Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryTechnocracy

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Is the Tech Industry Destroying the Free Market?

The internet drifts toward monopoly control due, in part, to its structure, not merely due to tech moguls’ plans

One potential solution could be the rise of edge computing, which distributes all data as close to the edge as possible.

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Science Fiction Minimalist Cube Maze Modern Fantasy

1984 is 70 years old yet still feels current

Did Orwell prove a better techno-prophet than Huxley did in Brave New World?

In 1949, Huxley thought he was closer to the mark than his former student Orwell was. Later generations have tussled over the question, with revealing results.

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Schattenspiel

Who Started the War on Reason Anyway?

Steven Poole calls the numerous books purporting to show that humans are not reasoning creatures a “scientised version of original sin”

As he shows in his survey of the literature, the underlying assumptions about human behavior are often wrong or questionable.

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“Brilliant Vision” from a Century Ago Foretells Today’s Internet

In E. M. Forster's dystopia, people interact only through the Machine

In a wholly materialist environment, science and other disciplines have, by preference, ceased to explore anything but their own ideas.

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Social Media Censorship? Governments Weigh the Options

The United States may be going in the opposite direction from other Western countries
Social media monopolies may welcome an opportunity to avoid difficult issues by tacitly encouraging strict censorship of national platforms, along whatever lines a government prefers (the China model, if you like). Read More ›
Adobe Stock Censorship peace cage Adobe Stock 22001967
Adobe Stock Censorship peace cage Adobe Stock 22001967

Jordan Peterson to Found New Free Speech Platform

Thinkspot is being developed as a free speech alternative to Facebook, YouTube, and Patreon

His proposal coincides with several recent Big Social Media decisions that have raised eyebrows.

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In 2018, Sci-Fi Phoned the Seventies, It Seems…

…for high-tech overpopulation scares. How else to explain Avengers’ Thanos?, asks Eric Holloway
In last year’s Avengers movie Infinity War, the main villain is an alien named Thanos who kills half the population on each planet, to enable sustainability. Read More ›
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Dark, poorly lit corridor with locked bays

Philosopher: Gloom and doom over AI is “silly”

Jay Richards thinks that historian Yuval Noah Harari is wrong to think that AI will necessarily subvert democracy

The idea that machines are capable of replacing us is the topic of many books he has read but, he argues, the thing that really distinguishes us is the capacity for developing creative freedom.

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Digital binary brain illustrating big data and artificial intelligence

How Artificial Intelligence Shapes Our Language

Culture critic Mark Steyn reflects on the Matrix and the red pill, which seems to be everywhere
If communication relies so much on a few pop-culture references, it’s “an undoubted achievement” that The Matrix created one of them. Read More ›
Aerial view of Harare

China’s AI Package for Africa Includes Mass Surveillance Technology

Africa sees development aid; China sees an expanding African database
Freedom House ranks China at 14/100 and Zimbabwe 30/100 in terms of freedoms. So it is not likely that Zimbabwe will become more free by cooperating with China to increase surveillance, even if the effort reduces crime, as hoped. Read More ›
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1973 Computer Program: The World Will End in 2040

Jonathan Bartlett offers some thoughts on a frantic, bizarre - but instructive - computer-driven prediction

Viewers may find the attitudes to experts and to computers shown in the video both quaint and disturbing. For that reason, the video is a helpful reminder of the limits of both.

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Blurred lights coming from above

Silicon Valley’s Strange, Apocalyptic Cult

Key Valley figures hope to beat death the transhumanist way. Oh, by the way, YOU are doomed

Everything has a history, including Silicon Valley. According to a new media theorist, an influential Valley philosophy might underlie the current attitudes, values, and beliefs: There is a Silicon Valley religion, and it’s one that doesn’t particularly care for people — at least not in our present form. Technologists may pretend to be led by a utilitarian, computational logic devoid of superstition, but make no mistake: There is a prophetic belief system embedded in the technologies and business plans coming out of Google, Uber, Facebook, and Amazon, among others. Douglas Rushkoff, “The Anti-Human Religion of Silicon Valley” at Medium In an excerpt from his new book, Team Human (2019), Rushkoff traces the history to a post-Cold War collaboration centered on Read More ›

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How Did Twitter Become a “Virus of the Mind”?

A libertarian law professor reflects on the poisonous atmosphere and proposed remedies

Using engineering terminology, he makes the point that, whereas the blogosphere has been a loosely coupled system where craziness in one venue had little impact on another, new social media are tightly coupled systems, prone to maximal disruption

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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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George Gilder seated before speech at book launch

George Gilder: Why Does Google Seem To Be Having a Corporate Nervous Breakdown?

Gilder tells Forbes that its whole culture is “kind of self-defeating and wrong.”

"This whole business of aggregating people by giving them free stuff—in order to collect data to provide guidance for advertisers—it’s just a circuitous means of a business plan that I don’t think will finally prevail."

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Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip
Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip

Are we risking a planetary AI intelligence explosion?

Or are our problems with AI the usual boring stuff we prefer to avoid?

Mind Matters News asked some of our house computer science experts for comment.

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Search

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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Masque joie et tristesse
Dramatic masks, crying and smiling

If Social Robots Could Cry, They’d Need Plenty of Tissues For This One

The spate of recent failures of social robot firms prompts a question: Are developers listening to markets?

It’s safe to say that most human beings alive today would not want a high level of emotional involvement with a robot.

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Man's back with doctor

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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