Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryPhilosophy of Mind

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Could Information Be — at Long Last — the Missing Dark Matter?

Materialist thinkers may need to see information as material, whether that approach fits information or not

There is no evidence that information is dark matter or that consciousness is physical but materialists understandably long for evidence that would make their theory more viable.

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robot work on microscope

Will an AI Win a Nobel Prize for Science All by Itself One Day?

No, but Support Vector Machines (SVMs) can allow scientists to frame questions so that a comprehensible answer is more likely

AI can certainly help scientists. But to understand why AI can’t do science on its own, we should take a look at the NP-Hard Problem in computer science. The “Hard” is in the name of the problem for a reason… 

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Why Would Philosophers Deny That Consciousness Is Real?

Because, says computer scientist Bernardo Kastrup, the materialism they are committed to makes no sense and that’s the best they can do

A Dutch computer scientist and philosopher who has reflected deeply on the mind–matter problem finds himself asking, how can serious scientists or philosophers convince themselves that their own consciousness “doesn’t exist” or is a “mistaken construct”? What, exactly, is thinking the thought that their consciousness doesn’t exist? I want to understand what makes the consciousness of an intelligent human being deny its own existence with a straight face. For I find this denial extremely puzzling for both philosophical and psychological reasons. Don’t get me wrong, the motivation behind the denial is obvious enough: it is to tackle a vexing problem by magically wishing it out of existence. As a matter of fact, the ‘whoa-factor’ of this magic gets eliminativists and Read More ›

Photo by Bret Kavanaugh

Yes, Split Brains Are Weird, But Not the Way You Think

Scientists who dismiss consciousness and free will ignore the fact that the higher faculties of the mind cannot be split even by splitting the brain in half

Patients after split-brain surgery are not split people. They feel the same, act the same, and think the same, for all intents and purposes. Materialists like Jerry Coyne focus on subtle differences and distort the big picture.

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Panorama starry landscape. Panorama of the universe. Planet and stars rise.

Scientific American Explores Panpsychism… Respectfully

This is a major change. At one time, a science mag would merely ridicule the idea of a conscious universe

Make no mistake, panpsychism—as Goff elucidates it—is a purely naturalist view (“nothing supernatural or spiritual”). But, unlike the village atheist, he goes on to ask, but then what is nature? Matter is all there is? But what is matter? It turns out, no one really knows.

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Futuristic Robot Arm Touches Human Hand in Humanity and Artificial Intelligence Unifying Gesture. Conscious Technology Meets Humanity. Concept Inspired by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam

Can Machines Be Given Consciousness?

A prominent researcher in consciousness studies offers reasons for doubt

Two theories of human consciousness are about to be tested in a historic contest. Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness and rival Global Workspace Theory (GWT) have sharply different implications for consciousness in machines.

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Man caressing a tame black fox

Tame Animals, Not Wild Ones, Are Mysterious

A recent discovery about tame foxes sheds some light but deepens the larger mystery

New research puts us back where we started. The foxes are tame. But why are they tame? Other foxes are decidedly not tame. Why is it so easy to “tame” dogs and cats but not wolves and bobcats? 

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What Did the Computer Learn in the Chinese Room? Nothing.

Computers don’t “understand” things and they can’t handle ambiguity, says Robert J. Marks

Larry L. Linenschmidt interviews Robert J. Marks on the difference between performing a task and understanding the task, as explained in philosopher John Searle’s famous “Chinese Room” thought experiment.

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Photo by Daniil Kuželev

Researchers: Our Conscious Visual Perception Lies Outside Our Visual Cortex

They concluded that the end step of perceiving where objects are occurs in the frontal lobes, a finding they describe as “radical”

A major consequence of the advance of modern neuroscience is that we now “know” so much less than we used to. But what we do know points us in promising research directions.

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Photo by NeONBRAND

Why Materialism Fails as a Science-Based Philosophy

I don’t believe that either panpsychism or cosmopsychism is true. But I have some sympathy with people who hold those views

There is no doubt that consciousness is a fundamental property of animal and human existence. As philosopher Philip Goff notes, a philosophy like materialism that cannot plausibly account for it cannot be correct.

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Face made of shiny metal cubes. Looking Down.3d render

2019 AI Hype Countdown #5: Transhumanism never grows old

The idea that we can upload our brains to computers to avoid death shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the differences between types of thinking

Computers are very effective but they operate with a very limited set of causal abilities. Humans work from an entirely different set of causal abilities. Uploading your brain to a computer is not a question of technology. It can’t work in principle.

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Usb charging port in woman's neck, cyborg woman concept.

2019 AI Hype Countdown #10: Sophia the Robot Still Gives “Interviews”

In other news, few popular media ask critical questions

As a humanoid robot, Sophia certainly represents some impressive engineering. It is sad that the engineering fronts ridiculous claims about the state of AI, using partially scripted interactions as if they were real communication.

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Zen garden stones on sand with pattern, top view. Meditation and harmony

Yes, Consciousness Is Real But That’s Not the Half of It

Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci ends up skating deftly around the main problems

Those who would understand immaterial realities like consciousness should not speak so disrespectfully of dualism as Dr. Pigliucci does.

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Computer algorithm productivity efficiency, cyber security concepts

Why we don’t think like computers

If we thought like computers, we would repeat package directions over and over again unless someone told us to stop

Robert J. Marks: We have a number of aspects that we exhibit that are not algorithmic. I would say, qualia, creativity, sentience, consciousness are probably things that you cannot write a computer program to simulate.

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Tetris blocks concept of building and problem solving

Playing Tetris Shows That True AI Is Impossible

Here’s a look inside my brain that will show you why

The intensity of my mental processing brought about an observable brain state. The causality did not go in the other direction; the magenta brain state did not increase my conscious process. This type of observation causes a problem for those hoping to duplicate human intelligence in a computer program.

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Arrangement mit Zitrusfrüchten, citrus fruits

How Can Mind Interact with Matter?

Nature itself provides examples of how the immaterial interacts with the material

Nature is pervaded by immaterial forms like chirality that determine the properties of matter. This interaction is well recognized in science. It is in this sense that spirit and matter can and do interact.

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Does the Bible Talk About Near-Death Experiences?

Walter Bradley points to an incident in the life of the apostle Paul in the New Testament that sounds like a near-death experience

Paul's remarkable vision, described in 2 Corinthians 12:2, could well have been a near-death experience. He was once stoned and assumed to be dead, his body abandoned outside city walls. But he revived. 

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A man going through the dark old tunnel. Tunnel with traffic lights and a silhouette of a man

What If a Near-Death Experience Is a Vision of Hell?

Oddly, even distressing near-death experiences have had positive effects, say researchers

One researcher observes at Psychology Today that the strongest predictor of a successful suicide attempt is a previous failed suicide attempt—unless the person has had a near-death experience, in which case further suicide attempts are unlikely.

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Robot's body

Would You Want Immortal Life as a Cyborg?

Would you give up your right arm for a robotic device that performs better? Think about it

Transhumanism can mean uploading one’s mind into cyberspace. But some transhumanists hope to slowly morph into “immortal cyborgs” with endlessly replaceable parts. Five years ago, we were told, we were all turning into cyborgs: Did you recently welcome a child into the world? Congratulations! An upstanding responsible parent such as yourself is surely doing all you can to prepare your little one for all the pitfalls life has in store. However, thanks to technology, children born in 2014 may face a far different set of issues than you ever had to. And we’re not talking about simply learning to master a new generation of digital doohickeys, we’re talking about living in a world in which the very definition of “human” Read More ›

Social media Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash 6lcT2kRPvnI

So Many Selfies, So Little Self

The collage of images on social media so often doesn’t add up to a single self

Consider the way in which the phrase: “That’s your truth— my truth is different,” has expanded in scope. It’s now: “That’s your truth—my truth, right now, and on this social media platform, is different!”

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