Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


Abstract landscape. Colorful art landscape with the tower of Babel in dramatic light. Art illustration. Digital art image.

The New Tower of Babel

The old ways of arguing and understanding each other are on the decline, if not on life support.

We all know Babel (no, not the language learning company). It’s in Genesis. The Biblical story about God making so many languages and dialects and (let’s add) opinions that no one could understand each other or effectively communicate. One legacy of the triumph of digital technology and AI in every corner of our existence is that we’ve recreated this Babel. Let me try to unpack this, and bear with me if it seems I’m saying something derogatory about one belief or another — my aim is to avoid that game and try to explain the mechanism, the social and cultural story, by which our new Babel is ascendant, and the old ways of arguing and understanding each other are on Read More ›

Tower of Babel, Abstract Painting. Cubism

A New Review for Berlinksi’s Latest Book

Despite the wonders of the scientific enterprise, it is run by humans, and is thus fallible.

By David Klinghoffer By now the authority of science has been thoroughly abused. For that, you can thank scientists themselves, their promoters in government bodies and in university PR departments, and the legions of loyal pilot fish in popular and social media. Something really came undone in the Covid era. Today, the phrase “science says” or “doctors say” prompts a smirk from about half the population, and rightly so. To capture this reality, mathematician David Berlinski in his latest book, Science After Babel, evokes the image of Bruegel’s Tower of Babel — a bloated, vain enterprise, in denial of its own failings. The ancients saw science, and the other arts, as embodied by muses — beautiful young women. We may picture something more Read More ›


Meta Introduces New Translator Tool

Meta's goal of making a universal translator is starting to materialize

Meta has developed a new speech-to-text model that can translate almost 100 languages, according to The Verge. The announcement reflects Meta’s recent attempts to expand their AI sector. (RELATED: Meta’s Weird New Speech AI | Mind Matters) Emilia David writes, SeamlessM4T, which stands for Massively Multilingual and Multimodal Machine Translation, that the company said can translate speech-to-text and text-to-text for nearly 100 languages. For speech-to-speech and text-to-speech actions, it recognizes 100 input languages and converts them into 35 output languages. -Emilia David, Meta releases multilingual speech translation model – The Verge Meta’s ultimate goal is to make a “universal translator.” The multi-billion dollar technology company compared the new model to the “Babel Fish” in the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Read More ›