Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryPhilosophy of Mind

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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 ›

Artificial intelligence and mind backdrop

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.

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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 ›
Artificial intelligence and mind backdrop

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 ›