How Can Consciousness Be a Material Thing?Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness
Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Expose a Key ProblemMost moderators are not skilled and have only a few seconds to decide on a post
Your Phone Knows Everything NowAnd in a world where no data is anonymous, yours may be sold to the highest bidder
Research Showing That Fake News Easily Fools Us CollapsesA recent paper claiming that low-quality news (“fake news”) spreads as quickly on social media as accurate news has been retracted by its authors.
It’s 2019: Begin the AI Hype Cycle Again!Media seemingly can’t help portraying today’s high-tech world as a remake of I, Robot (2004), starring you and me.
AI: Think About Ethics Before Trouble ArisesA machine learning specialist reflects on Micah 6:8 as a guide to developing ethics for the rapidly growing profession
Will artificial intelligence design artificial super-intelligence?And then turn us all into super-geniuses, as some AI researchers hope? No, and here's why not
Can an Algorithm Be Racist?No, the machine has no opinion. It processes vast tracts of data. And, as a result, the troubling hidden roots of some data are exposed
How Can Information Theory Help the Economy Grow?New information is the true source of new wealth; everyone wins when we learn how to produce it more efficiently
In One Sense, Consciousness IS an Illusion…We have no knowledge of the processes of our consciousness, only of the objects of its attention, whether they are physical, emotional, or abstract
How Can We Measure Meaningful Information?Neither randomness nor order alone creates meaning. So how can we identify communications?
Is Salad Murder?A Darwinian biologist wrestles with the significance of plant intelligence
If plants can sense things and communicate with each other, even though they lack a mind or brain, should they have rights? In an age of sometimes violent animal rights activism, that’s not an idle question. Plant physiologist Ulrich Kutschera, author of Physiology of Plants. Sensible Vegetation in Action (January 2019, German), talked about it in a recent interview: This is a serious issue which is related to plant intelligence. In April 2009, the Swiss Parliament discussed the topic of “plant ethics” and proposed to attribute to plants a kind of “Würde”, which can be translated as “dignity” (3). As a consequence, some radical plant ethics-activists have distributed T-shirts and other propaganda material with the slogan “Salad is murder”. Despite Read More ›
Be Choosy About What You Automate!Having automated many processes, I can assure you that that is the First Rule of Automation
Study Shows Eating Raisins Causes Plantar WartsSure. Because, if you torture a Big Data enough, it will confess to anything
How is Human Language Different from Animal Signals?What do we need from language that we cannot get from signals alone?
Quantum Randomness Gives Nature Free WillWhether or not quantum randomness explains how our brains work, it may help us create unbreakable encryption codes
When I was boy, my father explained free will and predestination to me: I dig a fence post hole. · Did I create the hole because of my own free will? · Or was the hole already there and I simply removed the dirt? If true, the hole was predestined. The question cannot be answered by examining the evidence. In philosophy terms, it is “empirically unanswerable.” That is the sort of stuff that philosophers debate. Religious people might point to scripture to support one conclusion over the other.1 In physics, however, quantum randomness offers a definitive answer to the question of predestination vs. free will—for subatomic particles. In the world of classical physics (Isaac Newton’s physics), it can be argued Read More ›
Has Neuroscience Disproved Thinking?A philosopher argues that Nobel Prize-winning research shows that the theory of mind is just another illusion, useful for survival and success
Robert J. Marks Talks Computers with Michael MedvedComputers can magnify what we do, he says, and that's the real threat
Can Plants Be as Smart as Animals?Seeking to thrive and grow, plants communicate extensively, without a mind or a brain
None of the plants' extensive "social life" requires reason, emotion, value systems, mind, consciousness, or a sense of self. It requires only that the plant, like an animal, seek to continue its highly organized existence. But plants' ability to process information for that purpose gives pause for thought.Read More ›