Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Your Phone Is Selling Your Secrets

You’d be shocked to know what it tells people who want your money

Big tech companies have an ambiguous relationship with online invasions of privacy. The companies may be able to make much more money selling information about you than you would pay them to use their medium.

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SXSW 2019: Grappling with AI’s immense culture shifts

Panelists Robert J. Marks and Jay Richards spot the human advantage in an AI-driven culture

From homeschooled teens to high-tech entrepreneurs to retired doctors to University of Texas students, Christ Church was full of Austinites trying to understand what the rapid growth of AI technologies means for their future.

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Asian smart doctor holding smartphone computer with hand. Surgeon has stethoscopes. concept of medical live in social online.
Asian smart doctor holding smartphone computer with hand. Surgeon has stethoscopes. concept of medical live in social online.

Tech Fail: Man Told He’s Dying via Video Link

The family, who thought that the robotic video cart was just “making a routine visit,” was outraged

The response statement from Kaiser Permanente, acknowledging failure, recognizes the problem, but only in part

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STEM Education 8: Help Create Creativity

Creativity diminishes with age, in part because we dig ourselves into ruts that limit our field of view.

An aging STEM nerd digs more and deeper ruts and creative thinking becomes more and more difficult. For this reason, I remain tolerant of graduate students with new and seemingly wacky ideas.

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Shattered visage

Will AI shatter human exceptionalism?

Proving that humans are just another animal might help save the planet, writer says

The advantage of adding talk of evolution to transhumanism is that it turns a perennial tale of immortality just out of reach into a chronicle of inevitable ascent, like the fabled “Ascent of Man.”

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Universal Basic Income? Fear of AI Fuels Bad Economics

If new technology led to mass permanent unemployment, history would be an endless saga of expanding joblessness

Although the coming shift will be abrupt, new technologies enable us to focus, as economists would put it, on our comparative advantage over machines. 

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AI Dangers That Are Not Just Fake News

Total surveillance should worry us more than an AI news writing machine

Those who control a new communications technology typically have a great advantage over those who don’t—whether that technology is an alphabet, an abacus, a printing press, a telegraph, a telephone, or a software communications program.

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A Mind Matters Review: Zoe (2018), an Android’s Love Story

Underlying assumptions aside, it's a great film with good acting and believable dialogue

Zoe is a great film but it presents a storyline often used to show how inexplicable and ineffable love is in order to get me to believe that it isn’t.

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Who’s Afraid of AI that Can Write the News?

AI now automates formula news in business and sports. How far can it go?

Software programs will not have more or better ideas than the people who designed them. As the audience for news, we must decide whether that level of information is all we need to know.

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A bluestreak cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, on a black background. This small colorful fish can be found on coral reefs Africa, Red Sea and Polynesia

Did a fish just show self-awareness?

What if the whole question is founded on a mistake about the nature of the mirror test?

Overall, it’s a curious outcome for the mirror test. Those who felt reassured by close kinship with chimpanzees reacted quite differently when offered close kinship with fish.

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Scapula on the background of fertile soil. Place for the text. The concept of agriculture. Metal garden tools

Scientism is not a cure for stupidity

But never mind, quite a few science savants have rushed in fearlessly

A science writer tackled a big issue recently: stupidity. Who does he ask? Why, scientists of course. Surprisingly enough, it’s a question few scientists have grappled with, perhaps out of a desire not to wade into a subject that could so easily offend. After all, the field of intelligence studies is rife with controversy. Ross Pomeroy “What is Stupidity?” at Real Clear Science But never mind, quite a few science savants, unafraid to offend, have rushed in: Evolutionary biologist David Krakauer, President of the Santa Fe Institute,told Nautilus, “Stupidity is using a rule where adding more data doesn’t improve your chances of getting [a problem] right. In fact, it makes it more likely you’ll get it wrong.” I won’t contradict Read More ›

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Silhouette of a female as training her dog - website banner

The Real Reason Why Only Human Beings Speak

Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly

In his discussion of why only humans have language, science writer Tom Siegfried gets a lot right, but he misses the crucial reason.

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Characters on the show Travelers with their guns drawn

A Mind Matters Review: Travelers Portrays AI As A Benevolent God

AI can even heal miraculously, but there is a price to be paid…

Season 3 seems like a good time to weigh in on the show’s overall audience appeal, level of materialist dogmatism, and vision of the future of AI.

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Autonomous AI in War: Trial by Ordeal

The more complicated a system becomes, the more difficult it is to analyze all of its actions.

There are plenty of roads on which to test and tune the self-driving cars, but there are not a lot of wars available in which to test and tune autonomous AI weapons. If we seek military superiority to deter aggression, imaginative and creative minds are needed to assess all possibilities.

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Artificial Intelligence Must Be Possible! Really…?

Many arguments for strong artificial intelligence depend on an ideological commitment to explicit, unproven theories about the universe

Not only is it valid to ask whether artificial intelligence is impossible but the argument can be pursued on a scientific basis with quantifiable, empirical evidence.

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Will we surrender our free will to screens?

We may be surrendering while we aren’t paying attention

If “the machines” ever do take over, it will be because we have stopped thinking, not because they have started to.

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Why I Doubt That AI Can Match the Human Mind

Computers are exclusively theorem generators, while humans appear to be axiom generators

My primary reason for doubting that AI can match human intelligence is that the difference between mind and machine is a difference of kind, not of quantity. Understanding the distinction will help us exploit the abilities of each to their maximum potential.

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AI Ethics and the Value of Human Life

Unanticipated consequences will always be a problem for totally autonomous AI

In the development of technology overall, there is always a tradeoff in which human life is given a price. For example, cheap cars aren’t safe and safe cars aren’t cheap.

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