Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryReligion

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.

Read More ›
Businessman forecasting a crystal ball

2019 AI Hype Countdown #2: Big Data Is Our Crystal Ball!

The biggest problem is that human behavior is not as predictable as the models imply

Many models are ridiculously simplistic, making the results worse than worthless. They become a way of solidifying biases.

Read More ›
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.

Read More ›
sport cyclisme velo tour de France

I Am Giving Up Cycling

It’s just not worth it if a machine can beat me

It’s not that I cannot cycle or that I don’t like to or that I’m not good at it (for a human). But just the other day, as I pedaled along, I was passed by a motorcycle. Its speed was incredible! I appeared to be pedaling in place as the machine zoomed into the distance. In that moment, it became all too clear that my days as a meaningful human were ending. The machine was my better. Okay. That is not true. I am not going to quit cycling. And, being passed by a motorcycle—a machine we built purposely to go faster than anything our two legs can achieve—is not a meaningful measure of my prowess as a cyclist. Many Read More ›

Web banner abstract smooth round pebbles sea texture background

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. 

Read More ›
asian business woman in a heated discussion

How Tech Savvy Helps Hong Kong Hold Off China

Several other factors help, including spirituality and a sense of unique identity as Hongkongers

The stakes are high. Hongkongers have been energized by the dramatic recent win for democracy at the polls. But so have the police.

Read More ›
Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism - illustration

Transhumanism—Is It a Dangerous Idea?

Some Silicon Valley greats hope to merge with machines to live forever. But what then?

The late philosopher Jerry Fodor (1935—2017) said that the reason “we’re all materialists” is that the alternatives seem even worse. Transhumanism, had he lived to see it develop, would give him pause for further reflection. 

Read More ›
old tree roots in a green forest

New Research Suggests That Plants Can “Think”

But what does that mean? Clearly not what some people expect

From time immemorial, we have endowed what we find in nature with our own characteristics. That is called mythology. The people who think that salad is murder or beg plants to forgive their sins are not helping the environment; they are incorporating a mythology into their lives

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 ›
COSM-3104

Tech Entrepreneur Peter Thiel says Silicon Valley is losing its touch

Peter Thiel also compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst

About the Big Tech companies, he says, “The story is not that they have done a lot of bad things but that they have not done enough good things. That remains the core challenge of Silicon Valley.”

Read More ›
Mindar Franck V. on Unsplash franck-v-YKW0JjP7rlU-unsplash

Are Robot Pastors the Answer to Religion’s Decline?

Many Christians say no. Some Buddhists say yes. What is expected of the pastor?
Perhaps it comes down to what we believe is the ultimate reality and what we expect from that ultimate reality. Read More ›
Anubis of Ancient Egypt (God of Death). Dark abstract Egyptian background, dark room with smoke, sparks from lights, rays of light.

“Friendly” Artificial Intelligence Would Kill Us

Is that a shocking idea? Let’s follow the logic

We don't want to invent a stupid god who accidentally turns the universe into grey goo or paperclips, But any god we create in our image will be just as incompetent and evil as we are, if not more so. A dilemma!

Read More ›
golden angelic character rising from black liquid. 3d illustration

Do Churches Need a Catechism for Robots?

Are the claims about spiritual robots just an intellectual cottage industry for edgy clergy?

Some people have taken Pope Francis’s musings in recent years to mean pretty much whatever they want them to mean. For example, But Francis’s wide arms have arguably never stretched further than a mass in 2014 when he suggested the church would baptize Martians. “If—for example—tomorrow an expedition of Martians came … and one says, ‘But I want to be baptized!’ What would happen?” Pope Francis asked. “When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way.’” Jonathan Merritt, “Is AI a Threat to Christianity?” at The Atlantic (February 3, 2017) Merritt promptly converts the hypothetical question—which depends, of course, on the assumption that Martians are 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.

Read More ›
Photo by Daniel Olah

Is Google a Cult? Or Does It Just Act That Way?

Project Veritas announces that a new rebel Googler has sent nearly 1000 documents on algorithm bias to the DOJ

While we prepare a news story on Zach Vorhies' revelations, it may be worth asking why one of the world’s largest companies has developed what appears to be the atmosphere of a political cult.

Read More ›
Young man (backpacker, hitchhiker) on the high-speed highway not far from Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in China’s far west

The Internet Doesn’t Free Anyone by Itself

China is testing 100% surveillance on the Uighurs, a strategically critical minority

The Uyghur people in Xinjiang province in northwest China spend their lives in a digital panopticon. Over 2.5 million Muslims are tracked via facial recognition software and cameras, and their cell phone monitored for any language that could be construed as religious. Over a million have been placed in so-called “vocational training centers” that are widely described as detention camps. Even when not detained, they live like prisoners: For Uyghurs in Xinjiang, any kind of contact from a non-Chinese phone number, though not officially illegal, can result in instant arrest. Most Uyghurs in Turkey have been deleted by their families on social media. And many wouldn’t dare try to make contact, for fear Chinese authorities would punish their relatives. Isobel Read More ›

El santuario de Gaea

Our AI Overlords Will Save Earth, Says Prominent Scientist

AlphaGo, the Go-playing computer program, is the start of telepathic superintelligences that will tackle climate change

James Lovelock, both distinguished scientist and founder of the Gaia concept of Earth, need only live to July 26 to be a centenarian. In his new book, co-authored with Bryan Appleyard, he sees the Go-playing computer program AlphaGo as the start of a new type of life that will save the planet, as he told New Scientist recently: Specifically, about the new AI overlords: In his new book Novacene, James Lovelock says the creation of AlphaGo was the start of a new kingdom of life that will create and think for itself. He’s optimistic that this new kingdom of life will want to keep us around like we keep plants in gardens. “James Lovelock says artificial intelligence is the start Read More ›

Image of earth with different times against green vignette

How Do We Know Our Universe Is Not a Sim World?

It’s an interesting idea, say Bradley fellows, but for a number of reasons, it is not credible

The computer sim universe seems to be a way of dealing with the massive evidence of the fine-tuning of our universe without invoking traditional philosophy or religion.

Read More ›
Vehicle heading into sunset Forrest Cavale 1739 Unsplash

True Believer Loses Faith in Fully Self-Driving Cars

Levandowski sees the future—and it is tech aids for safer driving

Fully autonomous vehicles—aka self-driving cars—are a techno-utopian fantasy that stands little to no chance of realization in the coming decades. The industry is slowly starting to separate that fantasy from achievable reality.

Read More ›