Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Blockchain blocks and their hexadecimal hash values conceptual vizualization 3D render

Modern Bitcoin’s Surprising Lesson About Ancient Scripture

It turns out there’s a striking parallel between the historical record of scripture and the blockchain ledger

This article was published in The Stream (September 13, 2022) and is republished with permission. Can we trust the authenticity of the New Testament scriptures? Trust is foundational in the acceptance of scripture. There’s an interesting lesson to learn from a very modern system of trust: money. Even Bitcoin, believe it or not. An Exchange of Trust We’ll start with old-fashioned familiar money. Why is a twenty dollar bill worth $20? It’s just a small sheet of paper, after all. The answer is trust. We trust the piece of paper has value because its worth is backed by the United States government. We also trust that Walmart will give us $20 worth of Doritos if we give them a twenty Read More ›

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Abandoned railway tracks in the desert, Namibia

The MacGuffin: Big Fuss About Nothing Is Not Good Science Fiction

A MacGuffin creates a lot of action but doesn’t in any way advance the plot

As with Time Travel, the MacGuffin plot risk comes in a variety of flavors. People bicker about the term, but Alfred Hitchcock (1863–1942) summarized the gist of it: A MacGuffin is “the thing the characters on the screen worry about but the audience don’t care.” The MacGuffin creates a lot of action but doesn’t in any way advance the plot. The action is not the problem. If the item contributes to the plot in a significant way — the One Ring from Lord of the Rings or the Dragon Balls from the Dragon Ball Series, for example — then it isn’t a MacGuffin. But if the item is inert and chased mainly because the characters want it, then it is Read More ›

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Is AI Sentient? Where’s the Economy Headed? Join Me at COSM 2022!

We’ll find out together from a remarkable lineup of insightful movers, shakers, and thinkers

Where is the U.S. economy headed in the next year? Is decoupling from China realistic, or even possible? Is our country ready for widescale electric vehicle adoption? And what are the cutting-edge technologies that will change the world? These are just a few of the questions we will grapple with at COSM 2022. Register now for COSM 2022, Nov. 9-11 in Seattle Another is whether AI will ever achieve consciousness. Remember the Google engineer who made national headlines a month ago for claiming that the company’s AI had become sentient? His name is Blake Lemoine, and he will be making his case — in one of his first public appearances — at COSM 2022 in November. We have also added Read More ›

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unicorn

Why People Keep Investing in Cool Companies That Lose Money

If money is all that matters, a beautiful loser is still a loser,… But wait. IS money all that matters when we are buying unicorns (exciting startups)?

Recently, we’ve been looking at unicorns — those tech companies that are just so Now! that, like Uber, Airbnb, and DoorDash, they are part of our everyday conversation. But as Gary Smith and Jeffrey Funk have noted, they don’t make money. And seldom or never have. For years on end. The recent downturn could mean some don’t survive. So Mind Matters News asked Dr. Funk, “Why don’t people notice, year after year, that these companies are not good investments? Is the buzzy idea more important than the financial outcome?“ Here’s what he told us: There are many ways to answer this question. My favourite answer uses Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller’s concept of irrational exuberance. Some of the following words are Read More ›

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Robot Women 2

Science Uprising 10: Asking the Impolite Questions About AI

Specifically about the big AI Takeover. Let's get past the TED talks

In Episode 10 of Science Uprising (September 21, 2022 10:35 min), we get a look at why — despite ultra-fashionable TED Talk-style doomsday claims — computers are not taking over. The short film starts with Sophia the Robot, that some hope will play a big role in health care for seniors: “Hello, world.” (0:13) “What emotion do you feel being awake in life?” “Curious.” Great. (Yikes…!) The film then cuts to the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute’s Nick Bostrom who announces to an enthralled gathering, “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humanity will ever need to make. Machines will then be better at inventing than we are now, as superintelligence with such technological maturity would be extremely powerful and Read More ›

Peter Thiel with George Gilder at COSM 2021

Peter Thiel Will Be Luncheon Keynoter at COSM, November 9

Billionaire venture capitalist Thiel made waves earlier this year, calling Warren Buffett and other investment gurus a “finance gerontocracy”

Some iconic tech venture capitalists go with the flow — and then there’s Peter Thiel: In an age when some computer scientists prophesy that AI will soon rise up and destroy mankind, he says no, that’s not happening; the big story is the End of Privacy. He also sees Big Tech innovation as slowing down, in the sense that most Wow!! new developments are successfully hyped riffs on earlier ones. He goes so far as to say that, contrary to expert views, cryptocurrency is not just a flash in the pan. At Bitcoin 2022, he blasted “Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, Larry Fink as ‘finance gerontocracy.’” That is, they are over the hill though not yet under it. So Thiel is Read More ›

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Groups of people are connected by lines. Interdependence correlation in workflow. Interacting and joining forces with other teams. Interact to complete tasks. Formation of a more complex community.

Step Away From Stepwise Regression (and Other Data Mining)

Stepwise regression, which is making a comeback, is just another form of HARKing — Hypothesizing After the Results are Known

There is a strong correlation between the number of lawyers in Nevada and the number of people who died after tripping over their own two feet. There are similarly impressive correlations between U.S. crude oil imports and the per capita consumption of chicken — and the number of letters in the winning word in the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the number if people killed by venomous spiders. If you find these amusing (as I do), there are many more at the website Spurious Correlations. These silly statistical relationships are intended to demonstrate that correlation is not causation. But no matter how often or how loudly statisticians shout that warning, many people do not hear it. When there is a Read More ›

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Storytelling: The Liar is Revealed! But Does Anyone Still Care?

Stories where the central character lies about something important often waste audience time without building tension

If there was one storytelling device (trope) I would call the bane of all good writing and a general waste of everyone’s time, it’s The Liar Revealed. With that trope, the dramatic tension is driven by the fact that the central character (the protagonist) is not who or what the others suppose. Pretty much every other trope can be made to work properly with the proper setup. But if a writer chooses to go with this cliché, just expect the movie to stop until the trope is finished playing out. Everything is on pause until the truth is revealed. What is the Liar Revealed? Well, as a trope, it’s not just whenever a character lies. The lies are not really Read More ›

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Concept of robots replacing humans in offices

AI Is Not Taking Away Our Jobs — Because It Can’t Do Them

Robert J. Marks talks with KSCJ talk show host Mark Hahn about HAL 9000 and the opportunities and fundamental limits of AI

In the “Top Gun, HAL 9000, and Jobs of the Future” podcast (September 15, 2022), WBC director Robert J. Marks discusses whether AI is sucking up all our jobs with talk show host Mark Hahn, who can be heard on KSCJ in Sioux City, Iowa. Dr. Marks, author of Non-Computable You is a professor of computer engineering at Baylor University and a pioneer of AI swarm intelligence. This is the second half of the podcast. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-Episode-204-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Mark Hahn: Dr. Marks, artificial intelligence is something that many people have fantasized on a science fiction level; many shows have been about that. Of course, in Space Odyssey 2001, HAL took over, and that’s what Read More ›

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Army Aerospace Engineers Work On Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / Drone. Uniformed Aviation Experts Talk, Using Laptop. Industrial Facility with Aircraft for: Surveillance, Warfare Tactics, Air Strike

Marks Tells Medved: Top Gun (2022) Is Way Out of Date

Computer science prof Robert J. Marks argues in Non-Computable You, that in the 21st century, drones offer significant advantages over fighter pilots

In the “Top Gun, HAL 9000, and Jobs of the Future” podcast (September 15, 2022), WBC director Robert J. Marks discusses a theme from his new book Non-Computable You with talk show host Michael Medved: Can drones should replace pilots in warfare? Dr. Marks, a professor of computer engineering at Baylor University, is also the author of The Case for Killer Robots: https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/09/Mind-Matters-Episode-204-Robert-J-Marks.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Michael Medved: Why shouldn’t we be able to replace all those hotshot pilots, like the ones being trained in the movie Top Gun: Maverick — one of the most successful movies ever made, by the way, in terms of its box office receipts? That’s showing pilots doing death-defying, astonishing Read More ›

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Multi ethnic teenagers smiling outdoor making selfie

Egnor: Why More Sex Change Medicine for Teens in US Than Europe?

One factor in the difference between the United States and Europe may be less accurate information in the United States

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor offers a look at the radical trend to medicine and life-altering surgery based on teen identity issues: Despite the logical gibberish, trans-activism has had a frightening impact on medical practice and medical ethics. ‘Gender affirmation’ clinics exist in medical centers across the country, and many clinics offer hormonal treatment and even radical surgery to children and adults. Boston Children’s Hospital — probably the most prominent children’s hospital in the country —  has offered mastectomies to girls as young as 15 for “gender reassignment,” and has offered patients phalloplasty (the surgical creation of a ‘penis’), metoidioplasty (cutting tissue to lengthen the clitoris), creation of a scrotum with testicular implants, hysterectomy, vaginoplasty (amputation of the penis and testicles with construction of a ‘vagina’) Read More ›

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Network connected across planet Earth ,  view from space. Concept of smart wireless communication technology . Some elements of this image furnished by NASA

Google Cloud’s Ankur Jain To Speak at COSM 2022

One of his key initiatives is bringing internet connectivity to less well-served parts of the globe.

Ankur Jain, VP Engineering for Google Cloud for Telecom, Distributed Cloud, and Immersive Stream, will be speaking at COSM 2022, November 9–11 in Bellevue, Washington. Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15 (tomorrow). At work, he has focused on cross-Google programs like cloud computing, mobile communications, 5G, and privacy issues. One of his key initiatives is bringing internet connectivity to less well-served parts of the globe. He noted in 2017, “As people increasingly access the Internet through their mobile devices, mobile operators are now designing their next-generation networks based on many of the same principles that we’ve adopted to power our own networking infrastructure.” In his current position, he leads Google Cloud’s Telco, Distributed Cloud Edge, Read More ›

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Close up of top important cryptocurrencies which dollar bank note in background. which including of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, Zcash and Ripple coin. Business and financial as concept.

What Happens If You Want To Lend or Borrow in Crypto?

In the world of Web 3.0, the borrower is anonymous, so collateral is a must

In this second part of “Staking and Liquidity on Web3”, the fifth episode of the podcast series between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and engineers Austin Egbert and Adam Goad, the discussion centers on making and taking loans in cryptocurrency. In the first part, we looked at changes in how cryptocurrency is produced: Ethereum is moving from mining to staking this month. In Episode 4, the discussion centered on what a decentralized financial system would look like and on challenging new concepts like flash loans and smart contracts. Dr. Marks is the director of the Walter Bradley Center. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-203-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript of the first part, notes, and Additional Resources follow: Robert J. Marks: Now there’s something in staking Read More ›

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Human hand is holding Electric Car Charging connect to Electric car

Cars of the Future Will Offer “Electrifying” Rides — Guaranteed

Electric car expert Tony Posawatz will be speaking about new industry developments at COSM 2022

After forty years in the car business, professional engineer Tony Posawatz, is optimistic about the future of electric vehicles (EVs). At Forbes, he was mooted to replace Elon Musk at Tesla in 2018. Well, one thing Posawatz would not do is jump into an expensive catfight with… Twitter. He is wholly focused on ACES, as it is called: Autonomous, Connected, Electric & Shared vehicles, as the future of private transportation. Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15. Current CEO of Invictus iCAR, a consulting firm that specializes in making cars leaner, meaner, and greener, Posawatz describes himself as “known for championing award-winning products and electrifying rides.” His interests and achievements span many automotive areas: “His product/general Read More ›

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Stack of ether or ethereum coins. ETH Coin.New Virtual Money.Physical coins. Cryptocurrency mining and trading concept.

Ethereum Moves From Mining to Staking This Month

As there came to be more and more “eth” in the world, the puzzles computers had to solve got very much harder, consuming vast energy resources

In this first part of “Staking and Liquidity on Web3”, the fifth episode of the podcast series between computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks and engineers Austin Egbert and Adam Goad, look at upcoming changes in mining — how cryptocurrency is produced. In Episode 4, the discussion centered on what a decentralized crypto financial system would look like and on challenging new concepts like flash loans and smart contracts. Dr. Marks is the director of the Walter Bradley Center. https://mindmatters.ai/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2022/08/Mind-Matters-203-Adam-Goad-Austin-Egbert.mp3 A partial transcript, notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Like gold, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin and Ethereum is mined, at least so far. Mining becomes harder and harder as more gold is mined… finding fresh gold deposits becomes more Read More ›

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Macro image of a motherboard with the inscription

How Safe Is Our Tech If It Depends on Non-Free Nations?

Europe’s energy woes, in the wake of the Russia–Ukraine war, should spur us to take the question seriously

Keith Krach, former chairman and CEO of Docusign, the app that enables you to conveniently buy a house in Delaware while selling one in Oregon, is speaking at COSM (November 9–11 in Seattle). Docusign was of immense help during the COVID pandemic when in-person transactions were often impractical, illegal, or just impossible. Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15. Krach, former Under Secretary of State and current Chairman of the Krach Institute for Tech Diplomacy at Purdue University, has been thinking a good deal about our future and new technology. He is committed to the importance of rehoming technology Americans need in the United States, as he told Fierce Electronics recently: Our adversaries, starting with the Read More ›

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Person Reaching Through Broken Window Towards Helping Hand

Atheists Who Scold Us on Morality Acknowledge God’s Existence

For example, every time internet-famous atheist P. Z. Myers scolds humanity on morality and immorality, he demonstrates the point

P.Z. Myers detests challenges to his atheism based on the reality of Objective Moral Law: There is a common line of attack Christians use in debates with atheists, and I genuinely detest it. It’s to ask the question, “where do your morals come from?” I detest it because it is not a sincere question at all — they don’t care about your answer, they’re just trying to get you to say that you do not accept the authority of a deity, so that they can then declare that you are an evil person because you do not derive your morals from the same source they do, and therefore you are amoral. It is, of course, false to declare that someone Read More ›

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Big ideas. Illuminated light bulb among the rest of the unlit bulbs.

COSM Speaker Hopes To Put Creativity Within Every Human’s Reach

Jules Urbach, a game developer at 18, has large aspirations but he has the advantage of new software that might help

Jules Urbach, founder and CEO of leading cloud graphics company OTOY, wants to use AI to give every single person the agency to create. He is speaking again at COSM 2022 (November 9–11 in Seattle). Go here to get the Early Adopter rate before September 15. Urbach, who started out in computer gaming at 18, is “a pioneer in computer graphics, streaming, and 3D rendering, with more than 25 years of industry experience. His experience has inspired him to try to help many more people be more creative: Jules Urbach dreams of a world in which anyone can be a creator and anything you imagine can be effortlessly brought to life in fantastic visual detail, without any prior visual graphics Read More ›

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Trail through a mysterious dark forest in fog. Autumn morning in Himalaya, Nepal. Magical atmosphere. Fairytale

Amazon’s Rings of Power: Some Warning Signs But Still Hope

The screenwriters had to create dialogue from Tolkien’s notes about the world in which Lord of the Rings is set

The first two episodes of the long-anticipated series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power were released on September 2nd on Amazon Prime. With a budget of over $1 billion, Rings of Power is the costliest TV show ever produced. It makes sense, then, that fans expected a lot from the premiere. Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy is widely considered a cinematic masterpiece, and millions of avid Tolkien readers are watching vigilantly for violations against the “canon.” The show stars a young Galadriel (Morfydd Clarke) as a stubborn, resilient warrior. For years, she has been tasked with eradicating any trace of evil after the apparent fall of Sauron, the rogue servant of the evil Morgoth. Read More ›

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The Butterfly Effect - Big Blue Butterfly appearing to create ripples in pink green water surface with plenty of copy space below

Science Fiction: Time Travel Can Work — If Clear Rules Are Chosen

I despise the Butterfly Effect in time travel stories because there is simply no way to establish what is at stake

Time travel is such a familiar story element (trope) in science fiction that it has a name, the Time Travel Trope. It annoys me — though much less than others — is the Time Travel trope. These story elements can drive classics such as The Terminator (1984) and utter garbage like A Sound of Thunder. (2005). Establishing the rules for time travel The main reason is that there are many different types of Time Travel stories as well as a variety of rules to go with them. The rules depend on which approach to time travel the writer chooses to take. The writer can chooses to go with the idea that the present and future are fixed, and regardless of Read More ›