Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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In China, high-tech racial profiling is social policy

For an ethnic minority, a physical checkup includes blood samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and voice recordings

The Chinese government seeks a database of everyone in the country, not only to track individuals but to determine the ethnicity of those who run up against the law.

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Girls eye with paint and earth

Why Some Scientists Believe the Universe Is Conscious

They’re not mystics. But materialism is not giving good answers so they are looking around

These prominent thinkers are driven to panpsychism because materialism about the mind doesn’t really work. So if panpsychism ends up seeming absurd, dualism—there really is an immaterial world—is also worth considering.

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New Hacking Tactics

Many Parents Ignore Risks of Posting Kids’ Data Online

The lifelong digital footprint, which starts before birth, makes identity theft much easier
The recently discovered “design flaw” in Facebook’s Messenger app, aimed at kids, was a wake-up call. Keeping a child’s data out of the wrong hands is just part of good parenting today. Read More ›
Hand pulling colorful wooden block from the tower in as Risk or stability concept

Google Engineer Reveals Search Engine Bias

He found Google pretty neutral in 2014; the bias started with the US 2016 election

The algorithms—the series of commands to computers—“don’t write themselves,” Coppola says. People who have their own opinions may write them into an algorithm, knowingly or otherwise.

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We Built the Power Big Social Media Have Over Us

Click by click, and the machines learned the patterns. Now we aren’t sure who is in charge

We’re stuck, working for free, training the Web giants’ ML systems to reap benefits for them while enduring (assuming we notice) the downsides.

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Spot on the road with shoes of people gathered around it.

Jordan Peterson’s New “Thinkspot” Takes Shape

Analysts ask, can his proposed rules work?

What about the problem of expecting people to pay? Perhaps most people are so used to getting their social media for free for the same reasons as turkeys get their feed for free—because they’re the product—that they willingly submit to censorship?

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Different types of computers and storage

Is the Human Mind a Computer?

As a software engineer, I'd say we need to be clear what the question is before answering it

Once we understand clearly what a computer is, we will see why consciousness is not a form of computation.

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Young man (backpacker, hitchhiker) on the high-speed highway not far from Kashgar in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in China’s far west

The Internet Doesn’t Free Anyone by Itself

China is testing 100% surveillance on the Uighurs, a strategically critical minority

The Uyghur people in Xinjiang province in northwest China spend their lives in a digital panopticon. Over 2.5 million Muslims are tracked via facial recognition software and cameras, and their cell phone monitored for any language that could be construed as religious. Over a million have been placed in so-called “vocational training centers” that are widely described as detention camps. Even when not detained, they live like prisoners: For Uyghurs in Xinjiang, any kind of contact from a non-Chinese phone number, though not officially illegal, can result in instant arrest. Most Uyghurs in Turkey have been deleted by their families on social media. And many wouldn’t dare try to make contact, for fear Chinese authorities would punish their relatives. Isobel Read More ›

Balancing A Male And A Female Worker In The Cloud

Why It’s So Hard To Reform Peer Review

Robert J. Marks: Reformers are battling numerical laws that govern how incentives work. Know your enemy!

Measurement creates a temptation to achieve a measurable goal by less than totally honest means. As in physics, the simple act of measuring invariably disturbs what you are trying to measure.

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Close up of a Chimpanzee-family (mother and her two kids)

Researchers: Apes Are Just Like Us!

And we’re not doing the right things to make them start behaving that way…

In 2011, we were told in Smithsonian Magazine, “‘Talking’ apes are not just the stuff of science fiction; scientists have taught many apes to use some semblance of language.” Have they? If so, why has it all subsided? What happened?

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Privacy Glen Carrie on Unsplash ra4vJwxnvAo Unsplash

Is Data Privacy a Luxury Now?

In an age of constant connectedness and digital monitoring, access to privacy is becoming the new digital divide. Can you afford it?

The people most likely to know how to protect their privacy are the well-informed. In an information society in the free world, as an information analyst notes, “well-informed” tends to correlate with well-educated (which in turn correlates with being better off).

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Gold city Zoltan Kovacs 270474 at Unsplash

Could Huge Chunks of Asteroid Gold Wreck Our Economy?

16 Psyche’s gold illustrates how AI affects jobs. Not the way many think…

“By lowering the price of gold, it would create new, currently nonexistent, markets for other uses of gold,” says Jay Richards. In the same way, AI creates new, currently nonexistent, markets for human time and creativity.

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Can the AI Poker Champ Improve Real-World Decisions?

That’s the claim aired at Nature for Pluribus, the new Texas hold ‘em champ. Bradley Center fellows are skeptical

“The trouble is," says Brendan Dixon, "any technique that works by searching ‘to the end of the game’ will not help self-driving cars (as an example) one bit…unless they have also mastered predicting the future. There is no ‘end of the game’ for nearly all decisions we make.”

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El santuario de Gaea

Our AI Overlords Will Save Earth, Says Prominent Scientist

AlphaGo, the Go-playing computer program, is the start of telepathic superintelligences that will tackle climate change

James Lovelock, both distinguished scientist and founder of the Gaia concept of Earth, need only live to July 26 to be a centenarian. In his new book, co-authored with Bryan Appleyard, he sees the Go-playing computer program AlphaGo as the start of a new type of life that will save the planet, as he told New Scientist recently: Specifically, about the new AI overlords: In his new book Novacene, James Lovelock says the creation of AlphaGo was the start of a new kingdom of life that will create and think for itself. He’s optimistic that this new kingdom of life will want to keep us around like we keep plants in gardens. “James Lovelock says artificial intelligence is the start Read More ›

human identification

If the mind is immaterial, is human cloning impossible?

I agree with Mike Egnor that the mind is immaterial but I don’t think human cloning is impossible

There are, of course, empirical implications of both the materialist and non-materialist understanding of the human mind. But the success of human cloning won’t weigh on the question one way or the other.

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COSM: George Gilder Hosts Top Tech Guys, To Ask, Where Is All This Going?

Are machines replacing or helping us and how will we know the difference?

The October 23-25 conference is aimed at CEOs, CTOs, and CIOs, investors, researchers, technologists, and anyone for whom the $950 Early Adopter Rate (before July 23) would be a good investment in their future.

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This job is really stressing me out!

Can fitter brains help us fight depression?

Philosopher J. P. Moreland continues his account of working his way through a devastating anxiety disorder

"Anxiety and depression are largely—not entirely but largely—habit. And those habits are ingrained in the different members of our body," Moreland explains.

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Image of earth with different times against green vignette

How Do We Know Our Universe Is Not a Sim World?

It’s an interesting idea, say Bradley fellows, but for a number of reasons, it is not credible

The computer sim universe seems to be a way of dealing with the massive evidence of the fine-tuning of our universe without invoking traditional philosophy or religion.

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Robot James Pond Unsplash 1483706571191-85c0c76b1947

Fake News Thrives on Fears of a Robot Takeover

The motion graphics artist tried to explain that he faked the amazing robot video

The convincing film was great for Tom’s Twitter feed but less great for what it says about our judgment as viewers. We believe too much AI hype. 

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Jazz Chris Bair on Unsplash A10y2Eq7OHY

AI Can’t Do Jazz Because Spontaneity Is at Jazz’s Core

AI “artists”—in all the forms presently available — merely replay their programming

As Ted Gioia makes clear in his discussion of jazz, swirling a bit of randomness into the mix will not help.

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