go by the traditional standards of science

Rigorous naturalism, taken seriously, brought us to this place where illusion calls to illusion about things that can, by definition, have no meaning. There is no other place naturalism can bring us to.

Read More ›
Quantum computer system. Internet connection. Net system. Modern big data. Magic code. .Techno pattern. Intersect grid. Symmetry lines. Energy blocks. Kaleidoscopic shape. AI. Sci-fi

Google vs. IBM?: Quantum Supremacy Isn’t the Big Fix Anyway

If human thought is a halting oracle, then even quantum computing will not allow us to replicate human intelligence

Google’s quantum supremacy claim is certainly fascinating and controversial, but even if true, it ultimately only amounts to an incremental and even inconsequential improvement in the state of AI and ML, due to the still-unmet need for a halting oracle.

Read More ›
Detail of cyborg eye and robot.3d illustration

But Could Techno-Immortality Ever Be the Real Thing?

Oxford mathematician John Lennox looks at Ray Kurzweil’s techno-immortality from a Christian perspective

In these excerpts from the podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talks with John Lennox about an AI immortality where we are told, for example, that we won’t need tongues because we can tap right into our taste buds.

Read More ›
Digital Neurology

What If Technology Causes Some People to Live Forever?

What would it mean for them and for the rest of us?

The authors also warn, “We can be pretty certain, for instance, that rejuvenation would widen the gap between the rich and poor, and would eventually force us to make decisive calls about resource use, whether to limit the rate of growth of the population, and so forth.”

Read More ›
Working in harmony wth nature concept

Jay Richards: Kurzweil’s Age of Spiritual Machines Is Fiction, like SkyNet

Kurzweil’s vision of computers taking over is “arresting,” Richards admits, but “your mind is running away from you if you think about technology in that way.”

In a recent podcast of ID the Future at the COSM conference in Seattle, Catholic University business studies prof Jay Richards looks at Ray Kurzweil’s “sunny” version of strong AI (computers are smarter than us and will take over but don’t worry), as per his book, The Age of Spiritual Machines (1999) vs. the pessimistic version (“Skynet” wakes up). In a discussion with Andrew McDiarmid, Richards argues the opposite view, namely that human beings possess something beyond the purely material, something even the most powerful computers will never possess. Podcast here. Excerpts: Jay Richards: (08:45) If you are a materialist who thinks we are purely the result of these blind, material processes, you have something to worry about [with computers Read More ›

Accountant secretary retro woman vintage office

Alan Turing’s original “computer” was actually a human being…

But will human beings now be thought of as computers?

We should reflect on how unthinking use of technology can shape us, despite our commitments.

Read More ›
Gorgeous puppy looking on itself in the mirror

Mirror, Mirror, Am I a Self?

Scientists ponder, how would animals show self-awareness?

One controversy in animal psychology centers on whether or not an animal can recognize itself in a mirror. But a number of scientists are beginning to doubt that the mirror test shows animal self-awareness.

Read More ›
Abstract.

Neuroscientist Says Our Souls Are Not Machines

A reviewer notes that Sharon Dirckx makes her case in a way that is easy for the attentive non-specialist reader to understand.

If readers are looking for a book by a writer familiar with the science who does not just adopt the materialist view and then spend two hundred and fifty pages supporting it, Am I Just My Brain? might be a good choice.

Read More ›
COSM-Ray-Kurzweil-screens
Ray Kurzweil presenting via teleconference at COSM 2019

Tech pioneer Ray Kurzweil: We Will Merge with Computers by 2045

For computers, “Even the very best human is just another notch to pass,” he told the COSM Technology Summit

Advocates point to the success of Kurzweil’s past predictions as evidence that his Singularity is indeed Near, as his 2005 book predicts or Nearer, as his forthcoming one (June 2020) does. But questions bubbled to the surface.

Read More ›
Personal development and business idea career concept.

Astrophysicist: Materialism Is on Shaky Ground

Adam Frank ponders the fact that materialism entirely fails to explain consciousness

Frank’s computational research group has developed advanced supercomputer tools to study how stars form and die. So he would incline to a materialist view, surely? But no, he says, quantum physics blew all that away. And some neuroscientists just haven’t caught up.

Read More ›
Profile of a young man with mental activity

Consciousness Is Two Hard Problems, Not One

Psychology prof Gregg Henriques argues, consciousness “plays by a different set of rules than the language game of science”

The James Madison U prof argues, “I believe the differences between the language games or domains of science/behavior and of soul/spirit and morality/ethics are crucial for us to keep in mind as we hunt for a more consilient scientific humanistic philosophy that can guide humanity in the 21st century.”

Read More ›
open door to another world

Computer prof: Computers will never be conscious

Subhash Kak counters the AI boosters with cogent explanations

Dr. Kak points out, "More than 80 years ago, pioneering British computer scientist Alan Turing showed that there was no way ever to prove that any particular computer program could stop on its own – and yet that ability is central to consciousness."

Read More ›
Dolphin portrait while looking at you with open mouth

What Do Animal Studies Tell Us About Human Minds?

They show that human experience is unique

Many people assume that human consciousness arose accidentally many eons ago from animal consciousness and that therefore we can find glimmers of the same sort of consciousness in the minds of animals. But that approach isn’t producing the expected results.

Read More ›
Neurons in brain estas Adobe Stock 214253348

Quest for Consciousness: A Historic Contest Is Announced

The two theories to be tested pit "information processing" against "causal power" as a model of consciousness. One side must admit it is wrong

Consciousness is a slippery concept but the two prominent theories make different predictions as to which part of the brain will become active when a person becomes aware of an image; thus they can be tested by neuroscientists.

Read More ›
Window to the Soul

Oxford Philosopher: Without a Soul, There Is No Self

He presents new philosophical arguments, supported by modern neuroscience, in defense of the soul

Many are inclined to dismiss Swinburne’s approach without thinking very hard. But it is not as if materialists have a big solution that others are stubbornly refusing to acknowledge.

Read More ›
EEG Electroencephalogram, brain wave in awake state with mental activity

Neuroharvest

TruMind engineers had discovered a new science: editing the very fabric of reality. – a tale, from the TruMind serial, part 3

But there was a lingering problem. To power the world’s vacuums and rice cookers, the Craizins had to be at the source of the action: the home. But no one wanted somewhat smelly teenage gamers hulking around in their homes.

Read More ›
Brown Nautilus Shell

What Do the Turing Test and ID Have in Common?

George D. Montañez shows that if a test can detect intelligence in computers, a test could also detect intelligent design in nature

The Turing test for design in computers relies on the same principles as the detection of design in nature. The materialist can have, in principle, no intelligence in either computers or nature or possible intelligence in both. But he can’t pick and choose.

Read More ›
Head of the robot girl

A Type of Reasoning AI Can’t Replace

Abductive reasoning requires creativity, in addition to computation

AI, says William Littlefield, would get stuck in an endless loop with abductive reasoning, which is an inference to the best explanation or an educated guess. But it plays an important role in creating hypotheses in the sciences.

Read More ›
Humanoid Robot Call Center Question
Humanoid robot in a call center with questions in the front of the monitor. 3d illustration.

Can We Engineer Consciousness in a Robot?

One neuroscientist thinks we need only “simple guidelines.” His underlying assumptions are just wrong

Graziano's approach is not new. Ancient philosophers thought the mind was fire (not too long after the discovery of fire). Early modern philosophers thought the mind was a machine (just as the machine age got started). Now suddenly it's a computer… 

Read More ›