Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Robot hand putting fresh cherry on top of the cupcake

As the Robot Fry Cook Takes Over the Kitchen …

… Jay Richards’ new short “Science Uprising” special dismisses philosophical claims that humans are mere “meat machines”

Science Uprising released an extra feature on Tuesday, following Science Uprising 10, in which philosopher Jay Richards discusses what underlies the myths of artificial intelligence: It isn’t a superior grasp of the technology involved that drives some (Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and others) to warn that AI will achieve superiority over human beings, drive us out of work, and finally out of existence. It’s the hidden premise that humans are just “meat machines” rather than spiritual beings in a creator’s image. If that were true, of course it would follow that other, faster machines would likely overtake and replace us. David Klinghoffer, “Jay Richards: Myths, Metaphysics, and Artificial Intelligence” at Evolution News (October 4, 2022) However it plays out among…

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Concept of employee monitoring by boss

Why AI Employee Tracking Can’t Build a Great Company

Employees, knowing that an AI is tracking them, start filling in boxes instead of creating or innovating for success

Earlier this year, we learned about the best employee tracking software for 2022. (The Head Office can know if you went to the washroom or phoned your dog’s vet … ) Not everyone thinks that total surveillance by management is the best way to get optimum performance: But technology is not a replacement for what good managers do. They pull disparate groups of people together and build camaraderie, share a vision, grow trust, and—over time—create cohesive teams that achieve big goals. They get to know their team members individually and work carefully to set expectations, be supportive, understand context, and give feedback and direction. They take into account the nuance of uniqueness, inherent both in the person and in the…

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A hand in disposable latex glove scanning an orange at a grocery store self-checkout station. People wearing gloves to protect themselves from covid-19 pandemic.

Grocery Giant Sours on Self-Checkouts; Too Much Loss…

Wegmans checked out (for the present) when it couldn’t stem the losses — which they suffered for various reasons perhaps, not just thefts

Recently, we wrote about unsubstantiated accusations of shoplifting at retail self-checkouts — sometimes accompanied by attempted shakedowns. But bigger, more complex issues loom in the background: Self-checkout probably does make theft (along with false accusations of theft) — and various other reasons that unpaid-for items find their way into shopping bags — much easier. So one large retailer, Wegmans, has decided to just forget it for now: “SCAN users have told us they love the app and convenience it offers,” a Wegmans spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “Unfortunately, the losses we are experiencing prevent us from continuing to make it available in its current state.” The grocery chain said the app would remain shut off until it can…

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Concept of robots replacing humans in offices

AI Is Not Taking Away Our Jobs — Because It Can’t Do Them

Robert J. Marks talks with KSCJ talk show host Mark Hahn about HAL 9000 and the opportunities and fundamental limits of AI

In the “Top Gun, HAL 9000, and Jobs of the Future” podcast (September 15, 2022), WBC director Robert J. Marks discusses whether AI is sucking up all our jobs with talk show host Mark Hahn, who can be heard on KSCJ in Sioux City, Iowa. Dr. Marks, author of Non-Computable You is a professor of computer engineering at Baylor University and a pioneer of AI swarm intelligence. This is the second half of the podcast. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-Episode-204-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Mark Hahn: Dr. Marks, artificial intelligence is something that many people have fantasized on a science fiction level; many shows have been about that. Of course, in Space Odyssey 2001, HAL took over, and that’s what…

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Theater, drama and comedy masks with curtains, box office and posters in the background. AI-generated digital painting.

AI vs. Artists?: Here’s What DALL-E 2 Just Can’t Do

Artificial intelligence may be able to create generic images of particular items, but it can’t grasp and convey general concepts, says engineering prof Karl Stephan

(This article by engineering prof Karl D. Stephan originally appeared at Engineering Ethics Blog (August 14, 2022) under the title “AI Illustrator Still Looking for Work: The Shortcomings of DALL-E 2,” and is reprinted with permission.) The field of artificial intelligence has made great strides in the last couple of decades, and any time a new AI breakthrough is announced, critics voice concerns that yet another field of human endeavor has fallen victim to automation and will disappear from the earth when machines replace the people who do it now.  Until recently, the occupation of art illustrator seemed reasonably safe from assault by AI innovations.  Only a human, it seemed, can start with a set of verbal ordinary-language instructions and come…

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robotic vacuum cleaner on laminate wood floor smart cleaning technology

Turns Out, Computers Are Not Vacuuming Up All Our Jobs

Far from it, we can hardly find all the people we need to manage the computers

Let’s start with radiologists: In 2016 Turing Award Winner Geoffrey Hinton advised that “We should stop training radiologists now. It’s just completely obvious that within five years, deep learning is going to do better than radiologists.” Six years later, the number of radiologists has gone up, not down. Researchers have spent billions of dollars working on thousands of radiology image-recognition algorithms that are not as good as human radiologists. Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith, “The right and wrong way to use artificial intelligence” at New York Daily News (August 6, 2022) Technology researcher Jeffrey Funk and business prof Gary Smith could — and probably will — fill a book with examples, some of which they list and link to at…

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Cheerful attractive young female graphic designer smiling and working at her desk in modern office

New OpenAI Art Program Does NOT Claim Copyright for AI

As DALL-E 2, which generates blended images in response to key words, moves into the art world, a key question has just been settled

A case currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals must decide if artificial intelligences should have patent rights on processes they were used to design. Throwing a wrench into the works, OpenAI has announced that artists using its new DALL-E beta software can sell the work: “Starting today, users get full usage rights to commercialize the images they create with DALL·E, including the right to reprint, sell, and merchandise. This includes images they generated during the research preview.” (July 20, 2022) First, here’s what DALL-E can do: Some worry about its impact on jobs in the arts: OpenAI’s press release for DALL-E 2 markets the advanced tech as a “powerful creative tool” that will speed up and inspire the creative…

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Concept of robots replacing humans in offices

Marks: Forget the Hype, “Thinking Machines” Can’t Replace Humans

It’s easy to picture, especially if we don’t know much about computers. And fears are easily exploited. But what are the facts?

Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks gave a talk in January at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith on whether a robot will really take your job: “AI Apocalypse: Will Thinking Machines Replace Humans?” Just released on video: As a computer engineer, Marks looks at the pop culture worry a bit differently from some. His skeptical response has also been captured in a just-published book, Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022). The book makes clear that computers compute. They don’t really do anything that cannot be expressed as a computation. That’s both a strength and a weakness. The ability of an algorithm to sort through billions of online documents in…

Chatbot / Social Bot mit Quellcode im Hintergrund

Google’s Chatbot LaMDA Sounds Human Because — Read the Manual…

What would you expect LaMDA to sound like? Whales? ET? I propose a test: “Human until PROVEN otherwise”

Recently Google employee Blake Lemoine caused a media storm over the LaMDA chatbot he was working on, that he claims is sentient (it feels things like a human being). A heavily edited transcript has been released that shows him and a collaborator having a very coherent conversation with LaMDA. Many have been quick to dismiss his claims about the chatbot’s sentience, accusing the Googler of falling prey to the Eliza effect: anthropomorphizing a probability distribution over words (thus believing that he is talking to a human). The accusation is that Lemoine generated a large number of dialogs, then edited down the exchange to create a coherent narrative. Google placed Lemoine on leave, technically for breaking the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that…

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AI・人工知能

AI: Is Thinking Humanly More Important Than Acting Rationally?

I have documented many examples of GPT-3 AI’s failure to distinguish meaningful from meaningless correlations — and invite readers to contribute their own

The potential power of artificial intelligence (AI) has been touted for more than 60 years though a generally accepted definition is elusive. AI has often been defined in terms of human-like capabilities. In 1960, for example, AI pioneer Herbert Simon, an economics Nobel laureate and Turing Award winner, predicted that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” In 1970 Marvin Minsky, also a Turing Award winner, said that, “In from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.” More recently, in 2015, Mark Zuckerberg said that, “One of our goals for the next five to 10 years is to basically get better…

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Factory closed.Workers stressed that the factory closed. unemployed workers. Industrial and industrial workers concept

A Great Reset Historian Muses on What To Do With “Useless” People

Transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari, a key advisor to the World Economic Forum, thinks free will is “dangerous” and a “myth”

Historian Yuval Noah Harari an advisor to Klaus Schwab, co-author with Thierry Malleret of COVID-19: The Great Reset, and head of the World Economic Forum, had some interesting things to tell the movers and shakers of the world about ordinary people last April: Again, I think the biggest question in maybe in economics and politics of the coming decades will be what to do with all these useless people? The problem is more boredom and how what to do with them and how will they find some sense of meaning in life, when they are basically meaningless, worthless? My best guess, at present is a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for [most]. It’s already happening… I…

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Stock Market Management

Some Economic Models are Alluring, Others are Useful

In some markets, prices are affected by market forces and in others, like the job market, they are not

Statistician George Box is credited with the aphorism, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” Unfortunately, as the brilliant economist Ed Leamer, once quipped, “Economists are like artists. They tend to fall in love with their models.” A large part of the art of economics is distinguishing between attractive models and useful models. The traditional bedrock of economics is the demand-and-supply model. Every introductory economics course explains how demand and supply are related to price and how the equilibrium price is where demand is equal to supply. This can be a very useful model for predicting how changes in demand and supply affect prices and trades — if we make the tempting assumption that the market price is equal…

Stethoscope on computer with test results in Doctor consulting room background and report chart for medical costs in modern hospital on Laptop desk. Healthcare costs business and fees concept.

Would Health Care AI Mean Caregivers Spend More Time on Patients?

Chances are, it will just mean fewer and less qualified caregivers

Pat Baird, regulatory head of global software standards at Philips, recently wrote an article titled, “Can Artificial Intelligence ‘Rehumanize’ Healthcare?” His thesis is that “By lowering administrative burden, AI can increase caregivers’ time spent actually caring for patients.” I will argue that this vision for the contribution of AI to healthcare delivery will not happen due to some very observable forces. A place to begin the analysis is with the funding source for AI in healthcare. AI is bought or developed by healthcare delivery organizations. These organizations are following a business plan and if AI does not provide a business benefit, they will not pay for it. We can conclude that AI in healthcare will be designed and used to…

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Robot arm with a human skull

Lead Us Not Into the Uncanny Valley …

Robert Marks and Gretchen Huizinga discuss whether future developments in artificial intelligence will lead to a better future or a worse one

This is the fourth and final segment of the the recent podcast, “What Does It Mean to Be Human in an Age of Artificial Intelligence?”, featuring Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks and veteran podcaster Gretchen Huizinga. In the first segment, they discussed what AI can and can’t do. In the second segment, they discussed “How did all the AI hype get started?” Then, in the third part, the discussion turned to “Straight talk about killer robots/a>” because Dr. Marks is the author of The Case for Killer Robots. And now we come at last to the Uncanny Valley, where too much AI and robotics risks making everything weird. The entire interview was originally published by Christian think tank,…

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Aerial view over Cupertino in Bay Area, California on a sunny day.

Is It Really the End for Silicon Valley or Just a Reboot?

A COSM 2021 panel looked at the effect of remote work, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, on iconic locations like the Valley

“Is It the End for Silicon Valley?” was one of the discussions at COSM 2021 (2:00 pm, Wednesday, November 11, 2021). It featured Babak Parviz, Vice President of Amazon Inc. but best known as the inventor of Google Glass, who served as moderator Lynne Robinson, mayor of the City of Bellevue Walter Myers III, Principal Engineering Manager at Microsoft, and Bob Metcalfe, Engineer, Entrepreneur, and Professor of Innovation. The conversation turned on whether, in the internet age, one needs to work in any specific locality, like Silicon Valley. Some of their comments relating to where people will live in relation to their work and the problems they will face are transcribed below: Work where you live or live where you…

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Welcoming the Post-Zoom Era

The Zoom era is quickly coming to an end. How should companies re-adjust?

Prior to the pandemic, few outside of technology jobs even knew what Zoom was. Now, everyone is comfortable with video conferencing. However, while the technology works better than ever, I’m starting to sense that people are done with continual video conferencing.  Many people who use Zoom do so on a compulsory basis. They have jobs that require that they Zoom for meetings or they are in classes that require online attendance. Therefore, it is hard to decipher people’s attitudes towards Zoom in those circumstances. They use it because someone told them they must. However, I regularly teach at a homeschooling co-op class. Homeschoolers, especially in Oklahoma, aren’t compelled to do anything that they don’t feel comfortable with. Don’t want to…

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Competition between humans and robots in tug of war concept

Robots Will NOT Steal Our Jobs, Business Analysts Show

Doomsayers typically do not factor in all components of the job that a robot would have to replace or all of the true costs of trying, they say

At Fast Company, data analyst Jeffrey Funk and business prof Gary N. Smith dispute the claim that robots are coming for all our jobs. They point to a history of overblown claims: In 1965, Herbert Simon, who would later be awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics and the Turing Award (the “Nobel Prize of computing”), predicted that “machines will be capable, within 20 years, of doing any work a man can do.” In 1970, Marvin Minsky, who also received the Turing Award, predicted that, “in from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.” The implications for jobs were ominous, but robotic-takeover predictions have been in the air for a…

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T-shirt made in Bangladesh. Customer looking at the origin and import country of a cheap fashion product in clothes store or shop. Ethical consumer behavior. Woman holding label and price tag with tex

What Do Robots Find Hard? Sewing a T-shirt, For One Thing

Humans automatically and constantly adjust hand movements to the ever-changing alignment of cloth. Robots just freeze

Menswear entrepreneur Harris Quinn wrote a thoughtful piece at Wired recently on the mixed success of efforts to automate sewing via Sewbots, for example, developed by SoftWear Automation CEO Palaniswamy Rajan: One reason that sewing lends itself so well to the grinding labor of sweatshops is that it is very difficult to automate. That’s because cloth is pliable and constantly moving. The Sewbots face unexpected hurdles: But no two batches of cotton are exactly alike, often varying from harvest to harvest; variations in the fabric and dyes further complicate matters. Each variation can necessitate recalibrating the system, interrupting operations, and SoftWear has to train its machinery to respond accordingly. “The biggest challenge we have faced getting to a production system…

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senior woman is receiving post from an futuristic robotic delivery service

Don’t Plan Your Career Around Driving a Delivery Van

Or doing a variety of tasks where repetitive movement is the key to success, if Boston Dynamics' robotics are anything to go by

Boston Dynamics is a cutting-edge robotics company that’s spent decades behind closed doors making robots that move in ways we’ve only seen in science fiction films. They occasionally release videos on YouTube of their life-like machines spinning, somersaulting or sprinting, which are greeted with fascination and fear. We’ve been trying, without any luck, to get into Boston Dynamics’ workshop for years, and a few weeks ago they finally agreed to let us in. After working out strict COVID protocols, we went to Massachusetts to see how they make robots do the unimaginable. From the outside, Boston Dynamics headquarters looks pretty normal. Inside, however. it’s anything but. If Willy Wonka made robots, his workshop might look something like this. There are…

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Reflection of a man looking at a help wanted sign in a business window, economy concept

AI vs. the Pandemic: A Hopeful View of the Future of Work

A look at what was predicted and what really happened

In 2019, philosopher Jay Richards offered some thoughts on whether robots would take all our jobs, as widely predicted. In the meantime, the unforeseeable COVID-19 pandemic idled many more people than robots did or could have. But let’s take a look at how well Richards’ reflections in “Creative Freedom, Not Robots, Is The Future Of Work” have fared. Note: Dr. Richards was speaking at the launch of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence in Dallas, Texas on August 18. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-142-Jay-Richards.mp3 A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Richards started by pointing out that vast numbers of pundits were committed to the view that AI and robots will take our jobs: Jay Richards: Let me give…