Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Croupier hands dealing cards on t blackjack poker table, gambling table with cards and chips

Can You Really Be a Card Counter Without Resorting to Magic?

Math nerd (and successful gambler) Salvador Cordova explains how card counters improve their odds in blackjack

Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks is back withSalvador Cordova, mathematician, engineer — and gambling ace. In previous episodes, they discussed why most players lose and how “advantage players” — those who understand the game, the players, the management, and the mathematical probabilities — sometimes clean out casinos. Of course, they also sometimes get kicked out, as has happened to Cordova, and new rules and precautions ensue. And, doubtless, new ways are found around them. In this new podcast episode, “Can a good hustler count cards like a computer?”, Cordova says a bit more about how the pros improve their odds from pure chance by card counting. He made his living, inpart, that way from about 2005 through 2014.…

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October walk in the rain, a young woman with a red umbrella in the autumn city park, autumn look

Computer Prof: You Are Not Computable and Here’s Why Not

In a new book, Baylor University’s Robert J. Marks punctures myths about the superhuman AI that some claim will soon replace us

In a just-released book, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks II explains, as a computer engineering professor at Baylor University, why humans are unique and why artificial intelligence cannot replicate us: ”Emotions that make us human will never be duplicated by a machine,” says Marks. “These include compassion, love, empathy, elation, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, pleasure, pride, excitement, embarrassment, regret, jealousy, grief, hope, and faith. Properly defined, creativity, sentience, and understanding are also on the list. These and other non-algorithmic traits are evidence of non-computable you.” Discovery Institute, “Are Future Humans Doomed To Be Replaced By Artificial Intelligence?” at PR NewsWire (June 21, 2022) Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) is…

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Croupier behind gambling table in a casino

Can Casinos Ban Customers Who Might Get TOO “Lucky”?

Sal Cordova was good enough at card counting that his photo was circulated and casino nabbed his driver’s licence…

In a recent podcast, “When the house can’t win the game, it will change the rules” (June 9, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks continued his discussion with mathematician, computer scientist, and engineer Salvador Cordova on the mathematics of gambling — who wins, who loses, and why. Last week, we looked at the struggle between the casino and the “advantage player” who knows very well how the system works and spots its weaknesses. But now, what about banning a suspiciously “lucky” would-be customer outright? Here’s what happened to Sal Cordova: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/Mind-Matters-News-Episode-190-Sal-Cordova-Episode-2-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at roughly 11:10 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Sal Cordova: One of the better things is that…

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Colorful background made of fallen autumn leaves.

Did Carl Sagan Think the Universe Shows No Design?

Like Fred Hoyle, he seems to have thought it showed design — until that view became politically associated with religion

It’s a complicated story. At one time, a religious skeptic like astronomer Carl Sagan (1934–1996) could write: The universe was made on purpose, the circle said. In whatever galaxy you happen to find yourself, you take the circumference of a circle, divide it by its diameter, measure closely enough, and uncover a miracle — another circle, drawn kilometers downstream of the decimal point. There would be richer messages farther in. It doesn’t matter what you look like, or what you’re made of, or where you come from. As long as you live in this universe, and have a modest talent for mathematics, sooner or later you’ll find it. It’s already here. It’s inside everything. You don’t have to leave your…

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Transhumanism as a Cool New Secular Religion

It includes such ventures as endowing plants — via genetic engineering — with the capacity for human-like thought and giving them rights…

In a recent Living in the Solution podcast with otolaryngologist and broadcaster Elaina George at Liberty Talk radio, Wesley J. Smith, lawyer and host of the Humanize podcast at Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism tackled the question of “Can You be a Christian and Believe in Transhumanism?” (June 4, 2022) Transhumanism or H+, as it is sometimes called, is a movement to create immortality through new biotechnology or merger with artificial intelligence (AI). In the first portion of the podcast, which we covered last Sunday, they talked about the way being a human, a computer, or an animal is viewed by transhumanists as all just a choice now, thanks to new technology. In this portion, we look at the…

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Portrait of a man with pixel dispersion effect

Review: Transcendence — The Soul Meets the Singularity

In Part 1 of my review of the 2014 classic, we start with the question: Can a human mind be completely transferred to a computer?

Since Johnny Depp has been all over the news lately, this would be a great time to review his contribution to the world of sci-fi, Transcendence (2014), or as I like to call it, “Oh Great. Now, We Have to Kill the Internet.” The movie plays on two themes. First, there is the idea that futurist Ray Kurzweil calls the Singularity, a moment where AI surpasses humanity. Second, the movie explores two closely related questions: Is there a soul, and does this soul reside within the brain? Johnny Depp’s character, Will Caster, does not believe in the soul, but he does recognize that there is some unmapped region within biological life that allows a human to distinguish between right and…

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Handsome man playing in casino

The Struggle Between Casinos and Advantage Players

The scene is enlivened by assorted other characters who use romance to help in the struggle for a big win. Sal Cordova explains

In a recent podcast, “When the house can’t win the game, it will change the rules” (June 9, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks continued his discussion with mathematician, computer scientist, and engineer Salvador Cordova on the mathematics of gambling — why the odds are stacked against the gambler — or, depending on a gambler’s skill and knowledge of the circumstances, maybe they aren’t… https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/06/Mind-Matters-News-Episode-190-Sal-Cordova-Episode-2-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at approximately 00:31 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow below. Marks and Cordova ended Episode 1 by discussing the famous advantage player Don Johnson who cleaned out Atlantic City for tens of millions of dollars in 2011. What was his secret? Sal Cordova: He…

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African American smiling woman math teacher stands at black board with pointer.

Reviving the Relational View of Mathematics

Unfortunately, some textbooks teach number rules rather than relationships, so students may not know why the rule matters

While helping a friend’s teenage son with math, I was perusing the textbook used. I was dismayed by the presentation of the topic of translating graphs. More than that, I believe the issue reflects some general problems with how mathematics is typically presented to high school students. Specifically, the text addressed how to do graph transformations for exponential functions. That is, if you have a function with the form y = a ⋅ bx (where a and b are constants), how would you create a new equation whose graph was moved up, down, left, or right? The method the book proposed, while technically correct, misses a huge opportunity to help students. The book presents a general form for transforming exponential…

Go-game

Would AI Still Win at Go If the Board Shrunk: 19 to 17 Spaces?

No, say Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith — and would-be investors need to grasp AI’s weaknesses as well as strengths, for success

Statistician Jeffrey Lee Funk and business prof Gary N. Smith offer a warning for investors: Some AI stocks have been good investments but most high tech unicorns never pay off. It’s a not surprising, they say, when we consider that AI is powerful but brittle. An example they offer: AI easily beats humans at the game of go which features a 19 × 19-square board. If the game switched to a 17 × 17-square board, humans would quickly adjust but AI would flounder. They offer examples of how this sort of limitation plays out in the real world, including the true tale of a hapless AI-driven insurance company: An insurance company with the quirky name Lemonade was founded in 2015…

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US drone attack on the convoy of the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, 3d render. Baghdad airport, Iraq.

Top Gun Maverick: Thrilling but Outdated by Today’s AI

How realistic is the continued use of manned aircraft in light of today’s technology?

I just saw Top Gun: Maverick. Everyone I know agrees that the movie is masterfully done and is thrilling entertainment. My emotions were whiplashed throughout the movie and by the end I was exhausted. But how realistic is the continued use of manned aircraft in light of today’s technology? Considering what today’s military drones can do, the story premise of the new Top Gun is technically outdated. The mission could be better executed by today’s drones, without risk of human life. Instead of riding your horse to the restaurant during a lightning storm, drive your Tesla or — better yet — get Uber Eats to deliver. Use the latest technology. The latest technology in drones is impressive. Consider some of…

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AI・人工知能

AI: Is Thinking Humanly More Important Than Acting Rationally?

I have documented many examples of GPT-3 AI’s failure to distinguish meaningful from meaningless correlations — and invite readers to contribute their own

The potential power of artificial intelligence (AI) has been touted for more than 60 years though a generally accepted definition is elusive. AI has often been defined in terms of human-like capabilities. In 1960, for example, AI pioneer Herbert Simon, an economics Nobel laureate and Turing Award winner, predicted that “machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do.” In 1970 Marvin Minsky, also a Turing Award winner, said that, “In from three to eight years we will have a machine with the general intelligence of an average human being.” More recently, in 2015, Mark Zuckerberg said that, “One of our goals for the next five to 10 years is to basically get better…

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Humanity Plus theme with abstract network lines and patterns

Transhumanism: Human, Computer, Animal — All Just a Choice Now…

AI and Big Biotech spawn the hope (in some) of merging with a computer or with a bat, maybe…

In a recent Living in the Solution podcast with otolaryngologist and broadcaster Elaina George at Liberty Talk radio, Wesley J. Smith, lawyer and host of the Humanize podcast at Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism tackled the question of “Can You be a Christian and Believe in Transhumanism?” (June 4, 2022). Transhumanism or H+, as it is sometimes called, is a movement to create immortality through new biotechnology or merger with artificial intelligence (AI). Dr. Elaina George: I think transhumanism seems to be the next wave of things that are hip and now … As a Christian, is it something that we should even consider? Wesley Smith: Well, it depends on which transhumanists are talking. Most transhumanists are atheists and…

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Office syndrome, Backache and Lower Back Pain Concept. a man touching his lower back at pain point

The Challenges of Medical Care When Insurance Algorithms Rule

Pain management physician Richard Hurley is a veteran of many successful appeals to insurance companies that have refused to pay for treatments

In the first portion of Episode 187, “Good and bad algorithms in the practice of medicine” (May 19, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks and anesthetist Dr. Richard Hurley discussed where algorithms help in medicine… and where they don’t. In this portion, they turn to how to get good medical care when you are dealing with an insurance company as well as medical staff and institutions. The two types of institution are, as we will see, very different. Before we get started: Robert J. Marks, a Distinguished Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering, Engineering at Baylor University, has a new book, coming out Non-Computable You (June, 2022), on the need for realism in another area as well —…

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Factory closed.Workers stressed that the factory closed. unemployed workers. Industrial and industrial workers concept

A Great Reset Historian Muses on What To Do With “Useless” People

Transhumanist Yuval Noah Harari, a key advisor to the World Economic Forum, thinks free will is “dangerous” and a “myth”

Historian Yuval Noah Harari an advisor to Klaus Schwab, co-author with Thierry Malleret of COVID-19: The Great Reset, and head of the World Economic Forum, had some interesting things to tell the movers and shakers of the world about ordinary people last April: Again, I think the biggest question in maybe in economics and politics of the coming decades will be what to do with all these useless people? The problem is more boredom and how what to do with them and how will they find some sense of meaning in life, when they are basically meaningless, worthless? My best guess, at present is a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for [most]. It’s already happening… I…

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Health insurance, tax concept on blue background

Algorithms in Medicine: Where They Help … and Where They Don’t

Removing creativity, nuance, and insight from medicine may result in cheaper care but not better care

Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks continued his podcast discussion with anesthesiologist Richard Hurley in “Good and bad algorithms in the practice of medicine” (May 19, 2022). An algorithm is “a procedure for solving a mathematical problem (as of finding the greatest common divisor) in a finite number of steps that frequently involves repetition of an operation.” (Merriam–Webster) We most commonly think of algorithms in connection with computers because that is how programmers instruct them. Algorithms, Dr. Marks points out, can either sharpen or derail services, depending on their content. Before we get started: Note: Robert J. Marks, a Distinguished Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering, Engineering at Baylor University, has a new book, coming out Non-Computable You (June,…

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Chinese flags on barbed wire wall in Kashgar (Kashi), Xinjiang, China.

Digital Data Leaks Reveal Extent of Uyghur Oppression in China

Only in the last decade or so has true technological oppression of an entire people group was even possible. But at least it is a two-edged sword

Hawagul Tewekkul’s tear-filled eyes are the first thing you see at the BBC’s interactive article, “The Faces from China’s Uyghur Detention Camps.” Her photo is one of 5,000 photos of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities found in one of the largest data leaks on the Chinese Communist Party’s widespread oppression, internment, and cultural annihilation of the minorities living in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China. Hawagul Tewekkul was fifty years old in October 2017 when she was “detained for re-education.” Her offense was not stated. Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities have been sent to prison, often on unreasonable charges, or t “vocational re-education centers” as a part of Xi Jinping’s anti-terrorism campaign. Sometimes the training centers have been converted to…

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Change Chance

The Salem Hypothesis: Why Engineers View the Universe as Designed

Not because we're terrorists or black-and-white thinkers, as claimed. A simple computer program shows the limits of creating information by chance

In the fun-filled world of internet debate between creationists and evolutionists, we encounter the Salem Hypothesis: Creationists tend to be engineers. Many explanations have been offered for this phenomenon (apparently named after Talk Origins contributor Bruce Salem): engineers are closet terrorists creationists are trying to protect their fragile beliefs a desire to exert authority engineers like simple black and white answers There’s a reason internet forums are not known for flattering character analysis! Anyhow, the true reason for the Salem Hypothesis is summed up in this graph. Read on to find out why. Engineers are more likely to be creationists because they are familiar with what it takes to design complex things for specific tasks. Which is exactly what we…

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Casino BlackJack

Casinos: How Nerds Gamble and Win, Using the Law of Large Numbers

The American Physical Society created Las Vegas’s worst week in history and Don Johnson cleaned out Atlantic City. How?

In last week’s podcast, “The house always wins in the long run” (June 2, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed mathematician, computer scientist, and engineer Salvador Cordova on the world of gamblers and how they try to improve their odds by physically manipulating dice (dice sliding ) and cards (false shuffling). Meanwhile, the house is relying on the Law of large Numbers, which — being a mathematical law — wins out in the end. Sure, the Law may always win — but perhaps anyone can play it. Where we left the matter last time, in the first portion of this episode, Cordova talked about how “advantage players” try to make it work. In this second segment of…

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spaceships battle

Serenity Review Part 2: Great Scenes Dogged by Bad Plot Choices

We meet fresh villains and finally learn River’s secret: She knows the origin of the malevolent Reavers and it is not neat or pretty

Last time, I began my (now) three-part review of the film Serenity (2005) with a defense of creator and director Joss Whedon’s character development choices. I have issues with some of his plot choices, however, so let me pick up where the first review left off. In order to get more information on River, Wash suggests speaking with a galactic hacker known as Mr. Universe. Mr. Universe tells them that the Alliance had indeed used a subliminal signal to activate River’s programming. He also points out that River mentions the word “ Miranda”. At the same time, Simon checks on River and, as he speaks with her, she tells him that “Miranda” is a memory, but it isn’t hers. In…

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Multi Casino Games Concept

Gambling: WHY the House Always Wins in the Long Run…

The casinos are not cheating. They rely on the Law of Large Numbers, part of the mathematical structure underlying our universe

In this week’s podcast, “The house always wins in the long run” (June 2, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviews mathematician, computer scientist, and engineer Salvador Cordova on a subject on which he has strong views: gambling. Marks tells us, “I teach a graduate course on probability and stochastic processes. There I teach the stupidity of casino gambling. In statistics, there’s a theorem called the Law of Large Numbers. It teaches that you can’t win in the long run at casino games. Period. The law of large numbers is a mathematical truth. It’s a law as serious as the law of gravity. It’s why casinos always get rich and the gambler always gets poor. There is a…