Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Human brain with an implanted chip.

What Will Elon Musk’s Neuralink Really Change, If It Catches On

Neuralink’s computer chip implants may help restore function in people with motor or sensory disabilities

Finishing the third and final podcast of the series, “Unity of Consciousness,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks and Angus Menuge, professor and chair of philosophy at Concordia University, had a look at entrepreneur Elon Musk’s implanted brain chip venture, the Neuralink: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Angus-Menuge-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 14:28 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Let me end our discussion together by asking you an outlier question. Elon Musk is developing something called Neuralink. It’s a chip which goes into the brain. Its immediate application is going to be for those that are handicapped. It is going to allow them communicate directly to objects that they can’t control normally because of their handicap.…

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honey bees on honeycomb in apiary in summertime

Can Uplift, a “Hive Mind” Chatbot, Solve Your Business Problems?

Eric Holloway sees the “Uplift” concept as a classic example of “Soylent AI” — borrowing the underlying idea from the classic sci-fi thriller, Soylent Green

That’s the claim, forwarded to us by a reader: Uplift is a collective intelligence research project (as well as an instance of an mASI System), in part with the goal of Uplifting humanity through digital transformation, collective intelligence, and governance. From complete automation, technology to outpace your competition, corporate and organizational e-governance. Michael Diverde, “A Unique Machine Intelligence” at The Human Machine Collective Intelligence Research Project (April 15, 2021) According to the Use Case provided, There are preliminary studies (Kelley) that show that AI-supported collective intelligence systems outperform human intellect across the board. Even a group of highly intelligent humans who trained together as a team and performed above the human standard were outpaced by a group of average humans…

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Cells under a microscope. Cell division. Cellular Therapy. 3d illustration on a dark background

Why Don’t Changes to Our Bodies Create a Different Consciousness?

The sense of consciousness remains single and united despite ceaseless bodily change

In the third podcast of the “Unity of Consciousness” series, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews Angus Menuge, professor and chair of philosophy at Concordia University, on unique features of human consciousness, including the question of why there really can’t be two of you. But Dr. Marks asks one final question: If consciousness is simply generated by the body, as materialists think, why don’t changes to our bodies create different consciousnesses? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Angus-Menuge-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 11:06 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: There are cells that change quite a lot. And then there are cells that don’t change a lot, for example, neurons. That is, you keep the same neurons.…

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There But For Fortune

Life in the Plural: If There Were Two of You, Would “You” Exist?

According to philosopher Angus Menuge, there can’t be two of you, because two things cannot be one thing.

In the third podcast of the series, “Unity of Consciousness,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews Angus Menuge, professor and chair of philosophy at Concordia University, on unique features of human consciousness, including the fact that our experiences are a unity, which has prompted some interesting thought experiments, for example those of Richard Swinburne. But here’s another one: What if there really were two of you? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Angus-Menuge-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 06:49 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: What is the idea of “too many thinkers” in philosophy? Angus Menuge (pictured): The simple view of personal identity is that your soul or your mind is always you. That’s a dualist view.…

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Double exposure. A curly-haired brunette is standing in the doorway of the theater. Poster events, personality psychology. Cloak and reincarnation. Fasting alcoholic fears. Bifurcation. Made in camera

Why Do We Stay the Same Person Over Time? Why Not Split Up?

It would be a total fluke if all the different clouds of atoms that produce your brain would always produce the same consciousness. But they do

In the third podcast of the series, “Unity of Consciousness,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews Angus Menuge, professor and chair of philosophy at Concordia University, on unique features of human consciousness, including the fact that our experiences are a unity, despite being scattered across many brain regions and even if our brains are split in half: But now let’s do some thought experiments, as proposed by Oxford philosopher Richard Swinburne: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Angus-Menuge-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 04:55 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Angus Menuge: There’s another problem raised by [philosopher] Richard Swinburne: He imagines that he’s going to have an operation where each of his cerebral hemispheres is placed in another person. So…

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Happy family enjoying picnic

Mystery: Our Brains Divide Up Events But We Experience Them Whole

That’s one of the conundrums of consciousness

In the third podcast of the series, “Unity of Consciousness,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews Angus Menuge, professor and chair of philosophy at Concordia University, on some of the unique features of human consciousness, starting with its unity. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Angus-Menuge-Episode-3-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 01:04 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: We hear of “Dr. Jekyll–Mr. Hyde” dual personalities but most of us only have one consciousness. What is the so-called unity of consciousness? It’s an area in philosophy, is that right? Angus Menuge (pictured): Going back a very long way. It’s mentioned by Plato and Aristotle, and later on by Kant… We can have many experiences concurrently. So when you…

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3D rendering of female robot looking sad.

Can We Apply Tests for Consciousness to Artificial Intelligence?

A robot could be programmed to say Ow! and withdraw its hand from a hot object. But did it feel anything?

In Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks’s second podcast with philosopher Angus Menuge, where the big topic is the perennial “Hard Problem of consciousness, they established that one of the implications of quantum mechanics is that consciousness is a “thing”; it exists in its own right. How can we apply that finding to claims for artificial intelligence? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-134-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 25:33 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks (pictured): Here is the big AI question: I know that I am conscious. Is there a way we can test for consciousness in others? And if we can, could we apply this test of consciousness in others to artificial intelligence? Can I test…

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Quantum particle, quantum mechanics

Can a Materialist Consciousness Theory Survive Quantum Mechanics?

Quantum mechanics requires that the observer be part of the measurement; thus quantum measurements must include consciousness

In Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks’s second podcast with philosopher Angus Menuge, where the big topic is the perennial “Hard Problem of consciousness, one of the questions was whether quantum mechanics can help decipher consciousness. But that leads to another question: Can any materialist view of consciousness survive quantum mechanics? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-134-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 22:35 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Is quantum consciousness rooted in materialism? Can you look at quantum consciousness and say, this is materialistic? Angus Menuge: That’s a tricky question. For most materialists, their paradigm is really set by older 19th-century views of physical science. By definition, this goes beyond that. However, if one defines materialism…

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Light rays through the black window. Toned photo

Can LSD Help Us Understand the Mind–Brain Relationship?

Is the mind generated by the brain or does the brain merely focus the mind on the current scene? An experiment sheds some light

In a fascinating article inThe Guardian titled “Acid test: scientists show how LSD opens doors of perception,” science editor Ian Sample discusses recent research on the mechanism by which LSD alters the brain and the mind. He begins by quoting Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) who noted that LSD “lowers the efficiency of the brain as an instrument for focusing the mind on the problems of life.” Remarkably, recent work in neuroscience supports Huxley’s view. The research, conducted at Cornell University, confirms what has been called the Rebus model of psychedelics. Rebus is a rough acronym for “relaxed beliefs under psychedelics”; the model proposes that the brain is essentially a prediction engine for daily life. In this model, the brain processes information…

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in the dzhokang temple

Why the Chinese Communist Party Feels It Must Destroy Religion

Persecution of religious groups is not based on what they actually teach but on whether their separate existence could pose a threat to the Communist Party

The U.S. Department of State’s just-released 2020 Annual Report on the state of religious freedom around the world devotes 136 pages to China. That’s because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses an extensive network of surveillance cameras coupled with facial recognition software — as well as cell phone tracking, internet and message monitoring, and biometric profiling — to persecute adherents of non-state-sanctioned organizations. Advances in collecting and storage of massive amounts of data to be sifted by algorithms have made this possible. In 2020, according to the report, the CCP used the COVID-19 pandemic to suppress religion through monitoring house church locations, shutting down online services, and creating bureaucratic barriers to opening buildings for worship. Through this “stability maintenance program,”…

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Spherical energetic quantum bubble

Can Quantum Mechanics Help Decipher Consciousness? Free Will?

Nobel laureate Roger Penrose, among others, looked to the quantum world for models

In Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks’s second podcast with philosopher Angus Menuge, the big topic is the perennial “Hard Problem of consciousness and various proposed solutions. One of the questions that oftem\n comes up is quantum consciousness. Earlier, they had discussed Integrated Information Theory (IIT) and panpsychism. But now, what about recent Nobelist Roger Penrose’s approach: quantum consciousness? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-134-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 18:22 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks (pictured): Okay. Another model of consciousness of which I am aware is so-called quantum consciousness. I’m really interested in this because reading the works of Roger Penrose, he maintains that humans can do non-algorithmic things. And he looked around at the…

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shout abstrat illusion background. 3D Illustration

Panpsychism Is, in Angus Menuge’s View, a Desperate Move

But he thinks it is worth keeping an eye on as an understandable reaction to materialism

In Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks’s second podcast with philosopher Angus Menuge, the big topic is the perennial “Hard Problem of consciousness and various proposed solutions. Last time, they talked about the surprisingly large philosophical problem created by a concept like “red.” This time, they talk about whether Integrated Information Theory (IIT) and panpsychism in general are a way out of the dead end of naturalism. That is, if our science hypothesis is that consciousness is just an illusion, then we don’t — and can’t — have a hypothesis. There must be a better solution than that: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-134-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 10:35 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Okay. Let’s…

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Information technology background. Network business infographics. it computer technology concept.

It From Bit: What Did John Archibald Wheeler Get Right—and Wrong?

In a chapter in a forthcoming book, William Dembski explores the strengths and weaknesses of Wheeler’s perspective that the universe is, at bottom, information

In his chapter in a forthcoming book, Mind and Matter: Modern Dualism, Idealism and the Empirical Sciences (Discovery Institute Press), information theorist William Dembski looks at the ways physicist John Archibald Wheeler (1911–2008, pictured) changed our understanding of reality. What did Wheeler, an early atomic bomb theorist who coined the terms “black hole” and “wormhole,” get right? What did he get wrong? Wheeler is probably best known for a catchphrase, “it from bit,” introduced in a 1989 paper where he explains, It from bit symbolises the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom — at a very deep bottom, in most instances — an immaterial source and explanation; that what we call reality arises in the…

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Paint can and brush on red background, top view

Angus Menuge Explains Why “Red” Is Such a Problem in Philosophy

“Red” is an example of qualia, concepts we can experience that have no physical existence otherwise

In philosopher Angus Menuge‘s second podcast with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, the big topic is the perennial Hard Problem of consciousness and various proposed solutions. Menuge, who is chair of philosophy at Concordia University, talks about some of the ways consciousness is hard to pin down and why it doesn’t follow the rules we might expect in a fully material universe: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-134-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 01:01 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks (pictured): There is a lot of research happening in modeling consciousness. Panpsychism, quantum consciousness, and integrated information theory (IIT) are examples of consciousness models that have been getting a lot of press and visibility lately… So first,…

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Robot vs man. Human humanoid robot work with laptops at desk.

Will Humans Ever Be Fully Replaceable by AI? Part 3

Data outlines what can be quantified but does not show the comparison between AI and human performance at the most important points

To get the right answer to the question of whether artificial intelligence will ever become capable of replacing man we must get the ontology, epistemology, and metrology right. Ontology seeks to understand the essential nature of things and the relationships between different things. Epistemology looks at what we can know and how accurately we can know what is knowable. Finally, metrology explores how we make measurements and comparisons. To get the right answer we must measure the right things (ontology), select what we will measure (epistemology), and determine how we make our measurements and comparisons with accuracy, precision, and repeatability (metrology). Mistakes in any of these areas will lead to a bad outcome. A common mistake is to measure what…

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3D rendering of a bunch of laughing emojis surrounding one angry

“Sentiment Analysis”? Why Not Just ASK People What They Think?

My computer science professor always told me,”Never solve a problem you can eliminate.”

AI researchers are trying to develop algorithms that pick up on cues within a written text that reveal the writer’s emotional state (sentiment analysis). Recently, Mind Matters News reported on a new algorithm for processing sarcasm in social media posts — a good example of trying to infer sentiment from text. My computer science professor always told me,”Never solve a problem you can eliminate.” It seems to me that a lot of machine sentiment analysis can be bypassed by simply asking the users to report their feelings when writing the posts. That may seem obvious but, these days, obvious answers are in short supply. Many people insist on finding the most complicated way to solve problems. Asking a user for…

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double exposure of the Passion of the Christ

The Brain Prosperity Gospel: Can “Neurotheology” Be Real Science?

The study of the neuroscience of mental states, including religious belief, is a reasonable pursuit but neurotheology, as a science, faces huge obstacles

Neurotheology is the study of the neuroscience associated with spiritual experience. It is a growing field. In a recent essay, Andrew Newberg, a prominent researcher, discusses recent advances: The field of neurotheology continues to expand from its early origins several decades ago to the present day. In its simplest definition, neurotheology refers to the field of scholarship that seeks to understand the relationship between the brain and our religious and spiritual selves. As I always like to say, it is important to consider both sides of neurotheology very broadly. Thus, the “neuro” side includes brain imaging, psychology, neurology, medicine, and even anthropology. And the “theology” side includes theology itself, but also various aspects related to religious beliefs, attitudes, practices, and…

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Education and maths concept

Will AI Change — or Eliminate — the Mind-Body Problem?

Can an artificial intelligence program that calculates really understand mathematics? Or is that a “hard ceiling” for AI?

In last week’s podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed Concordia University philosopher Angus Menuge on the difficult mind–body problem: Dr. Menuge sees mind–body interaction as a transmission of information between two realms; our minds and bodies are one integrated system with a translation function… like developing and then writing down an idea. But what about artificial intelligence? We are told that artificial general intelligence (AGI) is now pushing towards a machine that can totally duplicate the functions of the human mind. But what if the mind is not simply a mechanical function of the brain? What if it is non-algorithmic and non-computable? This portion begins at 29:04 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow.…

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scientific publication

Inside the Economics of Science Papers

Here’s an inside look at who pays if you read for free

When a scholarly paper is published, someone has to pay. Publishers like Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), my professional society, and Springer charge big bucks to read their papers. The fees are billed to individual subscribers and, more commonly, to companies and universities who want to give their employees access to the papers. My own university, Baylor, like most research universities, has a considerable library budget on account of these publisher fees. There is growing pressure to kill these fees in favor of “open access” to scholarly papers. Thus, anyone can read a scholarly paper at any time for free. Free access takes the money from the pockets of publishers so they push back. Someone has to pay,…

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Podiatry Chiropody Foot Medical Stubbed Toe Ingrown Toenail

How Would Angus Menuge Resolve the Mind–Body Problem?

From his background in computer science, he sees mind–body interaction as a transmission of information between two realms

In last week’s podcast, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed Concordia University philosopher Angus Menuge on the difficult mind–body problem: What, exactly, is the connection between wanting a drink of milk and carrying out the actions that produce one? Wants are immaterial but they connect with material things. How? In an earlier post, we looked at Dr. Menuge’s account of how various philosophers have approached this problem. Dr. Marks then asked him, What is your take? Where do you fall in these different models? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-133-Angus-Menuge.mp3 This portion begins at 22:31 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Angus Menuge (pictured): I think there is some truth to substance dualism, although I don’t myself entirely like…