Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategorySocial Factors

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Swarm Printing: Are AI Robots Tomorrow’s Construction Workers?

Robotic swarms specially adapted to operate in austere environments could be useful responses to natural and manmade disasters

While many traditional construction jobs will be lost, others will be created. Someone will need to design, build, service, and repair the robots.

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Autopilot Is NOT Just Another Word for “Asleep at the Wheel”

As a recent fatal accident in Florida shows, even sober, attentive drivers often put too much trust into Tesla’s Autopilot system, with disastrous results

Like all tools, AI systems, when used correctly, can augment our abilities, but they are nowhere near replacing us. And we endanger ourselves, and others, when we believe they can.

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Google’s “Civil War” Is a First For the Big Tech Industry

Not the sort of first to rejoice market analysts’ hearts

If a recent longform article at Fortune is any guide, tech philosopher George Gilder was onto something when he told Steve Forbes recently that the whole Google culture is “kind of self-defeating and wrong.”

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Beyond the Google Search

Today's search technology may provide us with an "answer" we did not work for and won't remember

While a search engine or online encyclopedia may be a convenient first resort, you should see it as merely a starting point. From there, you can turn to other resources, either online or in person.

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What It Really Takes to Build a High-Tech Company, Sell It, and Get Rich

Inventor and entrepreneur Hal Philipp offers a rewarding but cautionary true story

The road to the success that Hal Philipp enjoys today was laced with landmines. When money starts rolling in, entrepreneurs must expect lawsuits. But perseverance and a strong character won the day. 

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Scientists’ Definition of Life Excludes AI, but Includes Embryos

A sophisticated AI machine would certainly be worth a lot of money but it has no more moral worth than a broken toaster

Speaking of moral value, the professors’ proposed definition would certainly include the earliest human embryos, their status as “human life” often denied by those who wish to justify their wanton destruction or casual instrumental use as natural resources.

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Need Cash Fast? Just Pretend That You Wrote Software

Tesla is not the first company to announce software it hasn’t written, but it is indeed the most brazen

Software engineers call imaginary products “vaporware.” And if the tag fits, it wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla has marketed an illusion.

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News from the Real World of Self-Driving Taxis: Not Yet

WayMo includes a human in all their “robotaxis,” just in case, because the vehicles (at last report) were still confounded by common conditions

Hype serves no one other than the early investors hoping to get their cash back. Calm evaluations—and an appreciation for the amazing beings that humans are—would serve all of us much better than overpromised claims that are doomed to under deliver.

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Will AI Teach Us to Love Big Brother?

A trend watcher fears that we’ll accept total surveillance if it controls crime and addiction

If China becomes the dominant world power through total control, David Mattin argues, it will erode the Western world’s governing myth that liberal democracy is the best system.

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Screws, bolts and nuts on metal background

Identity Politics Goes High Tech

Does high tech simply cater to tribalism or make it worse?

The simmering controversy sometimes explodes into serious charges. For example, The Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a Fair Housing Act complaint against Facebook for targeting customers in a way that may constitute discrimination.

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George Gilder talks at CNAI Dallas Launch

George Gilder: Google Does Not Believe in Life After Google

He offers chilling insight into the ultimate visions of technocrats

If the surveillance technology developed for China catches on in the West, however numberless the Googlers' infinite parallel universes may be, Americans will be constantly and closely observed while sitting behind on the beach.

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Are Tesla’s Robot Taxis a Phantom Fleet?

Jonathan Bartlett suspects that a dire quarterly report is powering the fleet, not genuine innovation

Self-driving car entrepreneur Elon Musk is nothing, if not ambitious. Earlier this week, he promised to have a million robot taxis on the road by next year, taking dead aim at Uber and Lyft. But responses have changed in recent years from Wow! To “Oh. Really?”

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Why AI Won’t Replace Your Doctor

Most analysts think that AI can improve medical care but cannot replace human judgement in painful situations

It’s not so much that electronic systems make errors as that they make errors that health care staff can’t anticipate and correct for—errors that occur in complex machinery, not errors made by experienced professionals.

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New Evangelical Statement on AI is Balanced and Well-Informed

The signers are clearly (and rightly) skeptical that computers can become conscious moral agents

Too much of the debate over AI is dictated by prior metaphysical commitments that are rarely examined. This Evangelical Statement is a welcome contrast because it makes the theological issues explicit.

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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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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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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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