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Baseball

This Time, Houston Was Blessed More by Luck Than by Stolen Signs

The victory parade over, let’s look at whether luck had more to do with the Astros’ success than Astro fans want to admit

The Houston Astros are the 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Champion — this time, as far as we know, without relying on electronically stolen pitching signs sent to batters by banging trashcan lids or using buzzers hidden under uniforms. Now that the champagne has popped and the victory parade has been held, let’s consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, luck had more to do with the Astros’ success than Astro fans want to admit. Athletes and fans want to believe that the team that wins the World Series, Super Bowl, or any other championship is the best team that year. The reality is that in every sport — some more than others — outcomes are influenced by good Read More ›

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Coronavirus maps disease 2019 situation update worldwide coronavirus spread,World map Coronavirus or Covid-19 Close-up countries with Covid-19, Covid 19 map confirmed cases report worldwide globally.

Lab Leak Theory: A Biohazard Was First Noted in 2019

The dispatches indicate a “grave and complex situation” prompting an emergency visit from the director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

A US Senate interim report has recently concluded that that “the Covid-19 pandemic was, more likely than not, the result of a research-related incident.” The 35-page report, prepared by the minority oversight staff of the of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), used publicly available documentation to justify the findings. However, it did not include the 236-page report submitted by language expert Toy Reid, who analyzed Chinese Communist Party dispatches between scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and their supervisors in Beijing. Katherine Eban of Vanity Fair and Jeff Kao of ProPublica were given advanced access to the Senate researchers’ documents and spent months conducting their own investigation. They interviewed Reid, talked with members Read More ›

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3D Illustration Roboter Auge

Why Don’t Robots Have Rights? A Lawyer’s Response

Robots are hardware and software packages that lack a nature or any abilities outside of whatever their designers imagine

“Free the Robots!” “Equal Rights for Robots!” Or maybe: “Set Us Robots Free!” Such future protest signs might well pop up in social media, to judge from “Why don’t robots have rights?” (Big Think, October 31, 2022) Writer Jonny Thomson worries that “ future generations will look back aghast at our behavior” when humans can “no longer exploit or mistreat advanced robots” as will presumably be the case in the 21st century. Dig into the article and get techno-whiplashed as Thomson suddenly starts talking about “the 22nd century [when robots] are our friends, colleagues, and gaming partners.” Thomson’s article considers robot rights as analogous to animal rights. The summary asserts: When discussing animal rights and welfare, we often reference two Read More ›

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Hipster breakfast at home

Tech bubble? Our Progress Towards Value to Users Has Slowed…

We should be wary of glowing forecasts when newer technologies don’t offer anywhere near as large benefits

Today’s new technologies, from virtual reality to nuclear fusion have recently received record investments from venture capitalists, but their revenues are not growing as fast as technologies of past decades. Startup losses are unprecedented — far larger than in past decades. Share prices and private valuations have also been collapsing in 2022. Optimists mostly focus on the good news and ignore these facts. They believe that the heavy funding for these new technologies is a good measure of potential and thus any criticism is unjustified. Here is their typical argument: Paul Krugman and other “experts” criticized the Internet, personal computers, and other technologies in their early years. But these technologies succeeded. Therefore, criticisms of the new technologies are unfounded — Read More ›

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Science fiction scene.

Episode 4: The Orville Writers Try Their Hand at Woke Messaging

No, it doesn’t work. In Season 3, the plot gently falls apart

Episode 4 of The Orville, Season 3, titled “Gently Falling Rain,” starts out strong and then gradually falls apart, in a way that is almost reminiscent of a frog slowly boiling in a pot of water. For most of the episode, there is only one really glaring plot hole and it’s easy enough to ignore. But then within the last quarter of the show, viewers are pounded with so much idiocy that we barely have time to realize what’s happened. As the episode opens, the hostile Krill are ready to sign a treaty with the Planetary Union. They’ve been taken to a futuristic Broadway production of Annie — it’s good to know that that little overplayed gem of a production Read More ›

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Robotic head made of metallic chrome cubes. Machine face surrounded  by shiny steel boxes. Liquid metal effect. 3d  rendering illustration

Marks: AI Looks Very Intelligent — While Following Set Rules

In an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Non-Computable You, Larry Nobles reads Robert J. Marks’s account of evolving AI “swarm intelligence” for Dweebs vs. Bullies (transcript also)

In Podcast 211, Larry Nobles reads an excerpt from Chapter Two of Robert J. Marks’s Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022). The book is now available in audiobook form as well as Kindle format and, of course, paperback. Chapter Two addresses the question, “Can AI be creative?” Pablo Picasso didn’t think so. He is reported to have said, “Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” Nobles reads Dr. Marks’s account of how he and a colleague got a “swarm” of little programs (Dweebs) to evolve a solution to a problem that required a good deal of creativity on his and colleague Ben Thompson’s part — but not on the part Read More ›

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Annoyed black woman having video chat on smartphone at home

Sorry! I Take It Back (But Only With iOS 16)

The new iOS lets you edit messages, but only within 15 minutes of sending them, and guess what—the recipient can see all your edits…

This article by Texas State University engineering prof Karl D. Stephan is republished with permission from MercatorNet November 1, 2022) Everybody has said something they later regret saying. If the person you’re talking to is right there in front of you, there’s nothing you can do to unsay it. As country singer Jon Langston says in one of his song titles, “I Can’t Take Back Words.” But according to tech guru Kim Komando, the new iOS 16 operating system for iPhones (version 8 and later) lets you do that with text messages—sort of. Ever since commercial text messaging became available on mobile phones in the mid-1990s, it has shared with verbal interchanges the fact that once you send a text, it’s Read More ›

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Teenage boy doing homework using computer sitting by desk in room alone

What Does AI in Education Mean for Critical Thinking Skills?

Students, as reported at Motherboard, are increasingly using GPT-3 and other text-generator programs to write essays for them

The COVID pandemic pushed a lot of school coursework to the internet, with an increased reliance on true/false and multiple-choice tests that can be taken online and graded quickly and conveniently. Not surprisingly, once questions went online, so did answers, with several companies posting (for a fee) solutions for students who would rather Google answers than watch Zoomed lectures. To fit into a true/false or multiple-choice format, the questions are generally little more than a recitation of definitions, facts, and calculations. Here, for example, are three statistics questions I found at a question/answer site: Question: True or false: A group of subjects selected from the group of all subjects under study is called a sample. Answer: True Question: You are Read More ›

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Intelligence artificielle

John Lennox: Transhumanism Versus Traditional Humans

In the second part of his bonus feature for Science Uprising, Oxford mathematician Lennox compares transhumanism with traditional claims to transcend humanity

In the second part of Oxford mathematician John Lennox’s bonus interview for the Science Uprising series, “John Lennox on the Transhumanist Claim AI Will Turn Humans into Gods” (October 17, 2022), Lennox talks about claims that we will merge with computers (artificial intelligence) to achieve immortality. How plausible is that? Lennox is the author of 2084:: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity (2020). A partial transcript and notes for the second half follow (the first half is here): The AI concept of transhumanism? (13:45) John Lennox: The origin of the word “transhumanism,” interestingly enough, is not secular at all. It wasn’t first used by a scientist but it was used in a translation of one of the books of Read More ›

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Man with conceptual spiritual body art

The Orville Crew Sails Into Hallucinations From Deathless Beings

The ETs’ Big Message is: Ignore such labels as man, husband, captain, explorer because they are all irrelevant. Embrace loss of individuality and sculpt the cosmos!

As with Episode 2, Episode 3 of The Orville, Season 3, starts out with a great deal of promise only to completely fall apart at the end. However, I will say that — of all the episodes so far — the beginning of this story felt the most like Star Trek, in the sense that an anomaly shows up on the scanners, followed by a quirky scenario which promises a great deal of mystery to come. The crew detects a civilization on a planet that was previously understood to be desolate. Ed, Kelly, Talla, Bortus, and Gordon all land on the planet to find a lush forest and a high school. They enter the high school and are immediately trapped Read More ›

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types of coffee placed to taste or smell

Designed to Dine, Part 2: How, Exactly, We Compute Flavor

Once a universally enjoyed but scientifically ignored phenomenon, flavor bursts out as an extraordinary event of a biological computer

Since Part 1 of this article was served up, have you experienced food and drink with greater awareness of flavor? Part 1 laid out the elements of flavor, including the smell, taste, texture, and mouth feel of foods and drinks. Smell delivers 80% of what we experience as flavor, coming from the thousands of sensory nerves in our noses detecting individual molecules. From the tongue comes taste sensations of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory). Flavor is like a dynamic 3-D hologram, a multi-dimensional composition of sensory inputs fluctuating in real-time, all delivered as data to the brain for final processing. Flavor makes eating fun! The Computation of Yummy The complicated and integrated systems of smell, taste, and other Read More ›

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Table filled with snacks and traditional eastern European (Lithuanian) food for a feast celebration.

Designed to Dine: Humans are Computers of Flavor

Food itself has no flavor at all. Flavor is in the sensations — really the brain — of the beholder (and taster)

Whether you’re a professional gourmet, a self-styled “foodie,” or an everyday North American who likes to eat, you probably look forward to celebration dinners. At any feast on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or the Passover Seder, the focal feature is the food. It doesn’t occur to us to ask: How do we sense the flavors of the food? After all, the food itself has no flavor at all. Flavor is in the mouth — and the nose, tongue, eyes, inner ears, and really the brain — of the beholder. Venture to learn how human beings enjoy food, and you’ll discover exquisite evidence of intelligent design. Like so many biological systems, detecting flavor involves specialized hardware components and the corresponding software to Read More ›

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Künstliche Intelligenz Konzept

Oxford’s John Lennox Busts the “Computer Takeover” Myth

AI is here to stay, he says, but in addition to doing a great deal of good, it raises vast problems we must address

Earlier this month, we looked at claims that robots are going to scarf up everyone’s jobs. That was a bonus feature in the Science Uprising series. In another bonus interview, “John Lennox on the Transhumanist Claim AI Will Turn Humans into Gods” (October 17, 2022), Oxford mathematician Lennox talks about claims that 1) computers are taking over and that 2) we will merge with them (transhumanism). Lennox is the author of 2084: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity (2020). This is the first of two parts, where he talks mainly about narrow AI but then gets into the topic of artificial general intelligence (AGI). A partial transcript and notes follow: John Lennox: The typical AI system consists of a Read More ›

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Haiti flag being pushed into the ground by a male silhouette. 3D Rendering

Haiti: Turning the Blazing Sun Into a Power Source

Brian Thomas and Kayla Garrett learned how to make solar power work in Haiti by listening to people, especially the Haitians they work with

In podcast Episode 209, Robert J. Marks continues the discussion with Brian Thomas and Kayla Garrett of JustEnergy about appropriate technology for energy-starved Haiti: Solar powering hospitals, orphanages & schools (October 20, 2022): Robert J. Marks: I was informed that people [in Haiti] on average make a dollar a day and they have to go out and they have to buy gas sometimes on the black market for $20, $30 a gallon. It’s just crazy.. So one of the things that you’re concentrated on as engineers is to increase the energy access to Haitians. So what’s the technology that you use to increase the energy access? Brian Thomas: Haiti doesn’t have any petroleum — any oil, gasoline, diesel… or even Read More ›

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AI-generated digital art of a wooden board

AI Art Is Not “AI-Generated Art.” It is Engineer-Generated Art

The computers aren’t taking over the art world. The engineers are. Just the way engineers have taken over the music world with modern electronic music

Creativity is a mysterious thing. Our world economy is powered by creativity, yet despite the best efforts of our best engineers, creativity has not been captured by a machine. Until recently. With the new school of AI things have changed. We now have GPT-3 that can digress at length about any topic you give it. Even more remarkable, we have the likes of Dall-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion. These phenomenal AI algorithms have scaled the peak of human creativity. AI can now create art that has never been seen before: The new artistic AI has become so successful the image social networks have become flooded with their artwork. Some communities have even banned the AI art. But the AI art Read More ›

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male in protective hazmat suit disinfect public isolated spaces, carrying barrels, pathogen respiratory quarantine coronavirus covid-19 concept

The Orville Episode 2: Bacterial Assimilation? — It Gets Messy

A ship that crew members investigate turns out to be a deadly mixture of mechanical — and organic — material

Episode 2 of Season 3 opens with the Orville crew beginning its negotiations with the Krill, an aggressive reptilian species that has joined a temporary alliance with the Planetary Union of flight-capable species to counter the new threat from the Kaylon, an artificially intelligent species. A Krill moment: The Orville group begin by discussing routes through the Krill territory, so the Union can explore the regions of space on the other side. The discussion grows tense when the admiral who has boarded the Orville for the negotiations, Admiral Paul Christie, mentions exploring the Kalarr Expanse (the “Shadow Realm”). The Krill become nervous about this request, telling Ed Mercer and Kelly Grayson, and Christie that demons dwell there. And that they Read More ›

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Lonely Human with water reflection, emotion, sadness  loneliness, depression, mental health, fantasy painting, surreal illustration

Huxley’s Brave New World and the Hard Work of Sadness

A society centered on pleasure has no place for mourning, and so has no room for love

Ninety years ago, Aldous Huxley published his prophetic and incisive Brave New World (1932), a dystopian novel that imagines a society of people intoxicated and controlled, not by state power, but by pleasure. Whereas George Orwell predicted an inevitable totalitarian world government in his novel 1984 (penned in 1949), Huxley proposed that human beings wouldn’t need to be coerced into submission but could be coaxed by the allure of pain-erasing drugs. Both nightmarish visions of the future have already somewhat played out today in American society. The government set up the Disinformation Governance Board in April of 2022, which sounds eerily like the “Ministry of Truth” in Orwell’s 1984. (The board has since disbanded.) Tech companies can track us more Read More ›

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Internet law concept

Hawaiʻi’s Indefinite COVID Lockdown: How Would an AI Rule?

The governor of Hawaiʻi claimed that legislation supported his right to extend draconian COVID lockdown rules indefinitely. Here’s a test for an AI law program

Some people say artificial intelligence (AI) systems can become more intelligent, more intellectually capable, than humankind. After all, they say the AI “AlphaZero has taught itself chess from scratch in just a few hours and then went on to beat the world’s previous best chess-playing computer program.” AI already reads x-rays, drives cars, orders meals by phone, diagnoses skin cancer, and predicts the next movie hit. Some say AI will soon do legal analysis and make judicial decisions more accurately and fairly than humans can. Using a recent true case, let’s overview what it takes to write AI software that would analyze a statute. First, as in an appellate court brief, let’s set up the real life problem and the Read More ›

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Neural networks of the human brain. 3d illustration of abstract nerve centers. Electrical impulses in brain. Bright full color

Rats with Human Brains? The Real Story About Brain Organoids

Human brain organoids use adult stem cells from volunteer donors; they bypass the use of fetal tissue from abortions

In Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy (2013) , the characters in the first book navigate a dystopian near-future with few ethical boundaries. Chicken has been genetically modified to be nothing more than meat and a mouth. For entertainment, they watch either pornography or televised executions. One of the central characters, the scientist who made the genetically engineered humans, ends up unleashing a synthetic pathogen intended to rid the world of evil. The excesses are reminiscent of Earth as described in the Flood narrative in the Bible (“Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.” Genesis 6:11). As in the Biblical account, a “flood” occurs when the synthetic pathogen ends up killing most of humanity. The remaining Read More ›

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“Fluorite” - oil painting. Conceptual abstract picture of the eye. Oil painting in colorful colors. Conceptual abstract closeup of an oil painting and palette knife on canvas.

Human Artists and their AI Copycats

What will happen to actual artists if AI can mimic their styles?

Imagine you’re walking through a world-class art museum, and you come across Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.” (Let’s assume someone hasn’t already thrown tomato soup on it.) The painting isn’t a replication. It’s not a copy of a copy of a copy. It’s the original canvas and paint, the direct object created by the artist himself, shaped by age, visited by thousands of admirers—it’s “vintage.” You stand there admiring the work of a past genius, and get a sense of its beauty and meaning in a whole new way. There’s something unique in witnessing “the real thing.” Why do people travel worldwide to look at Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” when they can see a digital recreation through a Google search? Or why Read More ›