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Stock Trader Sleeping At Multiple Computer's Desk

More Hard Math Does Not Necessarily Mean More Useful Solutions

It is sometimes tempting to overemphasize the math and underemphasize the relevance

Math is said to be the language of science in that most (but definitely not all) scientific models of the world involve mathematical equations. The Pythagorean theorem, the normal distribution, Einstein’s energy-mass equivalence, Newton’s second law of motion, Newton’s universal law of gravitation, Planck’s equation. How could any of these remarkable models be expressed without math? Unfortunately, it is sometimes tempting to overemphasize the math and underemphasize the relevance. The brilliance of the models listed above lies not in mathematical pyrotechnics but, if anything, in their breath-taking simplicity. Useful models help us understand the world and make reliable predictions. Math for the sake of math does neither. Examples of mindless math are legion. I will give three very different examples. Read More ›

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colorful abstract iridescent space art swirl background

Is Consciousness a “Controlled Brain Hallucination”? No.

Anil Seth explains away consciousness away using fashionable terms like that. As a pediatric neurosurgeon, I know from clinical experience that he is wrong

Philosopher David Chalmers famously divided the problem of understanding how consciousness is related to the brain by distinguishing between the easy and hard problems of consciousness. The easy problem of consciousness is typically faced by working neuroscientists — i.e., what parts of the brain are metabolically active when we’re awake? What kinds of neurons are involved in memory? These problems are “easy” only in the sense that they are tractable. The neuroscience necessary to answer them is challenging but, with enough skill and perseverance, it can be done. The hard problem of consciousness is another matter entirely. It is this: How can first-person subjective experience arise from brain matter? How do we get an ‘I’ from an ‘it’? Compared with Read More ›

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Mechanized industry robot and human worker working together in future factory . Concept of artificial intelligence for industrial revolution and automation manufacturing process .

Orville Episode 1: We Witness — a Robotic Resurrection!

In this final look at Episode 1 of Season Three, we see how love for a robot, unexamined, entails a loss of sense and meaning

After I rolled my eyes for what felt like twenty minutes, waiting for the writers to quit wasting time with the whole “Isaac is really dead! We mean it!” routine, somebody finally realizes that there is a way to save the poor robot’s life. Apparently, the robot has a backup, of a backup, of a backup file buried deep inside his brain. The engineer, LaMarr, is fairly certain he can reconstruct Isaac’s programming using this secret backup file. If this sounds lazy and contrived to you, you’ll love this next part. Remember Charly, the girl who was super hateful to the robot at the beginning of the episode? Well, apparently, she is the newest high-ranking member in the crew, despite Read More ›

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Traditionelle Häuser, Fischerdorf Pestel, Haiti

How Solar Energy Ran a Haitian Hospital During the Energy War

Gangs seized control of the ports at which ships bringing fuel docked, cutting off supplies, in an effort to force the Acting President to step down

Yesterday, we looked at the first part of the “Appropriate Technology: the Haitian Energy Problem” podcast (October 13, 2022). Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed engineers Brian Thomas and Kayla Garrett of JustEnergy on the current shortage of energy sources in Haiti. In the second part of the podcast, they look at what might be done: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/10/Mind-Matters-208-Brian-Thomas-Kayla-Garrett.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and additional resources follow. Brian Thomas: Let’s stop and think. If gasoline is $20, $25 a gallon — even if it’s $10 a gallon — and you make very little money or you don’t have a job at all… tThen gasoline is like cash. You can sell that. You can turn around and sell that. So gasoline Read More ›

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Pipe with valve and flag of Haiti. 3d rendering

In Haiti, Debates Over Electric vs. Gas-Powered Cars Are a Luxury

Never mind self-driving cars. The quest for “just enough” energy is a daily, sometimes life-and-death issue, as Kayla Garrett and Brian Thomas tell Robert J. Marks

In “Appropriate Technology: the Haitian Energy Problem” (October 13, 2022), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks interviewed engineers Brian Thomas and Kayla Garrett on a critical question: meeting the energy needs of a developing nation like Haiti sustainable — the only way it can be done: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/10/Mind-Matters-208-Brian-Thomas-Kayla-Garrett.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and additional resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Not all countries need the latest technologies. Those in Third World countries don’t need high powered computers or the latest car from Tesla. They have more fundamental concerns like, how do I feed my family tomorrow? Where do I get clean water? And where can I get power? These needs typically do not involve the latest edge cutting technology. Supplying needed Read More ›

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The zero covid text on china flag 3d rendering

China’s Covid Theater: It’s Not Really About the Disease

Not exactly. As the Twentieth National Congress looms, the Chinese Communist Party does not want any COVID in Beijing

The Chinese Communist Party’s zero-Covid policy, heralded by Xi Jinping, is killing China’s economy and sinking citizens’ morale. Zero-Covid is viewed as a litmus test for support for the Communist Party, and Xi Jinping in particular. The goal is not saving lives but ensuring that the virus does not spread to Beijing ahead of the twentieth National Congress on October 16. Some hope that restrictions will ease after the National Congress. Others are less optimistic. The CCP under Xi Jinping declared “war on the virus” two years ago but the casualties in the Party’s pathogenic war have been the Chinese people. In the lead-up to the Twentieth National Congress in which Xi Jinping will announce his third term as General Read More ›

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AI risk and artificial intelligence technology as a human and machine concept with advanced tech or robots taking over humanity and people merging with a cyborg as an existential risk

Technology as the New God, Before Whom All Others Bow

Transhumanists want to replace God with the Machine, tapping into a deep religious impulse of the human race

Some of the world’s predominant religions, such as Christianity and Islam, suggest ways to live forever. In Christian theology, Christ resurrects from the dead in an imperishable body, promising his disciples eternal life. Within such a religious framework, the material world fails to “save” us. We need a transcendent Other who can enter our situation and offer immortality as a gift. But what about people who reject the transcendent and hold to a fundamentally materialist concept of the universe? Is their religious impulse to seek immortality squelched? Not surprisingly, the opposite appears to be true. The transhumanist movement seeks immortality unbound from religious concepts — if we “merge with machines,” we can upload our consciousness and outlast death. We become Read More ›

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White futuristic robot, crossed arms, unhappy face

When a Robot Commits Suicide — an Elegy for What?

What’s frustrating about Episode 1 of Orville, Season Three is that robot Isaac’s claim to personhood is not ambiguous so much as confused and contradictory

Last time, we began our review of The Orville, Season Three, by discussing the unorthodox relationship between Isaac, the ship’s token robot, and Dr. Claire Finn. The bottom line is that they were romantically involved until Isaac turned out to be a sleeper cell for his race of robots, the Kaylon, who controlled an entire planet. In a climactic moment, Isaac — because of his attachment to Dr. Finn’s son Ty — defeats his programming and saves the Orville. Unfortunately, however, in the battle between the Kaylon and the Union fleet, many Union soldiers were killed defeating the Kaylon — and most in the Orville’s crew have not forgotten it. Dr. Finn and Isaac’s relationship remains somewhat ambiguous. What feels Read More ›

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Did the Court Really Say Bees Are Fish?

And would an AI-run court — which some propose — make a different decision? Not here because California law allows the interpretation

See headlines like: “Great Day” For Bumblebees as Californian Court Rules That They Are Fish and: Bees are fish, California court rules You’d believe, on reading them, that a California court recently ruled that bees are fish. Another eyeroll-worthy court decision! Readers here might muse, “An artificial intelligence-run legal system would never make such a crazy ruling!” The Seemingly Boring Narrow Issue Let’s skip past the exciting headlines. The California Court of Appeal in Almond Alliance of California v. Fish & Game Commission faced the issue of “whether the bumble bee, a terrestrial invertebrate, falls within the definition of fish, as that term is used in the definitions of endangered species, threatened species, and candidate species” under specific sections of Read More ›

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Robot hand putting fresh cherry on top of the cupcake

As the Robot Fry Cook Takes Over the Kitchen …

… Jay Richards’ new short “Science Uprising” special dismisses philosophical claims that humans are mere “meat machines”

Science Uprising released an extra feature on Tuesday, following Science Uprising 10, in which philosopher Jay Richards discusses what underlies the myths of artificial intelligence: It isn’t a superior grasp of the technology involved that drives some (Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and others) to warn that AI will achieve superiority over human beings, drive us out of work, and finally out of existence. It’s the hidden premise that humans are just “meat machines” rather than spiritual beings in a creator’s image. If that were true, of course it would follow that other, faster machines would likely overtake and replace us. David Klinghoffer, “Jay Richards: Myths, Metaphysics, and Artificial Intelligence” at Evolution News (October 4, 2022) However it plays out among Read More ›

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Robot standing holding a pencil on notebook,retro vintage style

The Computer Is Not an Idea Machine, It’s a Powerful Pencil

Robert J. Marks talks to Pastor Greg Young of Chosen Generation about his new book, Non-Computable You

Recently, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks was a featured guest on Pastor Greg Young’s Chosen Generation Radio, in regard to his new book Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) . The nationally syndicated talk show on USA Radio networks, which can be found on stations including KTRB in San Francisco, KDIS in Little Rock, and KYAH in Delta, Utah. The topic turns to artificial intelligence and patents for inventions: Here he is with Dr. Marks, discussing artificial intelligence and patents. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 (The discussion started out with talk of beards.) Pastor Greg Young: Well, one thing that AI doesn’t have is beards. Robert J. Marks: They don’t have beards, among a Read More ›

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The face of a businessman and a robot opposite each other look into the eyes. Modern technologies, robot versus human, artificial intelligence, neural networks. 3D render, 3D illustration.

One Thing We Can Know About Computers: They Are Not Creative

Computer engineer Robert J. Marks explains that to David Krieger at the Power Hour

Recently, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks was a featured guest on David Krieger’s The Power Hour (KCXL in Liberty, Missouri, and KTRW in Spokane, Washington, September 22, 2022). Despite a short-lived religion based on the idea: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 Robert J. Marks: In fact, there are entire religions which are based on artificial intelligence. One of the most incredible ones is a guy named Anthony Levandowski, who founded an AI church. In the AI church, here’s some examples. We are told that someday we will be able to be uploaded to a computer, and we can be reborn into an eternal life of silicon. And so that’s kind of copying from the Christian church about immortal life. That’s the way Read More ›

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Preacher at altar with Bible preaching to Congregation portrait close up

Study: Weekly Attendance at Religious Services Prolongs Life

Well, that’s what a recent study of older Black American men showed

According to a recent article in PLOS: For men of color, faith-based organizations become increasingly important as they approach their senior years. Whether they’re members of a church, mosque, synagogue or other center of worship, Black men are discovering life affirming—and life extending—rewards of belonging to a community of worship. A new study led by the University of Houston’s Marino Bruce suggests that regularly attending religious services may lower mortality rates for Black men in their 50s and older. These findings were recently published in journal PLOS One, in the article “Religious Service Attendance and Mortality Among Older Black Men.” Using data from the National Health and National Examination Survey (NHANES), Bruce and co-authors observed trends suggesting that mortality risks Read More ›

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Thinking robot

Should We Love or Hate an Intelligent Robot? Or Care at All?

In Season 3 of Orville that becomes a serious question

The Orville Season 3 was recommended to me by a reader. I recall seeing a large portion of the first season and enjoying it. I had not watched the second season until preparing for this series of reviews. Unfortunately, I must say at the outset that I found myself very disappointed in Season Three, ironically called New Horizons because it only retreads about half of Season Two. This latest season fell far short of my expectations which were based on my memories of the first season. Still, we’re going to take a look at each episode and see where the problems lie. Before beginning our review of the first episode, a little prologue is required. During the midpoint of the Read More ›

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Barad-dur, Mordor

Tolkien’s for Sale

Commercializing the beloved epic fantasy comes at a cost

What happens when a beloved fantasy world, once respected and celebrated because it soared above the surrounding fray of decadent literature and art, becomes mainstream? What if the very work that was intended to transcend consumerism becomes the object of mass consumption? Harley J. Sims, writing for MercatorNet, believes Amazon has diluted the characteristic beauty and depth of The Lord of the Rings for the sake of mass consumption and appeal. I’ve shared my own thoughts on the new Rings of Power show in two separate pieces (here and here) for Mind Matters already, but just to recap: the show is interesting and entertaining enough to keep watching, but it’s missing something—a moral and imaginative ingredient Tolkien articulated beautifully in Read More ›

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megaphone wrapped in barbed wire. the concept of banning freedom of speech. censorship barbed wire megaphone

The Courts: May Social Media Censor Speech and Ban Users?

Two federal appeals courts came down on opposite sides. Hear the story

May Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube censor your posts and ban you from using their social media platforms? May a state government require large social media platforms to allow users and posts to present lawful information, ideas, and viewpoints with which the platforms disagree? Florida and Texas both enacted laws to restrict platforms from censoring and banning users whose content the platforms disliked. Two different federal appeals courts in 2022 ruled on whether these two states’ laws were constitutional — and came out on opposite sides. The following three scenarios frame the key issues. Scenario A: Commercial Ground Transportation A fellow boards a private company-owned, regularly scheduled commercial bus bound for Berkeley, California, wearing a T-shirt proclaiming in big letters: Save Read More ›

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A young man with a pistol gun is standing in front of a high school preparing to go inside and commit a horrible violent mass murder shooting.

Why AI Could (But May Not) Predict School Shootings

There is no solution that is not run through natural intelligence, computer science prof Robert J. Marks explains

In recent weeks, WBC director Robert J. Marks has done a number of interviews for his new book, Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022). At The Cat’s Roundtable, he was asked by host John Catsimatidis about the hype around AI and whether AI could, for example, predict school shootings. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-205-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 Robert J. Marks: It’ll continue doing great and exciting things, but there’s a lot of hype associated with it. People think, “Well, is the Terminator going to come alive? Are we ever going to face a scenario like we see in The Matrix?” And the answer is, “No. There are certain brick walls, which artificial intelligence will never go through,” and we Read More ›

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An advanced CPU printed with a flag of USA on a neon glowing electronic circuit board. Illustration of the concept of United States made high-end micro chips.

What Difference Has the CHIPS Act Made to the U.S. and Taiwan?

We need to first look at the broader picture of what the CHIPS Act is intended to do

In a previous article, I discussed the semiconductor industry and Taiwan’s supremacy in manufacturing microchips, the foundry portion of the semiconductor supply chain. Now let’s look at the U.S. perspective on the semiconductor industry and its relationship to Taiwan. In order to do that, we have to talk about the CHIPS+ Act Congress passed a bipartisan bill, the CHIPS and Science Act in July, after a year of negotiations in committee. President Biden signed the act into law on August 9 and the CHIPS Act Implementation Strategy was launched on September 6 through an executive order. CHIPS, or “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors,” is a $250B initiative that incentivizes businesses to bring semiconductor manufacturing, research and innovation back to Read More ›

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Crypto currency background with various of shiny silver and golden physical cryptocurrencies symbol coins, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, zcash, ripple

Is Cryptocurrency Part of the Overall Future of Money?

Experts clash over whether crypto could replace government-issued currency

Recent discussions between WBC director Robert J. Marks and fellow engineers raise a question: Could new technology enable a global private currency to compete with government currencies? While the fact is not always evident in the Western world, government currencies depend on the stability of the government. Stories about people using discredited government banknotes to warm themselves, etc., are not fiction. And today what about the unbanked billions of the world who work and create value but do not have access to financial institutions? So in, for example, a national emergency, would cryptocurrency be any help? The option of private electronic currency is comparatively new and, as we might expect, expert views differ. We present them for your reflection (not Read More ›

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Scientists testing in lab.

Will AI Really Change Drug Development? Not So Fast…

Jeffrey Funk and Gary N. Smith note that AI was not significant in the development of COVID vaccines. Financial incentives ruled

Something to know before you invest or entertain high hopes: Jeffrey Funk and Gary Smith published a recent article in Salon that offers a free cold shower. Some realities they cite: Most of the expense of drug development is in clinical trials on human beings, which can’t be automated. Any attempt to save time or money would come at identifiable costs in accuracy. Yes, COVID vaccines were a banner achievement for speedy drug development. But AI played little or no standout role in the process: Determined to get a COVID-19 vaccine to the public before the November 3, 2020, presidential election, the U.S. government devoted $14 billion to support the pharmaceutical companies’ vaccine efforts. The government agreed to pay Pfizer Read More ›