For today’s featured video from the COSM 2022, check out this interview between journalist Maria Teresa Cometto and Frederico Faggin. Faggin discussed his background and how he came to design the first commercial microprocessor at Intel. For more similar material, visit the Center’s YouTube page to enjoy more lectures and videos from past COSM conferences.
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 ›
For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer that runs the Linux operating system. It can be either operated as a desktop computer or as an embedded system (i.e., a custom electronic device), or both. Historically, computer systems were either general-purpose computers or embedded systems. General-purpose computers required too much hardware, too many chips, and too much power to work inside an electronic device. However, as manufacturers packed more and more functionality into less and less space using less and less power, eventually it became possible to have a computer that was small, cheap, powerful, and not especially power-hungry. The Raspberry Pi came about right as this was happening. A Raspberry Pi is a full computer that is not much Read More ›
AI-generated content has become increasingly common on the web. However, as we enter this new era, we will need to think through the moral and social ramifications of what we are doing, and how we should negotiate the new ethical landscape. But first, a brief recap of recent history. The first major player to pioneer AI-generated content was the Associated Press. AP realized that many market-oriented articles were pretty monotonous and read like templates anyway, so they decided to fully commit and auto-generate many of them. If you read an AP story about a company’s earnings report and it sounds eerily like every other story about other companies’ earnings reports, there’s a reason for that. Templated content, while annoying, provides window-dressing to raw Read More ›
To some extent, ChatGPT is a newer, easier-to-use interface than Google. Unlike Google, it doesn’t make you waste time by visiting those pesky websites. It not only looks into its database for content, but it also summarizes it for you as paragraphs. There is a problem lurking in there, however. Being computers, neither Google nor ChatGPT cares about the truth. They are algorithms, and they merely do as they are told. Additionally, you can’t code the human mind into algorithms. However, there is a fundamental difference between what ChatGPT does and what Google does that will prevent content generators like ChatGPT from displacing search engines like Google: Google eventually lets you out of its system. Ultimately, the goal of search Read More ›
ChatGPT is a direct descendent of GPT-3, and is a fancy form of a fancy machine learning algorithm called a neural network. For an overview of all of ChatGPT’s neural network complexity, here is a fun article. However, all that is beside the point. The important thing about a neural network: It can only generate what is in its training data. Therefore, ChatGPT can only produce what is in its training data. ChatGPT’s training data does not include the conversation you or I are having with ChatGPT. Therefore, if something novel occurs in the conversation, ChatGPT cannot reproduce it. That is, if ChatGPT is a neural network. Conversely, if ChatGPT reproduces novel text from the conversation, then ipso facto ChatGPT is not a Read More ›
Artificial intelligence is making great strides in 2022. A few months ago, the company OpenAI introduced DALL-E, a text-to-image generator, which they made open to the public. Some have raised concerns over the future role of artists and copyright issues considering AI art generators. Does AI pose a threat to human creators? Well, that question just got weightier and more multifaceted. OpenAI just released ChatGPT, what writer Jacob Carpenter calls, “the most advanced, user-friendly chatbot to enter the public domain.” ChatGPT can “write lines of code, pen a college-level essay, author responses in the voice of a pirate, and write a piano piece in Mozart’s style.” Carpenter goes on to point out that some are wondering if the chatbot threatens Read More ›
Are we on the verge of the era of machines? Is AI destined to supplant most human endeavors and activities? Can a computer be deemed a person? And if so, should that computer be granted rights as part of the moral community? Will we ever attain immortality by uploading our minds into computers as transhumanists predict? And what the heck Read More ›
If no one is looking at the moon, does it exist? Why has materialism been around for so long? Will computers ever be conscious? What happens to our consciousness after we die? Bernardo Kastrup tackles these questions and more with Michael Egnor in another bingecast! Show Notes 0:00:28 | Introducing Dr. Bernardo Kastrup 0:01:22 | How quantum mechanics points to Read More ›
Duncan Riach, who believes that computers can become selves, doesn’t believe in consciousness. As he explains, I’ve lost friends over this because a denial of consciousness undermines a final refuge of the arrogance of selfhood: universal consciousness. But even most normal people are strongly insistent that consciousness is a real thing, a special thing, and that they possess it. The problem I have is that there’s not only no evidence for it, but what people seem to be referring to as consciousness is explainable as an effect no more unusual, no less materialistically explainable, than water flowing downhill… Rather than jumping to the conclusion that this body has a soul and/or that somehow this “I am,” this feeling of something Read More ›
In last week’s podcast, “Enrique Blair on quantum computing,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks talks with fellow computer engineer Enrique Blair about why quantum mechanics is so strange. The discussion turned to why Albert Einstein, a brilliant but orderly mathematical thinker, did not really like quantum mechanics at all and what we should learn from that: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-110-Enrique-Blair.mp3 The discussion of Einstein and “spooky action at a distance” (his way of describing quantum particles’ behavior) starts at approximately 27:45. The Show Notes and transcript follow. Excerpts from the transcript: Robert J. Marks: Albert Einstein didn’t like quantum mechanics or certain aspects of quantum mechanics. Dd he die thinking that quantum mechanics was a fluke? Enrique Blair (pictured): That’s an Read More ›
Carbon, a very abundant chemical element, is one of the building blocks of life, partly on account of its stability. It is a minimalist element, compared to the silicon used in computing today: … carbon dioxide is is a small gaseous molecule consisting of two oxygens both forming a double bond with a single carbon while silicon dioxide is a massive behemoth of a molecule made of huge numbers of alternating oxygen and silicon atoms and is more commonly known as sand. S. E. Gould, “Shine on you crazy diamond: why humans are carbon-based lifeforms” at Scientific American (November 11, 2012) But there’s something else about carbon. As George Gilder puts it, carbon-based life forms, like humans, consume very little Read More ›
The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour indistinguishable from a human. Many think that Turing’s proposal for intelligence, especially creativity, has been proven inadequate. Is the Lovelace test a better alternative? What are the capabilities and limitations of AI? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Selmer Bringsjord discuss Read More ›
At Science earlier this year it was claimed that Darwinian evolution alone can make computers much smarter. As a result, researchers hoped to “discover something really fundamental that will take a long time for humans to figure out”: Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving—literally. Researchers have created software that borrows concepts from Darwinian evolution, including “survival of the fittest,” to build AI programs that improve generation after generation without human input. The program replicated decades of AI research in a matter of days, and its designers think that one day, it could discover new approaches to AI. Edd Gent, “Artificial intelligence is evolving all by itself” at Science (April 30, 2020) How does that work? The program discovers algorithms using a Read More ›
In this week’s podcast, “Can Computers Think?”, Michael Egnor continued his discussion with philosopher and computer programmer Bernardo Kastrup. As a scientist, Bernardo has worked for The European Organization for Nuclear Research and for Phillips Research Laboratories, and has authored many academic papers and books. This week, they look at a big question, “Will computers ever be conscious?”. But Egnor brought up an even bigger one: “What happens to our consciousness after we die?” As a scientist, Kastrup has worked for The European Organization for Nuclear Research and for Phillips Research Laboratories and has authored many academic papers and books. He is a leading advocate of cosmopsychism, the idea that intelligence did not randomly evolve somehow to help life forms Read More ›
Will computers ever be conscious? What happens to our consciousness after we die? Has science made philosophy irrelevant? Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Bernardo Kastrup discuss consciousness, artificial intelligence, and philosophy. Show Notes 00:38 | Introducing Dr. Bernardo Kastrup 01:12 | Can computers think? 03:34 | Intentionality 07:11 | Does the natural world have a person behind it? 10:34 | Read More ›
The underlying problem with creating immortality by uploading our minds to computers is that people are conscious and even the most sophisticated foreseeable computers are not. And we are not at all sure what consciousness even IS.
As a jokester recently demonstrated, even “shirts without stripes” is a fundamental, unsolvable problem for computers
April 21, 2020
At first, “shirts without stripes” might not seem like much of an issue but it turns out that many important and interesting problems for computers fundamentally reduce to this “halting problem.” And understanding human language is one of these problems.