Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Why Your Computer Will Never Talk to You

As a jokester recently demonstrated, even “shirts without stripes” is a fundamental, unsolvable problem for computers

At first, “shirts without stripes” might not seem like much of an issue but it turns out that many important and interesting problems for computers fundamentally reduce to this “halting problem.” And understanding human language is one of these problems.

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Sick girl lying on the hospital bed and her mom kiss to support.

Can People in Comas Have Abstract Thoughts?

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor discusses how we might test for that ability

In the recent podcast, “Michael Egnor on Whether People in Comas Can Think,” Robert J. Marks raised an interesting point with Egnor: Can people in comas think abstractly or do they form thoughts only at a much more basic level, given how physically distressed they are? The answer might surprise you.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Asian business woman talking to her colleagues about plan in video conference. Multiethnic business team using computer for a online meeting in video call. Group of people smart working from home..

Online Conferences, Part 3: Conference Documents and Technology Tests

Before we go live, what documents should we provide? What tests should we do?

Coordinating online events requires several important documents. Four packets of information are absolutely critical to running an online conference well.

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Online Conferences, Part 2: Conference Personnel

How the people who make it happen work their magic

Understanding various roles like Room Host and Master of Ceremonies, and finding the right people for them, will go a long way to making the conference a success.

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Two female women medical doctors looking at x-rays in a hospital.

Is AI really better than physicians at diagnosis?

The British Medical Journal found a serious problem with the studies

Of 83 studies of the performance of the Deep Learning algorithm on diagnostic images, only two had been randomized, as is recommended, to prevent bias in interpretation.

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Photo by Gabriel Benois

Online Conferences, Part 1: Conference Technology

The COVID-19 crisis has sparked a demand for online conferences. Here’s how to make it work

The COVID-19 response has plunged many people who have never used online meeting software into the world of virtual meetings. One challenge that comes up is running an entire conference online. I’ve been doing that on and off since 2016 so I can outline some things you need to think about if you try. This three-part series covers 1) Conference Technology (below), 2) Conference Personnel, and 3) Conference Documents and Technology Tests. Part 1. Conference Technology Most of the meetings I have organized were on a tight budget so the solutions I will be suggesting are all free or extremely low cost. However, the main thing to recognize is that, as of right now, no one system has everything that…