Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategorySocial Factors

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Can a stuffed toy turn into a robot?

Maybe to amuse a sick child? With the right skin, yes.
Robotic skins were developed at Yale for possible uses in space flight or search-and-rescue. But animating ordinary bendable objects is surely a fun way to introduce the idea. Read More ›
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George Gilder talks tech at World News Daily

In a three-part interview the tech philosopher explains why he thinks Google is doomed
“The Google dream is a supermind in the sky that knows everything,” Gilder told WND. “My dream is to distribute information as human minds are distributed.” Read More ›
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Google is collecting data on schoolkids

Some say it’s okay because the firm supplies a lot of free software and hardware to schools
Many parents may not be content to let matters rest there; they might prefer to pay taxes for school equipment and have less surveillance in our lives overall. Read More ›
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Will AI triumph?

Will that phone end up smarter than your kid?
If so, it might not happen in quite the way we are told to fear. U.S. kids spend more than two hours a day looking at screens "perform worse on memory, language and thinking tests than kids who spend less time in front of a device. Read More ›
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Inner peace: Is there software for that?

Tech billionaire funds neuroscience in a search for the secret of contentment
His approach to neuroscience is very different from that of the Dalai Lama, who facilitates neuroscience research to better understand contemplation as a path to inner peace. Chen’s focus is more on developing virtual reality. Read More ›
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The Hills Go High Tech

An American community finding its way in the new digital economy
At present, says Hochschild, Ankur Gopal and Interapt are sourcing as many new hillbillies as they can find: “For now, there is so much demand for I.T. workers — 10,000 estimated openings by 2020 in the Louisville metro area alone — that Mr. Gopal is reaching out to new groups. Read More ›
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Digital dictatorship?

China’s “social credit” system coming under scrutiny
It is not clear that most Chinese people understand the implications yet but many in the industry do. As of September 16, over 1400 Google employees had signed a letter of protest against Google’s involvement in Chinese censorship.   Read More ›
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Does digitization threaten science?

It enables new abuses, according to a Cambridge nanoscientist
The problem is not digitization as such, of course, but the mindset that it inadvertently encourages. Sometimes, for example, “citation rings” agree to cite each other’s papers so as to artificially inflate their rankings. Sometimes it graduates to “citation stacking” Read More ›
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Maybe iGen really IS fragile

Did social media's troll frenzies trigger the campus war on ideas?
Twenty-four-year-old fashion blogger Scarlett Dixon  posted a picture of herself having breakfast, “looking flawless on a freshly made bed flanked by heart-shaped helium balloons.” The orcs burst suddenly through the virtual gate. Read More ›
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Is the future of jobs over?

Should people be paid to let machines do the work?
Recently, there have been short-term limited experiments with a Universal Basic Income but it’s hard to evaluate a transformative social policy with such limited and cherry-picked data. And, says Richards, paying people not to work would simply slow their move into the job markets of the digital age. Read More ›
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Coconuts go high tech

Plastics from coconut waste offer economic benefit to poor farmers from crop waste
One of Walter Bradley’s longstanding goals as an engineer and materials scientist has been to harness advanced materials technology to help the world’s poor, most of whom are poor farmers. Read More ›
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The true cost of “free” social media

It’s free but… are we? George Gilder points a way forward.
He thinks that expected massive increases in computing power will enable blockchain technologies that allow users to safely bypass the global data monopoly that Google and similar firms represent. Read More ›
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Senior Google scientist quits over Google’s censorship in China

He believes it “contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights”
Some believe that any censorship system that a human being can develop can somehow be got around by another human being. China may provide a way of testing that.   Read More ›
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How Bitcoin Works: The social value of trust

The idea of employing such a game to guarantee validity in a trustless environment is nothing short of groundbreaking. It is an amazing accomplishment, and I am impressed by it more each time I think about it. However, it does have some drawbacks, which, I think, will ultimately lead to its demise. Read More ›
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Twitter doesn’t just seem out of control

It actually is.
Social media may be changing the world more than we think. And we may need some social leadership in fighting back against Twitter mobs. It probably won’t emerge from within because bullies are usually cowards. Read More ›
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Google branches out into politics

Unfortunately, the only political model it would likely know is: One-party state
The unchallenged manipulation of search engine results during elections is a new phenomenon made possible by the domination of the internet by a few big players. Read More ›