Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryPhilosophy of Mind

human brain dissection

An Oxford Neuroscientist Explains Mind vs. Brain

Sharon Dirckx explains the fallacies of materialism and the logical and scientific strengths of dualism

It’s good to see a growing response to the materialist superstition about the mind and the brain from the neuroscience and philosophy community.

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Intellectual property, new idea, psychology or brainstorm concept. Creativity, innovation and inspiration. Energy consumption. Light bulb on blackboard with thought bubble.

The Brain: Junkyard, Watch, or Antenna?

A warped genius reviews the options, as he seeks ultimate power - a tale

After many dead ends, Flim realized that all forms of human power are ultimately controlled by the human mind. Thus, if he could harness the power of the mind, he would finally be able to create anything his heart could desire.

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peacock with open tail and female

Did Consciousness Evolve to Find Love?

It’s an attractive idea but it comes with a hidden price tag

If consciousness is a mere tool of human sexual selection, it is mere plumage, a pretty enticement, of no meaning or import otherwise. But then what becomes of Dr. Graziano’s own intellectual labors?

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Abstract.

Did Consciousness “Evolve”?

One neuroscientist doesn’t seem to understand the problems the idea raises

Darwinian evolution must select physical attributes. If consciousness evolved as a mere byproduct of physical brain processes, it is powerless in itself. Thus Graziano's theories of consciousness are themselves mindless accidents.

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Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger

Neuroscientist Michael Graziano Should Meet the P-Zombie

To understand consciousness, we need to establish what it is not before we create any more new theories

A p-zombie (a philosopher’s thought experiment) behaves exactly like a human being but has no first-person (subjective) experience. The meat robot violates no physical principles. Yet we KNOW we are not p-zombies. Think what that means.

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what will you choose? Fresh healthy berries come out from the bowl or junk potato fries from paper box

Can Free Will Really Be a Scientific Idea?

Yes, if we look at it from the perspective of information theory
It is possible to empirically distinguish an entity with free will from an entity that runs according to chance and necessity alone, while staying entirely within the methodology of modern science. Read More ›
Shovel Annie Spratt Unsplash annie-spratt-j4fV6dKT9tw-unsplash

Do We Need To Learn from AI How To Think Better?

No, and a moment’s thought shows why not
AI can become our "collaborators" only in the sense that a shovel can collaborate with me to dig a hole: It amplifies my powers to do things which are otherwise difficult. Read More ›
Silent reading Jilbert Ebrahimi Unsplash -HAwA1N2gjo8

AlterEgo Does Not Read Your Mind

What it really does may surprise you but many claims made for it are deceptive
AlterEgo may prove invaluable for applications like helping the severely handicapped by using muscle movements that are usually unnoticed. But despite headlines and publicity claiming otherwise, it provides no technical stride forward in the field of AI-brain interface. Read More ›
Near death experience Andrew Charney Unsplash 4gP2EKPlU1Q-unsplash

Near-Death Experiences Are More Real Than Some of the Research

At Scientific American, we learn of an analysis that tries to link them to recreational drug highs, based only on language use

The scientific “method” of inferring a common biological cause of the experiences by analyzing the language used to describe them is junk science. One may as well infer that lung cancer and tuberculosis have a common cause because sufferers from both diseases report cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss.

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Buddhist monks are walking on temple in mist sunset,Thailand

Tibetan Monks Can Change Their Metabolism

Far from disproving it, science has documented it

For decades, a default assumption was that claims that meditating monks in the Buddhist tradition could greatly raise their temperature or slow their metabolism were assumed to be exaggerations that would yield to a scientific explanation. The scientific explanation turned out to be that they can do exactly that.

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Sport and travel memory photos on a table

Do We Actually Remember Everything?

Neuroscience evidence suggests that our real problem isn’t with remembering things but finding our memories when we need them

One of a pioneer neurosurgeon’s cases featured a patient who could, unaccountably, speak ancient Greek. The explanation was not occult but it was surely remarkable for what it shows about memory.

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PC displaying brain waves of male patient at lab
Selective focus on a computer recording brain waves of a mature gentleman getting his brain analyzed by an electroencephalography machine.

Was famous old evidence against free will just debunked?

The pattern that was thought to prove free will an illusion may have been noise

The participants in the experiment did not sense that their decision about flexing their fingers mattered, so they went with the flow. But, according to more recent research, the subjective experience of making a decision is not an illusion at all.

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Group of kids walk over high log in the forest
Group of kids walk over high log in the forest finding balance with hands one after another view from bellow

If Computers Are Intelligent, Climbing a Tree Is Flying

That, says Edward Feser, is the take-home message from Gary Smith’s book, The AI Delusion

The book’s message is that “the real danger of artificial intelligence is that it will remain dumber than we are,” but we will think it is smarter.

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Photo by TRΛVELER .
Hammer and nails

Is Technology a Tool or a Tyrant?

A conversation between tech entrepreneurs Jack Ma and Elon Musk outlines some choices

Last week noted U.S. technologist Elon Musk and Alibaba executive Jack Ma engaged in a friendly debate at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. The two agreed on a lot. AI is useful, it isn’t going anywhere, and the technology will continually improve. Where they differed is what it means for us humans. For Ma, technology is a tool for our benefit. In his thinking, our technological future will bring us to a point where the average person need only work a few hours a week. Technology will automate away most of the treacherous or dull tasks and allow us to spend more time being human, engaging in the arts, and engaging with each other. Musk’s view of technology Read More ›

Resting at office

If AI dumbed us down, would we even know?

Silicon Valley pros face the challenges head-on
Does the constant use of machine aids rob us of natural smarts? If not, how are they helping us? Are there ways we can change the mix? Read More ›
Photo by Gilles Lambert
Hands in dark using smartphone

Will we become mere apps of our smart machines?

At COSM, Ray Kurzweil will offer a glimpse of his foreseen Singularity where we merge with superintelligent computers

He believes that the merger will eventually make the whole universe intelligent. Kurzweil’s critics believe that the superintelligent computers he needs can’t exist. If the critics are correct, we have misread the AI revolution.

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White polymer clay sheep gather around an electronic circuit on a blue background

Computers’ Stupidity Makes Them Dangerous

The real danger today is not that computers are smarter than us, but that we think computers are smarter than us

Many marketing decisions, medical diagnoses, and stock trades, loan and job applications, and election strategies are evaluated by computers. But, as my little experiment shows, the computer does not know whether a pattern is information or noise.

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iot machine learning with human and object recognition which use artificial intelligence to measurements ,analytic and identical concept, it invents to classification,estimate,prediction, database

Machines Are Not Really Learning

A bit of machine learning history helps us see why
Go talk to a neighbor or a friend. You’ve just done something that Deep Learning can’t do. Worse, it can’t even learn because that’s not a narrow, well-defined problem. Read More ›
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Computer user analyzing images on a scree

Sorry, AI can’t do our thinking for us

J. C. Derrick asked Robert J. Marks whether AI can outthink people or make humans immortal
Creativity, Marks argues, can only exist if the programmer places it in the computer program, which means that the program itself is not creative. People have tried "a bunch of different things and nothing seems to work. They can’t get smarter programs that way." Read More ›
Bottlenose Dolphin NASA public domain

Dolphinese: The Idea That Animals Think As We Do Dies Hard

But first it can lead us down strange paths
Down one of them, some researchers met a dolphin. Unfortunately for the dolphin. Read More ›