Get the FREE DIGITAL BOOK: The Case for Killer Robots
Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

Tag___longform

concept-of-future-technology-5g-network-wireless-systems-and-internet-of-things-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
concept of future technology 5G network wireless systems and internet of things

Valley Insider Peter Thiel’s Comments Last Year Proved Prophetic

China’s recent takeover of Hong Kong and the campus Cancel Culture spotlight his warnings for our culture’s future in the age of 5G

Peter Thiel, who spoke by interactive video to the COSM conference last October, is probably the most remarkable of the Silicon Valley insiders. A fuller version of his discussions with tech philosopher George Gilder has just been released. What makes Thiel (think PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX) unique is that he so much contradicts the Valley stereotype and is certainly not afraid to tell the Valley its faults. In fact, he moved down to Los Angeles in 2018, fed up with the Valley as a one-party state. He suggested in 2019 that Google be investigated for treason for refusing to work with the Pentagon but helping the Chinese military. Most of the time, though, Thiel prefers Read More ›

iron-chain-and-castle-on-the-silk-national-flag-of-hong-kong-with-beautiful-folds-the-concept-of-a-ban-on-tourism-political-repression-crime-violation-of-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-citizens-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
iron chain and castle on the silk national flag of Hong Kong with beautiful folds, the concept of a ban on tourism, political repression, crime, violation of the rights and freedoms of citizens

Hong Kong: Tech Companies Face Serious Ethical Decisions

As Hong Kong is transformed into a police state, Western companies, faced with demands for snitching on users, are rethinking cozy relationships with China

The semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong is no longer semi-autonomous, at least in practice. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), circumventing Hong Kong’s parliament and courts, passed the Hong Kong National Security Law on June 30 that effectively abolishes the “one country, two systems” regime outlined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The law was passed one day before the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China (July 1, 1997), in time to quash any pro-democracy candidates who would likely win in the September elections. Although the CCP justifies its moves from the Hong Kong Basic Law and claims that Hong Kong will maintain autonomy, in practice, it has already arrested dissidents and formed a secretive agency called the Office Read More ›

Phone-Screen-for-Hel-modified
Phone-Screen-for-Hel-modified

China’s Health Code App: One More Way to Track Citizens

For the Chinese Communist Party, SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus) has provided an opportunity to expand its massive surveillance system. The current extensive network of facial recognition cameras has left some gaps. People could avoid recognition, for example, by wearing a face covering to curb the spread of a respiratory illness. Now, China is looking to fill those gaps by keeping the Alipay Health Code app, launched at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a mainstay for its citizens: Compared to omnipresent facial recognition software and other surveillance systems in China, the health code mechanism covers more people and collects a broader range of personal information. The state can also impose stricter control as people now have to use health codes Read More ›

Line-of-Actual-Control-public-domain
Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) Between Trees Looks Up and to Right Winter - captive animal

The Age of the Wolf Warrior: China’s Post-Pandemic Strategy

The younger diplomats take their cue from a Chinese Rambo-style movie and the rewritten history they learned at school

While countries around the world have been dealing with the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), China has claimed disputed areas in the South China Sea, taken over the Hong Kong government, and flown planes over Taiwan. One result was a standoff between warships from the U.S., Australia, and China. A 2016 international tribunal in The Hague ruled that China has no legal sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. China, saying that the ruling was void, claims areas that are also claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, and Japan. The Chinese Liberation Army has also increased the number of troops at its border with India (the Line of Actual Control) disputed since the Sino-Indian war in 1962 (below Read More ›

group-of-urban-runners-running-on-the-street-in-new-york-city-conceptual-series-about-sport-and-fitness-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
Group of urban runners running on the street in New york city, conceptual series about sport and fitness

Why Information Theory Is Like a Good Run

Information theory can help us understand a wide range of fields besides computers

Information theory is a deep field that is responsible for our modern internet and satellite TV. The field was pioneered by Claude Shannon to measure our ability to communicate meaning. But besides powering the information revolution, information theory is also very widely applicable elsewhere. Once you understand the basic intuition, you can see applications popping up all over the place. To prove the point, I’ll show how we can apply information theory to gain insight in the very low tech world of running. I’ve been running off and on for many years and I’ve noticed that information theory describes a good run. First of all, what is a good run? A good run is when your body feels as if Read More ›

walnut-split-on-a-white-background-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
walnut split on a white background

My Right Hemisphere Is An Atheist! No, Wait …

In reality, split-brain surgery does not split consciousness in any meaningful sense

The atheist neuroscientist who has made bizarre claims about the outcomes of split brain surgery appears not to know much about neurosurgery.

Read More ›
bright-light-at-the-end-of-the-dark-spooky-coridor-concept-of-near-death-experience-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
Bright light at the end of the dark spooky coridor. Concept of near death experience

Neuroscience Can’t Dismiss Near Death Experiences

It’s sobering to note that neuroscience has utterly failed to explain how the brain and mind relate

Despite claims, NDEs are radically different from any mental experience caused by brain impairment.

Read More ›
couple-of-two-seniors-or-mature-people-walking-in-the-airport-going-to-their-gate-and-take-their-flight-wearing-medical-mask-to-prevent-virus-like-coronavirus-or-covid-19-carrying-luggage-or-trolley-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
couple of two seniors or mature people walking in the airport going to their gate and take their flight wearing medical mask to prevent virus like coronavirus or covid-19 - carrying luggage or trolley

Ten Ways COVID-19 Will Change Your Next Air Trip

You’ll still get there but it definitely won’t be half the fun

On board, the plane will be cleaner but also leaner. Expect to wear a mask and snack before you go.

Read More ›
medical-statistics-and-graphic-charts-with-stethoscope-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
medical statistics and graphic charts with stethoscope

Making Sense of the Numbers Behind COVID-19

Media and politicians put statistics before us to sway our opinions. But what do they really mean?

Numbers can frighten or enlighten. The secret is making them explain themselves. Here’s a quick primer.

Read More ›
economist-table-with-report-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
economist table with report

What, Exactly, Do Economists Do?

Economist make the world a better place

Thanks to economists, during the economic crisis that began in 2007, the President, Congress, and Federal Reserve did not repeat the errors of the 1930s.

Read More ›
close-up-view-of-the-difference-engine-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
Close-up view of the Difference Engine

Lovelace: The Programmer Who Spooked Alan Turing

Ada Lovelace understood her mentor Charles Babbage’s plans for his new Analytical Engine and was better than he at explaining what it could do

Turing thought that computers could be got to think. Thus he had to address Lovelace’s objection from a century earlier, that they could not be creative.

Read More ›
cryptocurrency-equipment-mining-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
cryptocurrency equipment mining

Data Mining: A Plague, Not a Cure

It is tempting to believe that patterns are unusual and their discovery meaningful; in large data sets, patterns are inevitable and generally meaningless

Findings patterns in data is easy. Finding meaningful patterns that have a logical basis and can be used to make accurate predictions is elusive. We can see this from 18th-century attempts to cure scurvy through 21st century claims about the stock market or history.

Read More ›
if-then-logic-statement-written-in-white-chalk-on-a-black-chalkboard-isolated-on-white-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpg
If Then logic statement written in white chalk on a black chalkboard isolated on white

Gödel and God: A Surprising History

A thought-provoking account of master logician Gödel’s largely unknown proof of the existence of God

In an unsanitized, politically incorrect (but factual) history, Selmer Bringsjord talks about how the tormented genius Kurt Gödel took up a quest that dated back a thousand years to prove the existence of God by formal logic. His original version didn’t quite work but his editor’s version passed an important logic test.

Read More ›
lightning-in-the-dark-stockpack-unsplash.jpg
Lightning in the dark

Should AI Hold Patents? The Flash-of-Genius Answer

To understand why AI cannot independently invent, let’s look at how famous inventors have actually done it

Like Excel, AI assists programmers in their design work. AI can search through trillions of possibilities, using data from a million sources, to find a successful design. But the structure of the search and the source of the data is the choice of the programmer. A look at how famous inventors developed products that changed the world sheds some light on the process.

Read More ›
eye-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpeg
eye

Why Is Science Growing Comfortable with Panpsychism (“Everything Is Conscious”)?

At one time, the idea that “everything is conscious” was the stuff of jokes. Not any more, it seems

A recent article at New Scientist treats panpsychism as a serious idea in science. That’s thanks to the growing popularity of neuroscientist Giulio Tonioni’s Integrated Information Theory (IIT), which offers the opportunity for mathematical modeling, along with the implication that inanimate matter and/or the universe may be conscious. If IIT continues to gain a sympathetic hearing, panpsychism could become, over time, a part of normal science.

Read More ›
covid-19-coronavirus-in-china-renminbi-yuan-money-bill-with-face-mask-covid-global-stock-market-world-economy-hit-by-corona-virus-outbreak-financial-crisis-and-coronavirus-pandemic-concept-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpeg
COVID-19 coronavirus in China, renminbi yuan money bill with face mask. COVID global stock market. World economy hit by corona virus outbreak. Financial crisis and coronavirus pandemic concept.

COVID-19: Getting to the Bottom of What Happened in China

China knowingly violated the terms of a World Health Organization (WHO) disclosure agreement

It is widely recognized that medical professionals and journalists in China are being silenced if they publish any information about COVID-19 that contradicts the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s official narrative. But now mainland Chinese scientists must ensure that their research publications also toe the CCP party line. If we sift carefully, however, we can uncover real information.

Read More ›
digital-mind-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpeg
Digital mind

Why Our Minds Can’t Really Be Uploaded to Computers

The basic problem is that human minds aren’t “computable.” Peter and Jane are not bits and bytes

The underlying problem with creating immortality by uploading our minds to computers is that people are conscious and even the most sophisticated foreseeable computers are not. And we are not at all sure what consciousness even IS.

Read More ›
robot-and-human-cooperating-in-jigsaw-puzzle-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpeg
Robot and human cooperating in jigsaw puzzle

Thinking Machines? Has the Lovelace Test Been Passed?

Surprising results do not equate to creativity. Is there such a thing as machine creativity?

The feats of machines like AlphaGo are due to superior computational power, not to creativity at originating new ideas. Computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord sees the ability to write, say, a novel of ideas as a more realistic test of human vs. computer achievement.

Read More ›
the-poetry-of-love-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpeg
The poetry of Love

Thinking Machines? The Lovelace Test Raises the Stakes

The Turing test has had a free ride in science media for far too long, says an AI expert

In the view of Rensselaer philosopher and computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord, the iconic Turing test for human-like intelligence in computers is inadequate and easily gamed. Merely sounding enough like a human to fool people does not establish human-like intelligence. He proposes the much more challenging Lovelace test, based on an observation from computer pioneer Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) that true creativity is what distinguishes humans from machines.

Read More ›
sick-mature-woman-lying-in-bed-stockpack-adobe-stock.jpeg
Sick mature woman lying in bed

Can Loved Ones in a Coma Hear Us?

Modern brain imaging studies show that very often they can. And, with help from new technology, they can answer us too

Pioneering research using brain imaging (fMRI) over the last fifteen years has shown that, even in deep coma, people can hear, understand, and respond. It’s no longer just anecdotes from caregivers. The controversial Terri Schiavo case might be decided very differently today.

Read More ›