Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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The Three Laws of Robotics Have Failed the Robots

Almost no one out there thinks that Isaac Asimov's Three Laws could work for truly intelligent AI
Prolific science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) developed the Three Laws of Robotics, in the hope of guarding against potentially dangerous artificial intelligence. Jonathan Bartlett, Brendan Dixon, and Eric Holloway discuss what went wrong. Read More ›
Reading with a kitten in his arms, filming indoors

Cats do bond with people

Both cats and kittens showed about the same level of attachment to caregivers as children and dogs did

When a cat feels secure, he develops relationships with humans and dogs. But he won’t be either your servant or your master; just your housemate—and maybe at last your old friend.

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Hong Kong 2019 protests Peter Y. Chuang Unsplash peter-y-chuang-LWzjqzhLjiA-unsplash

Can China Really Silence Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is tech-savvy and the protesters are adept at defeating even high-tech terrors

Some protestors use umbrellas to block the view of newly installed surveillance cameras while others dismantle the electronics. Others place traffic cones over tear gas canisters and then neutralize the gas with water.

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Shovel Annie Spratt Unsplash annie-spratt-j4fV6dKT9tw-unsplash

Do We Need To Learn from AI How To Think Better?

No, and a moment’s thought shows why not
AI can become our "collaborators" only in the sense that a shovel can collaborate with me to dig a hole: It amplifies my powers to do things which are otherwise difficult. Read More ›
Buddhist monks are walking on temple in mist sunset,Thailand

Tibetan Monks Can Change Their Metabolism

Far from disproving it, science has documented it

For decades, a default assumption was that claims that meditating monks in the Buddhist tradition could greatly raise their temperature or slow their metabolism were assumed to be exaggerations that would yield to a scientific explanation. The scientific explanation turned out to be that they can do exactly that.

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Group of kids walk over high log in the forest
Group of kids walk over high log in the forest finding balance with hands one after another view from bellow

If Computers Are Intelligent, Climbing a Tree Is Flying

That, says Edward Feser, is the take-home message from Gary Smith’s book, The AI Delusion

The book’s message is that “the real danger of artificial intelligence is that it will remain dumber than we are,” but we will think it is smarter.

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Joyful preteen lady beaming while embracing human like root

Tell Kids the Robot Is “It,” Not “He”

Teaching children to understand AI and robotics is part of a good education today

We are not truly likely to be ruled by AI overlords (as opposed to powerful people using AI. But even doubtful predictions may be self-fulfilling if enough impressionable people come to believe them. Children, for example. We adults are aware of the limitations of AI. But if we talk about AI devices as if they were people, children—who often imbue even stuffed toys with complex personalities—may be easily confused. Sue Shellenbarger, Work & Family columnist at The Wall Street Journal, warns that already, “Many children think robots are smarter than humans or imbue them with magical powers.” While she admits that the “long-term consequences” are still unclear, “an expanding body of research” suggests we need to train children to draw Read More ›

concept of self-driving car

Will Industry Pressure Loosen Self-Driving Car Tests?

Right now, the regulatory agency is under pressure to accept the industry’s “softball” testing suggestions
The regulatory agency (NHTSA) needs to adapt. But trusting technical documentation alone or only testing already sold vehicles is grossly insufficient. Technical documentation is what engineers think should happen; it is not the future. And testing sold vehicles creates an incentive to skimp on tests. Read More ›
Hype time concept

The Top Ten AI Hype Stories of 2018, Updated

You can segue to each in the podcast and read the accompanying Mind Matters News story, as well as key updates
2019 has seen some remarkable revelations about Google, DeepMind, Watson, Sophia, and other AI faves. Check them out here! Read More ›
Classmates using their smartphones heavily during classes

The Prof Banned Phones in Class. What Happened?

Not a walkout. No riots. No revolution. Some insights though, that match up with other research
Essentially, the user keeps the phone but must leave the venue to unlock it. Barring a reasonable excuse, that might be like excusing oneself to go outside to smoke. Read More ›
iot machine learning with human and object recognition which use artificial intelligence to measurements ,analytic and identical concept, it invents to classification,estimate,prediction, database

Machines Are Not Really Learning

A bit of machine learning history helps us see why
Go talk to a neighbor or a friend. You’ve just done something that Deep Learning can’t do. Worse, it can’t even learn because that’s not a narrow, well-defined problem. Read More ›
Man with cardboard box on his head on grey background

The Machine Knows You Are Angry

Okay, it knows if your facial muscles are twisted in a certain way… does the difference matter?
Five accomplished scientists representing different camps reviewed over a thousand studies of machine emotion recognition. Essentially, there seems no clear science basis for the claims made. Read More ›
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What Others Are Saying About the New Google Insider’s Revelations

The documents' authenticity is not in dispute. What to do about them is another matter
Perhaps we cannot have a realistic discussion of the problems Google.gov creates unless we start with a willingness to pay for search engine services. That allows us to bargain as equals with respect to terms. Read More ›
San Francisco aerial view from sea side. Port of San Francisco in the front. City downtown and skyscrapers at sunrise.

A Silicon Valley Insider Asks the Awkward Questions

Billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel, speaking at COSM in October, has a history of challenging Valley orthodoxies

His question, “How can Google use the rhetoric of ‘borderless’ benefits to justify working with the country whose ‘Great Firewall’ has imposed a border on the internet itself?”, is timely. China’s government uses high tech for, among other things, sophisticated racial profiling.

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dita, mano, dna, scienza, biologia

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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