Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

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Data reflecting on eyeglasses on man's face. Computrer programmer big data and ux designer concept

AI’s Illusion of Rapid Progress

It always seems to be on the verge of perfection
Too many people are extrapolating from the systems that are purportedly automated, even though they aren’t yet working properly. Read More ›
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Programmer working on their professional development types on a laptop computer keyboard. Coding Language User Interface on Screens. Development of software and coding, ChatGPT AI and webdesign

Why Build Process Automation Matters

Automated build processes allow for the standardization and systematization of your development pipeline.
Whether your development organization is a single individual or a large team, automated build processes provide numerous benefits to your group. Read More ›
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AGV (Automated guided vehicle) in warehouse logistic and transport.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission Sues Amazon

The lawsuit convicts Amazon of suppressing competition and stifling innovation from potential rivals

In a long-awaited lawsuit, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is suing Amazon for seeking to monopolize the online market, according to Reuters. The lawsuit convicts Amazon of suppressing competition and stifling innovation from potential rivals, arriving after years of complaints. From the Reuters article: he lawsuit, which was joined by 17 state attorneys general, follows a four-year investigation and federal lawsuits filed against Alphabet’s Google and Meta Platforms’ Facebook. “The FTC and its state partners say Amazon’s actions allow it to stop rivals and sellers from lowering prices, degrade quality for shoppers, overcharge sellers, stifle innovation, and prevent rivals from fairly competing against Amazon,” the agency said in a statement. The FTC said that it was asking the court Read More ›

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Human brain on a gray background

“Minding the Brain” Tops the Amazon Charts

The latest release from Discovery Institute Press is a #1 new release on Amazon

The latest release from Discovery Institute Press is a #1 new release on Amazon, in the bookseller’s “Consciousness & Thought Philosophy” section. Congratulations to the editors of Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science — Angus Menuge, Brian Krouse, and Robert J. Marks! The book has scored some terrific endorsements, including this: Materialism about the mind is a deeply entrenched assumption, so much so that alternative viewpoints are shrugged aside as inconsequential. Minding the Brain challenges that mindset, but not by giving a single, knock-down refutation of materialism or a single, obviously superior alternative. Instead, it presents a kaleidoscopic array involving multiple objections and multiple alternatives, authored by highly competent thinkers from neuroscience, consciousness studies, computer science, information theory, and Read More ›

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Tourists at Prague Old Town Square, large group of people gathered at the street looking up towards the camera.

The Life We’re Looking For: A Book Review

Andy Crouch's book on technology and human flourishing calls us to resist the urge to control and open ourselves up to deep relationships
Every so often a book comes along that puts a finger on the cultural moment in a way that directs, elucidates, convicts, and encourages. Read More ›
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Un robot IA traite le courrier

Don’t Tell Google Bard Your Secrets

Executives are warning employees of potential privacy leaks

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., advised its employees not to share personal information with the chatbot “Bard,” noting that doing so could lead to privacy leaks, which has reportedly already happened at Samsung. Kevin Hurler reports, Four sources close to the matter told Reuters that the massive tech giant has advised employees not to enter confidential information into chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google’s own Bard over fears of leaks. Alphabet is reportedly concerned with employees inputting sensitive information into these chatbots since human reviewers may sit on the other end reviewing chat entries. These chatbots may also use previous entries to train themselves, posing another risk of a leak. That risk is warranted, as Samsung confirmed last month that its own internal Read More ›

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Close up on drop splash of a healthy extra-virgin oil full of oligo elements and vitamins creating circular waves by falling down on the liquid and seamless pure surface shining with golden reflects.

Synthetic Biology: What New Therapies Are in Store?

For today's featured video from COSM 2022, watch Babak Parviz, Vice President at Amazon, lead a discussion on synthetic biology

For today’s featured video from COSM 2022, watch Babak Parviz, Vice President at Amazon, lead a discussion on synthetic biology, the multi-disciplinary field that applies engineering principles to redesign biological systems for new purposes. The panel focuses on bio-medical technologies that hold great promise for curing diseases and even counteracting human aging. For more material on the topic, see this piece on Altos Labs and their work on bio-longevity. Part of their project also involves artificial intelligence research: Altos Labs’ vision isn’t too far removed from that of the transhumanists who want to computerize human consciousness. For them, however, longevity is a junior varsity goal — what we really need is a way to live forever. Harrison quips at the Read More ›

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Adult student reading a book in the college library. Young standing male wearing glasses with bookshelves on background.

In the Wake of AI Books, What Does Authorship Mean?

While of course it's easy to use AI to generate text, the quality and storytelling are lacking.

We all know there are a lot of books out there. Perusing your local used bookstore and you may find hundreds of old romance paperbacks, and somehow most of them managed (at least at one point) to make the New York Times bestsellers’ list. It’s estimated that 500,000 to 1 million books are published each year, and that’s excluding self-published material. The publishing market has become saturated, with the average book selling less than 200 copies. From the advent of the printing press centuries ago to e-books and online publishing, humans alone have managed to generate a mountain of words. But suppose one person could “generate” not just a few books in a lifetime, but hundreds every year? According to Read More ›

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One Ring to Rule Them All

Amazon Can’t Quit Cashing Tolkiens

Will Tolkien's original vision get lost in the details, CGI, and cash cow maneuvers?

Amazon is now working on a massively multiplayer online (MMO) video game adaptation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings universe, which will be unrelated to the Prime TV show Rings of Power. Todd Spangler at Variety reports, Last year, Amazon Games cut a deal with Embracer-owned studio Crystal Dynamics for a new multiplatform title in the “Tomb Raider” series . Hartmann praised the Embracer team as “excellent collaborators.” “The world of Middle-earth continues to prove an endlessly fertile ground for creators, and Amazon Games has a passion for building immersive, compelling worlds and publishing games for a global audience,” said Lee Guinchard, CEO of Freemode, Embracer’s division that houses Middle-earth Enterprises. “We’re taking every care to deliver an MMO which will do justice Read More ›

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Audiobook education. Smartphone screen with audiobook application on paper books black background. Ebook e learning electronic internet mobility concept.

Audiobook Voice Actor: Storytelling Should Stay Human

Handing the narrative baton to a machine can bankrupt stories of their human element

New AI systems have carved inroads into many industries, not least of all those involving voice and audio. Now the audiobook business is in trouble; since AI has the increasingly good ability to mimic the human voice and generate words, many voice actors and readers have watched the demand for their contributions steadily fall. According to a report from Tech Explore, voice actor Tanya Eby, who has been in the business for 20 years, has seen her workload drop “by half.” Several of her colleagues report similar trends in their own work. AI startups like DeepZen, based in London, cheapen audiobook projects tremendously, making it a challenge for human actors to stay viable. DeepZen technology takes several different human voices Read More ›

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Computer Microchips and Processors on Electronic circuit board. Abstract technology microelectronics concept background. Macro shot, shallow focus.

The Microservices Controversy from a Software Management Perspective

As projects get bigger, so do the reasons for having a microservice architecture

A new report by Amazon has caused a bit of a stir on the Internet. In it, the Amazon Prime video team reported that changing their architecture from a microservice architecture to a monolithic architecture resulted in a 90% cost savings.  While the report itself was very mild (its only claim was that this architecture helped in this specific situation), it has caused the people who disliked the microservice trend to make some noise of their own. Here, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I see as the benefits of the microservice approach from a software development management perspective. If you are not familiar with microservice architectures, you can find out more information in my book, Cloud Read More ›

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Cell repairing nanobot technology, illustration

Pre-order Immortality Now (It’s Only 8 Years Away, Apparently)

A Google engineer predicts the "singularity" is coming and that we should get on board

Ray Kurzweil, a former Google engineer, thinks that humanity is a mere “eight years away” from achieving immortality. No, he’s not a spiritual leader predicting the eschaton. He’s not telling you to seek union with God and achieve immortality the old-fashioned way. He thinks we’ll be able to live forever via age-reversing “nanobots.” These “tiny robots” will correct damaged cells and make us immune to disease, thus leading to radically increased human longevity. Stacy Liberatore writes at Daily Mail, Now the former Google engineer believes technology is set to become so powerful it will help humans live forever, in what is known as the singularity. Singularity is a theoretical point when artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence and changes the path Read More ›

reaching out ai
White cyborg finger about to touch human finger 3D rendering

Robert Marks at The Daily Caller

Despite the confidence in new AI coming from Big Tech executives, it makes quite glaring mistakes

Robert J. Marks wrote a piece at The Daily Caller this week on artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, and the manifold problems of new AI systems like Google’s Bard and older ones such as Amazon’s Alexa. Despite the confidence in new AI coming from Big Tech executives, it makes quite glaring mistakes, although Marks believes AI has its genuine uses and benefits. Snapchat’s chatbot “My AI” gave advice about how to hide the smell of pot and alcohol to someone posing as a disgruntled teenager. Microsoft’s Bing bot professed its love for a tech journalist. A Google app made egregiously racist errors. ChatGPT is also politically biased despite claiming neutrality. Marks writes, Many warn of the future dangers of artificial intelligence. Many Read More ›

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unicorn on gold cube mountain . start up, illustration concept of leader on a market.3d rendering. 3d illustration.

Is Rationality Finally Emerging for Unicorn Share Prices?

Share prices are falling as losses continue to mount

2021 was a great year globally for venture capital and startups. Initial public offerings (IPOs) raised a record $594 billion in 2021 globally while VC funding is on track to hit a record $454 billion invested through the first three quarters of 2021.This is up from $332 billion for the first three quarters of 2020, which was the previous record for three quarters. U.S. startups also did well with big increases in both VC funding and IPOs in 2021. Almost $100 billion of funding was given to startups in the first three quarters while for the full year, there were 416 IPOs, of which 128 were from the tech section. The total amount raised was $156 billion, of which $69 billion was for the tech sector. Read More ›

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Florida Big Tech Law

The judge ruled that the law violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies

A federal judge struck down the recent Florida legislation aimed at reigning in the censorship powers of Big Tech, hours before it was set to go into effect. Within days of Governor DeSantis signing the bill into law in May, NetChoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed a lawsuit, representing the biggest names in social media (such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon). They argued that the new law is a violation of their First Amendment rights as private companies. On June 30, Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida ruled in favor of NetChoice and CCIA, issuing a preliminary injunction on the law after determining that it violates the First Amendment Read More ›

Big brother electronic eye concept, technologies for the global surveillance, security of computer systems and networks

A Book Review: The Tyranny of Big Tech

A beautiful defense of the common man and woman against a technological elite

“Our republic has never been more hierarchical, more riven by class, more managed by an elite than it is today,” writes Josh Hawley in The Tyranny of Big Tech. Who might that elite be? According to Hawley, it’s not our politicians, our lawyers, our Ivy League graduates, or our Hollywood celebrities. It’s Big Tech – those big names like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Google that have embedded themselves in our lives to an almost irreversible degree. Hawley has spent his career as a U.S. Senator, and formerly as Missouri’s Attorney General, holding Big Tech accountable where others don’t dare tread. In investigations, in legislation, and now in this book, Hawley has confronted the antitrust and privacy violations committed by Read More ›

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Books and crumpled paper in the bin. Books that do not read, low-grade literature, copy space

The Tyranny of Big Tech: The Book That Almost Wasn’t

How cancel culture came for a book taking on Big Tech monopolies

On May 4, Regnery Publishing released The Tyranny of Big Tech, a book written by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) uncovering the deceptive and antitrust practices of companies like Facebook and Google, and laying out a policy plan to break up the monopolies and protect the interests of America’s common men and women. The book has done well. In its first week, it became the number one bestseller in three separate categories on Amazon lists, and it made the Publisher’s Weekly list of hardcover nonfiction at No. 6. “Big Tech represents today’s robber barons,” Hawley writes in the first chapter, “who are draining prosperity and power away from the great middle of our society and creating, as they do, a new Read More ›

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Worker sits inside a box outdoors

Amazon’s “Mindful Practice Rooms” Backfire

It turns out the human soul needs far more than a telephone booth with a computer

Amazon posted a video this week featuring a “mindful practice room” – a new company initiative to give employees a mental and emotional break during their work day. The room is just one component of their WorkingWell program, which is intended to ease worker stress by providing them with tools and training for better physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The video did not go over as hoped, however, and Amazon took it down. The Guardian called the rooms “coffin-like booths”, Gizmodo called it “a dystopian solution” to long work hours and harsh conditions, and Twitter users went to town with their own sarcastic tweets and memes. The now-deleted video featured Amazon worker Leila Brown, creator of the “ZenBooth”, which she Read More ›

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Woman hand using smart phone with lock icon graphic at coffee shop. Technology business concept.

Censoring the Censors? Florida’s Anti-Censorship Law

What exactly does the law do, and why is Big Tech sponsoring a lawsuit to halt it?

Originally published by Dr. Karl Stephan at Engineering Ethics On May 24, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill designed to stop social media firms from censoring free speech. At least that’s what the governor’s website claims it does. Two big-tech industry groups, Netchoice and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), sued the state of Florida in early June over the legislation, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1. What exactly does the law do, and why are organizations such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google sponsoring a lawsuit to halt it? People of certain political persuasions need not look far for motivations to pass such a law. Following the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 of this year, Read More ›

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red vs orange

Parler vs. Amazon: Amazon Strikes Back!

Amazon is trying to avoid a state lawsuit through a hardball legal maneuver
Parler, an alternative social networking site, has been in a fierce legal battle with AWS/Amazon since it was removed from Amazon's platforms on January 10. Read More ›