Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Artificial Intelligence and Transhumanism - illustration

Transhumanism—Is It a Dangerous Idea?

Some Silicon Valley greats hope to merge with machines to live forever. But what then?

The late philosopher Jerry Fodor (1935—2017) said that the reason “we’re all materialists” is that the alternatives seem even worse. Transhumanism, had he lived to see it develop, would give him pause for further reflection. 

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Detail of cyborg eye and robot.3d illustration

But Could Techno-Immortality Ever Be the Real Thing?

Oxford mathematician John Lennox looks at Ray Kurzweil’s techno-immortality from a Christian perspective

In these excerpts from the podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talks with John Lennox about an AI immortality where we are told, for example, that we won’t need tongues because we can tap right into our taste buds.

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Cuboid with Digital Zeros and Ones

How Much Google Do You Really Need?

As more people are becoming concerned about Big Tech’s snooping and apparent political ambitions, practical responses are emerging

Getting away from constant surveillance and dangerous little bubbles of manipulated information is easier than some users may realize, tech pioneers and experts say. You can make simple changes today.

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Hong Kong Protests pleafor peace Erin Song Unsplash B05XahTDS6k

Hong Kong: Face Mask Ban Fuels Fiercer Protest

The masks, like many of the protesters’ strategies, circumvent China’s omnipresent high-tech surveillance

The Chinese government may use violent behavior as a justification for obliterating the Hongkongers’ prized freedoms. As a possible precedent, the Uyghur people, as a whole, were painted as religious extremists, even though only about 1,000 people participated in violent protests.

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Robot holding blank advertising billboard 3d rendering

How You Can Really Know You’re Talking to a Computer

In a lively exchange, computer science experts offer some savvy advice

Claims that a given program has “passed the Turing test” should be treated skeptically because a program can be optimized to pass the Turing test without demonstrating any particular intelligence.

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White cyborg finger about to touch human finger 3D rendering

The Three Laws of Robotics Have Failed the Robots

Almost no one out there thinks that Isaac Asimov's Three Laws could work for truly intelligent AI
Prolific science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) developed the Three Laws of Robotics, in the hope of guarding against potentially dangerous artificial intelligence. Jonathan Bartlett, Brendan Dixon, and Eric Holloway discuss what went wrong. Read More ›
what will you choose? Fresh healthy berries come out from the bowl or junk potato fries from paper box

Can Free Will Really Be a Scientific Idea?

Yes, if we look at it from the perspective of information theory
It is possible to empirically distinguish an entity with free will from an entity that runs according to chance and necessity alone, while staying entirely within the methodology of modern science. Read More ›
concept of self-driving car

Will Industry Pressure Loosen Self-Driving Car Tests?

Right now, the regulatory agency is under pressure to accept the industry’s “softball” testing suggestions
The regulatory agency (NHTSA) needs to adapt. But trusting technical documentation alone or only testing already sold vehicles is grossly insufficient. Technical documentation is what engineers think should happen; it is not the future. And testing sold vehicles creates an incentive to skimp on tests. Read More ›
Hype time concept

The Top Ten AI Hype Stories of 2018, Updated

You can segue to each in the podcast and read the accompanying Mind Matters News story, as well as key updates
2019 has seen some remarkable revelations about Google, DeepMind, Watson, Sophia, and other AI faves. Check them out here! Read More ›
iot machine learning with human and object recognition which use artificial intelligence to measurements ,analytic and identical concept, it invents to classification,estimate,prediction, database

Machines Are Not Really Learning

A bit of machine learning history helps us see why
Go talk to a neighbor or a friend. You’ve just done something that Deep Learning can’t do. Worse, it can’t even learn because that’s not a narrow, well-defined problem. Read More ›
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Prof: Google Must Not Choose the Next President

Robert Epstein, a Clinton supporter in 2016, thinks Big Tech meddling is a risk. And, he says, he isn’t planning on suicide

He doesn’t want Silicon Valley to use its near-monopoly power over search engines and social media to manipulate the information available to the lone voter in the booth.

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Bottlenose Dolphin NASA public domain

Dolphinese: The Idea That Animals Think As We Do Dies Hard

But first it can lead us down strange paths
Down one of them, some researchers met a dolphin. Unfortunately for the dolphin. Read More ›
Herd of African elephants in National Park, Uganda

Elephants Who Fly — or Become “Persons” — Are Magic

Okay, it's impossible. But then why do thinkers who disbelieve the one believe the other?

For decades, researchers were transfixed with the idea of humanizing great apes by raising them among humans and teaching them language. Emerging from the ruins and recriminations of the collapse, philosophy prof Don Ross has a new idea: Let’s start with elephants instead.

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hunters on cave paint digital illustration with notebook

Why Some Scientists Think Science Is an Illusion

It’s a useful illusion, they say, but our brains are not really wired to know the facts

The great triumph of the theory of evolution was to show that humans are just animals in nature—clever, yes, but clever animals. Or so we are told.  But wait!

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Girls eye with paint and earth

Why Some Scientists Believe the Universe Is Conscious

They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

These prominent thinkers are driven to panpsychism because materialism about the mind doesn’t really work. So if panpsychism ends up seeming absurd, dualism—there really is an immaterial world—is also worth considering.

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New Hacking Tactics

Many Parents Ignore Risks of Posting Kids’ Data Online

The lifelong digital footprint, which starts before birth, makes identity theft much easier
The recently discovered “design flaw” in Facebook’s Messenger app, aimed at kids, was a wake-up call. Keeping a child’s data out of the wrong hands is just part of good parenting today. Read More ›