Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategorySocial Factors

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Astonishing Windup Robots Still Work, Centuries Later

New science discoveries prompted our ancestors to ask, how much can we make them do?

Eighteenth-century Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790) is remembered today for his workshop's “humanoid automata” or robots, the Draftsman, the Musician, and the Writer.

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chinese worker assembling production at line conveyor in china factory

Does Automation Target Women’s Jobs?

The assumption that women need special protection from robots underestimates their creativity and versatility

A number of studies have come to the conclusion that automation will hit women harder than men. Some proposed fixes assume that women who lose repetitive jobs to robots would be happier as administrators or dependents. That’s not clear.

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Can Big Data Game Bestseller Lists?

Intellectual snobbery makes some Bestseller and Top Ten lists an obvious target

The digital era is a golden age for such manipulations because digits on a screen are much easier to fake than feet on the street.

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Jay Richards: Creative Freedom, Not Robots, Is the Future of Work

In an information economy, there will be a place where the human person is at the very center

The Officially Smart people are telling us two scenarios, good and bad, about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), says Jay Richards, a research professor at the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. He disagrees with both.

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Transhumanism, the Lazy Way to Human ‘Improvement’

Transhumanists don’t seem much interested in such real improvements in the human condition. They want quick, easy technological fixes

The transhumanist movement swoons over increasing intelligence. If I had to choose between increasing the intelligence of the human race versus enhancing our capacity to love, the human race would be far better off embracing the latter than the former. There is no brain implant for that.

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I spy AI. And AI spies on me…

The true threat posed by AI is the greatly reduced cost and risk of mass surveillance and manipulation

Some people are quite sure that the world would be a better place if they knew more about our business and policed it better. Mass snooping creeps up unnoticed and becomes a way of life. Then it explodes.

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A Mind Matters Review: Sci-Fi Shorts of the Week

With human input, Sunspring starts to make sense

This week, watch a collaboration between deep learning and human creativity produce something far more coherent than Sunspring. And check out an animation on the pitfalls of emotional intelligence.

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Baylor University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Walter Bradley recalled for the audience at the Dallas launch, November 4, 2018

Walter Bradley: Tell People about AI, not Sci-Fi

His struggle to bring reality to“sci-fi” origin of life research is the Center’s inspiration

The Bradley Center hopes to have a similar effect by promoting more general knowledge of fundamental issues around “thinking computers and the real effects of technology on human well-being.

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Your Phone Is Selling Your Secrets

You’d be shocked to know what it tells people who want your money

Big tech companies have an ambiguous relationship with online invasions of privacy. The companies may be able to make much more money selling information about you than you would pay them to use their medium.

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AI and the Seductive Optics of the Frankenstein Complex

The fact that some AI makes you feel creepy is a part of its success

One of the factors contributing to fear of AI is the Frankenstein Complex.1 The term, coined by sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov2, originally described fear of the “mechanical man” in the science fiction of old. The complex is named for the young scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, protagonist of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus. He stitches human body parts together to create a monster. There is no AI in the story; he brings the monster to life based on an intelligence that was assumed to be resident in biology. “Frankenstein’s monster” later came to be called simply “Frankenstein.” Thomas Edison first filmed the story as a silent movie in 1910 but Boris Karloff’s depiction of the monster in Read More ›

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AI Creates Kitsch, Not Art

And it’s the perfect tool for the job

Creating art begins by fully absorbing what makes art good and then extrapolating outward. AI selectively absorbs and “creates” by remixing what’s left. Thus AI is the perfect kitsch creator

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A Mind Matters Review: AI Week at DUST, the sci-fi short films channel

Films you have time to see and think about

Looking for a good “robots, AI, ‘n sci-fi” fix to round out your weekend? Mind Matters has you covered for animations and shorts. For starters, check out DUST, a YouTube channel dedicated to short sci-fi. Its recent AI WEEK (February 11–18) offered “A collection of curated short films dedicated to artificial intelligence and its connection with humanity.” When I say “short,” I mean that the longest is about 30 min; the others are much shorter. So if you have just a few minutes to kill while downing a bowl of spicy curry ramen, I would recommend giving them a watch. For AI narratives, they’re not as clichéd as you might fear. Sunspring | DUST AI Week Runtime | 8:15 Cleanliness Read More ›

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Are 3-D Virtual Fossils a Boon or a Threat?

Many paleontologists fear losing control of the story

One of the characteristics of information is that, unlike matter and energy, it is not reduced by being shared. And when it is shared, it can generate new information. Of course, some well-sourced new information may contradict earlier ideas or even important beliefs.

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SXSW 2019: Grappling with AI’s immense culture shifts

Panelists Robert J. Marks and Jay Richards spot the human advantage in an AI-driven culture

From homeschooled teens to high-tech entrepreneurs to retired doctors to University of Texas students, Christ Church was full of Austinites trying to understand what the rapid growth of AI technologies means for their future.

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Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines

There is usually a story under those layers of hype but not always the one you thought

When Thomas Sowell was writing his syndicated column on economics, I always looked forward to his sporadically appearing “Random Thoughts on the Passing Scene.” Reminding readers that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I offer my own “Random Thoughts on Recent AI Headlines.”

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Asian smart doctor holding smartphone computer with hand. Surgeon has stethoscopes. concept of medical live in social online.
Asian smart doctor holding smartphone computer with hand. Surgeon has stethoscopes. concept of medical live in social online.

Tech Fail: Man Told He’s Dying via Video Link

The family, who thought that the robotic video cart was just “making a routine visit,” was outraged

The response statement from Kaiser Permanente, acknowledging failure, recognizes the problem, but only in part

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