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Bingecast: Is Cheese Consumption Causing Deaths from Tangled Sheets?

Those dealing with data must always remember “If you torture data long enough, it will confess to anything.” The answers that computers give must themselves be questioned. Robert J. Marks and Gary Smith address artificial intelligence, spurious correlations, and data research on Mind Matters.

Show Notes

  • 01:34 | Introduction to Gary Smith, the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College
  • 02:40 | The AI Delusion
  • 05:04 | Stocks, Data, and Analysis
  • 07:04 | Presidential campaigns and data analytics
  • 10:53 | Bill Clinton and neural networks
  • 11:28 | IBM Watson and Jeopardy
  • 13:30 | The Winograd Schema Challenge
  • 15:06 | Bob Dylan and IBM Watson
  • 17:00 | Understanding words
  • 19:00 | John Searle’s “Chinese Room” and understanding numbers
  • 20:08 | Following instructions versus understanding. “Is it safe to walk downstairs backwards with your eyes closed?”
  • 21:34 | IBM Watson’s ineffectiveness in health and medicine
  • 24:15 | What is the crux of Watson’s failure?
  • 25:31 | Chamath Palihapitiya’s brutal verdict on Watson
  • 26:28 | “Artificial Intelligence,” the 2017 marketing word of the year
  • 26:57 | The “algorithm of the gaps”
  • 27:39 | Roger Schank and Douglas Hofstadter seeking human thought
  • 28:07 | Solving narrow problems to make money
  • 28:34 | “Climbing a tree to reach the moon”
  • 28:43 | General intelligence, i.e. common sense, the Holy Grail of AI
  • 30:14 | Bob’s thesis: computers can only ever do algorithmic things
  • 31:11 | Skepticism of Edward Leamer, statistician at UCLA
  • 32:03 | Spurious correlations
  • 33:34 | The Smith Test
  • 35:35 | AI is a black box
  • 37:56 | Differentiation between wolves and dogs
  • 38:29 | Fooling face recognition
  • 41:36 | Fooling humans with random data
  • 42:41 | The bigger the data, the more spurious correlations
  • 45:05 | Data mining and the origin of the term “Texas Sharpshooter Fallacies”
  • 46:05 | Fallacy #1: Multiplying targets
  • 47:06 | Drinking coffee and pancreatic cancer
  • 48:30 | The profusion of health studies and claims
  • 50:08 | Fallacy #2: Drawing the target after shooting
  • 51:27 | The pressure in academia to publish or perish
  • 51:43 | A story from J. B. Rhine’s ESP lab
  • 52:59 | Diederik Stapel and fabricated data
  • 53:22 | Spurious correlations in big data
  • 54:14 | John Ioannidis, the “decline effect,” and the status of flawed medical research
  • 55:29 | The health media’s headline clickbait

Additional Resources


Bingecast: Is Cheese Consumption Causing Deaths from Tangled Sheets?