Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryPhilosophy of Mind

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How to hack your unconscious mind

Assuming it exists
Those who tell us that we can learn to use our unconscious mind and those who tell us that it doesn’t exist both claim to speak for science. But this is no ordinary dispute. An ordinary dispute might be something like What killed the dinosaurs? Imagine instead a dispute between scientists who do and scientists who do not believe that dinosaurs have ever existed. Read More ›
Little girl undergoing electroencephalography procedure

Attend your own funeral!

It’s easy if you upload your consciousness to the cloud, says futurist
Presumably, in Ian Pearson's future, the rich can attend their own funerals and alternate world funerals an indefinite number of times, each one numbering as many different people as he wants. Read More ›
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Can free will even be an illusion?

Michael Egnor reiterates the freeing implications of quantum indeterminacy

Many say so. For example, at Cosmos, senior artificial intelligence research scientist Alfredo Metere explains, … there is a causal relationship between the Big Bang and us. In other words, free will is not allowed, and all of our actions are just a mere consequence of that first event. Such a view is known as “determinism”, or “super-determinism” (if one finds it productive to reinvent the wheel). He asserts that today we know the universe to be chaotic. Because the cosmos is clearly chaotic, we can observe time-reversibility only locally, rather than globally. This in turn means that free will is an inevitable illusion for us humans, due to our subjective perception of the universe, rather than its innermost nature. Read More ›

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Robot priests: And you thought “robotic religion” was just a pointed criticism… ?

You know, rote prayers, mindless gestures… Is that the way of the future for some?

Reuters announced last year that in Japan, a robot can be hired to perform Buddhist funeral rites: A Japanese company has introduced a new role for SoftBank’s humanoid robot “Pepper” – a Buddhist priest for hire at funerals. … With Japan’s population ageing and shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, prompting some to find part-time work outside their temple duties, said Michio Inamura, Nissei’s executive adviser. The funeral robot could step in when a priest was not available, he said. It also cost less at 50,000 yen (about $450) per funeral compared to more than 240,000 yen ($2,200) for a human priest. More.   As of August 2017, the robot priest had not yet been Read More ›

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Reconciling mind with materialism, twenty-five years on

Jerry Fodor posits that the reason "we're all materialists" is the alternatives seem even worse
Thinking of philosophical materialism as a science must have seemed like a step forward at the time. Over twenty-five years later, there have been dozens of theories of consciousness jostling for the podium, most of them “worse than wrong,” even in the eyes of a sympathetic observer (2016). Not only has the materialist approach failed but in recent years, its failure has brought serious intellectual figures round to such views as consciousness is an illusion or that everything is conscious. Read More ›
Dr. Michael Egnor, M.D.

Neurosurgeon outlines why machines can’t think

The hallmark of human thought is meaning, and the hallmark of computation is indifference to meaning.
A cornerstone of the development of artificial intelligence is the pervasive assumption that machines can, or will, think. Watson, a question-answering computer, beats the best Jeopardy players, and anyone who plays chess has had the humiliation of being beaten by a chess engine. Does this mean that computers can think as well as (or better than) humans think? Read More ›
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Why “Mind Matters” Matter

Mind Matters is a podcast and a news and commentary site where “artificial and natural intelligence meet head-on.” That’s a great slogan, but what does it mean? As your host for the podcast part of the site, I thought I’d take advantage of my role to talk you about some of our exciting plans for both the podcast and the online journal (the latter to be edited by science journalist Denyse O’Leary). Here’s a quick run-down: Topics Mind Matters will track the latest developments in applied AI and technology. How will AI continue to augment human performance and abilities? What are the latest innovations of AI? And how does AI affect you? How is AI applied in pricing your admission Read More ›