Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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AI as the Artful Dodger

Watch what happens when I train a neural network on portraits of 56 famous scientists, starting the process with a right eye
New AI is much more sophisticated but the old and new AI share the property that the final result is nothing more than an interpolation of the training images used to train the AI. Read More ›
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Autopilot Is NOT Just Another Word for “Asleep at the Wheel”

As a recent fatal accident in Florida shows, even sober, attentive drivers often put too much trust into Tesla’s Autopilot system, with disastrous results

Like all tools, AI systems, when used correctly, can augment our abilities, but they are nowhere near replacing us. And we endanger ourselves, and others, when we believe they can.

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Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip
Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip

Are we risking a planetary AI intelligence explosion?

Or are our problems with AI the usual boring stuff we prefer to avoid?

Mind Matters News asked some of our house computer science experts for comment.

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Two pilots behind array of flight controls and computers

A Critic of the Evangelical Statement on AI Misunderstands the Issues

On the question of moral responsibility, Dr. Swamidass seems to misunderstand the Statement entirely

Rather than lacking insight into AI issues, this band of theologians is especially sagacious in applying theology to them.

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What It Really Takes to Build a High-Tech Company, Sell It, and Get Rich

Inventor and entrepreneur Hal Philipp offers a rewarding but cautionary true story

The road to the success that Hal Philipp enjoys today was laced with landmines. When money starts rolling in, entrepreneurs must expect lawsuits. But perseverance and a strong character won the day. 

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Can Physics Prove There Is No Free Will?

No, but it can make physicists incoherent when they write about free will

It’s hilarious. Sabine Hossenfelder misses the irony that she insists that people “change their minds” by accepting her assertion that they… can’t change their minds. 

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Legos and toys for assembly

Computers Are No Smarter Than Tinkertoys

Philosopher: You may as well believe that Penn and Teller really do magic

Philosopher Ed Feser wrote a great post recently on why it is irrational to believe that artificial intelligence is really intelligent. He begins with Arthur C. Clarke’s famous observation that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Clarke’s assertion, he points out, can be taken two ways: people can be fooled into thinking that advanced technology is magic and, as a metaphysical assertion, that advanced technology really is magic. He defends the first assertion and, of course, denies the second: There are, however, many people who believe a claim that is analogous to, and as silly as, the metaphysical thesis that sufficiently advanced technology really is magic — namely the claim that a machine running a sufficiently advanced computer Read More ›

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George Gilder talks at CNAI Dallas Launch

George Gilder: Google Does Not Believe in Life After Google

He offers chilling insight into the ultimate visions of technocrats

If the surveillance technology developed for China catches on in the West, however numberless the Googlers' infinite parallel universes may be, Americans will be constantly and closely observed while sitting behind on the beach.

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Astonishing Windup Robots Still Work, Centuries Later

New science discoveries prompted our ancestors to ask, how much can we make them do?

Eighteenth-century Swiss watchmaker Pierre Jaquet-Droz (1721–1790) is remembered today for his workshop's “humanoid automata” or robots, the Draftsman, the Musician, and the Writer.

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chinese worker assembling production at line conveyor in china factory

Does Automation Target Women’s Jobs?

The assumption that women need special protection from robots underestimates their creativity and versatility

A number of studies have come to the conclusion that automation will hit women harder than men. Some proposed fixes assume that women who lose repetitive jobs to robots would be happier as administrators or dependents. That’s not clear.

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Why AI Can’t Win Wars As If Wars Were Chess Games

Is Vladimir Putin right? Will whoever leads in AI rule the world? It’s not so simple

Whichever country becomes a leader in the sphere of AI and IA will do well. But whichever countries end up following, mindlessly, the advice of these tools will do so at their own great peril.

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Does Social Ability Distinguish Human Intelligence from That of Apes?

Not altogether, of course, but it plays a bigger role than we sometimes assume

In Becoming Human: A Theory of Ontogeny, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Michael Tomasello tries to understand, from his two decades of research, what makes humans unique. He says that it is not intelligence as such but social intelligence, our “ultra social ability”: One of our most important studies was a huge study we did with over 100 human children and over 100 chimpanzees. We gave them a big battery of tests – a big IQ test if you will. It covered understanding of space, causality, quantities, as well as social learning, communication, reading the intentions of others. We found that 2-year-old children – before they can read or do anything mathematical – look just like the apes on physical Read More ›

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Big Data Can Lie: Simpson’s Paradox

Simpson’s Paradox illustrates the importance of human interpretation of the results of data mining

Simpson’s Paradox illustrates the need for seasoned human experts in the loop to examine and query the results from Big Data. Could AI be written to perform this operation? Those who say yes are appealing to an algorithm-of-the-gaps.

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Petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock, Utah, USA.
Ancient symbols texture, Petroglyphs on Newspaper Rock, Utah, USA.

The Origin of Language Remains Obscure

One problem is that information is not measured in science in a way that relates to matter and energy.

Human language is much more than a system of signals. And two recent articles in Inference Review provide insight into some of its ongoing puzzles in the huge unmapped territory of the interaction between the mind and the brain.

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Does “Alien Hand Syndrome” Show That We Don’t Really Have Free Will?

One woman’s left hand seemed to have a mind of its own. Did it?

Alien hand syndrome doesn’t mean that free will is not real. In fact, it clarifies exactly what free will is and what it isn’t.

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Baylor University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Walter Bradley recalled for the audience at the Dallas launch, November 4, 2018

Walter Bradley: Tell People about AI, not Sci-Fi

His struggle to bring reality to“sci-fi” origin of life research is the Center’s inspiration

The Bradley Center hopes to have a similar effect by promoting more general knowledge of fundamental issues around “thinking computers and the real effects of technology on human well-being.

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Your Phone Is Selling Your Secrets

You’d be shocked to know what it tells people who want your money

Big tech companies have an ambiguous relationship with online invasions of privacy. The companies may be able to make much more money selling information about you than you would pay them to use their medium.

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