The 2022 COSM conference saw a number of remarkable speakers, including winner of last year’s prestigious Kyoto Prize, Carver Mead, and Forbes editor John Tamny, who is featured in today’s highlighted video from the conference. Tamny sat down with philosopher Jay Richards to share his thoughts on the conference and his views on the future of money, especially regarding cryptocurrencies versus traditional forms. You can watch the conversation here, and can also access many other great talks and interviews on the Center’s main YouTube page.
AI is a tool. In the words of Robert J. Marks from an interview at last year’s COSM conference, it can’t be a “friend or foe,” because it’s not a living entity. It’s something that can be used (or abused). Such a neutral, balanced attitude toward AI is alien to many Big Tech moguls who are pitching AI as the solution to many of the world’s complicated problems. For them, on the flipside of the doomsday alarmists, AI will usher in a new epoch of human progress. They may be partially right about that, but according to this writer at Slate, their hype reflects a commitment to technological “solutionism,” the idea that tech, once adequately suited for the task, can Read More ›
Note: Mind Matters News is made possible by support from the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence, a project of the non-profit Discovery Institute. Here is a report of our activities for 2022. If you benefit from the work of Mind Matters News, could you donate to support our work in 2023? Humans are unique and will never be replaced by the machines they invent. That was the powerful takeaway from this year’s new book by Walter Bradley Center Director Robert J. Marks, Non-Computable You: What You Do that Artificial Intelligence Never Will. The release of Marks’ book was one of many ways that the Bradley Center advanced its mission in 2022 to defend human dignity and creativity Read More ›
On November 10th, the COSM conference hosted a special panel on electric vehicles (EVs for short). Brian Mistele, founder and CEO of Inrix, a leading provider of traffic information, car services, and transportation analytics, moderated the discussion. Aside from Mistele, the panel included Howard Hayden, professor emeritus at the University of Connecticut and editor of The Energy Advocate, Walter Myers, Principal Manager on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-based platform, and Tony Posawatz, an automotive industry pioneer and chief executive of Fisker Automotive. They brought a range of perspectives on the pros and cons of EVs and where the auto industry is heading. Posawatz kicked off the panel by giving a brief overview of automobile history. He said, There was electric and folks Read More ›
The Van Gogh Test for sheer creativity? Thursday night at COSM presented a live, in-person interview with Federico Faggin, the Italian physicist and computer engineer who co-won the prestigious Kyoto prize in 1997 for helping develop the Intel 4004 chip. Faggin was interviewed by technology reporter Maria Teresa Cometto, who asked him to regale the audience with tales about helping to design early microchips. Eventually Faggin recounted a time when he was “studying neuroscience and biology, trying to understand how the brain works,” and came upon a startling realization: And at one point I asked myself, “But wait a second, I mean these books, all this talk about electrical signals, biochemical signals, but when I taste some chocolate, I mean Read More ›
Last Thursday morning at COSM, a panel of experts debated whether truly sentient artificial intelligence (AI) could potentially exist — and even whether it already does. Robert J. Marks, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at Baylor University, opened by criticizing the Turing test, as a measure of whether we’ve produced genuine AI. Developed by the famous English mathematician and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing, the test holds that if we can’t distinguish a machine’s conversational discourse from that of a real human, then it must exhibit humanlike intelligence. Marks maintains that this is the wrong test for detecting true AI. In his view, the Turing test fails because it “looks at a book and tries to judge Read More ›
On November 10th, Marian L. Tupy, a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, spoke at this year’s COSM technology summit on behalf of his new book Superabundance: The Story of Population Growth, Innovation, and Human Flourishing on an Infinitely Bountiful Planet. Tupy co-wrote the book with Gale L. Pooley, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute and associate professor of business management at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Their book takes a contrarian view of economics, scarcity, and the idea that an excessive human population diminishes the world’s resources. As the book’s title suggests, Tupy and Pooley take the opposite view: the world’s resources increase with population growth. During the COSM session, Tupy said, The caveman had the same natural resources at Read More ›
Peter Thiel is a classic in people you should know about but possibly don’t. He helped get PayPal and LinkedIn started and he tries to think about where new tech is taking us. He spoke at COSM 2022 on that topic and he mentions a book that should set us thinking: The high-level question I want to ask today is, basically, how should we think about AI? Should we think of it as intelligent, conscious, or merely evil? The book that I think is interesting is that of Wang Huning, who’s the number four guy in the entire communist government [of China]. He’s sort of the professor and theorist of Xi Jinping thought. And he wrote this book [about his Read More ›
BELLEVUE, WA — Speaking to tech leaders and investors at COSM 2022 in the Seattle area, entrepreneur Peter Thiel provocatively asked “why do so many people in Silicon Valley believe in the simulation hypothesis that the entire universe, the cosmos, is just a computer simulation? Why do they believe something as crazy as this?” Actually, noted Thiel, the belief that our world is a simulation has now faded somewhat: I think probably the peak belief in the simulation hypothesis was maybe something like a decade ago, maybe circa 2012 to 2015, and it has probably faded some. We’ll still have Gen Z people say that things are a glitch in the simulation or there’s still some sort of passive reference Read More ›
A panel at COSM 2021 aired a disagreement between philosopher of technology George Gilder and political analyst Newt Gingrich. Gingrich argued that China is the greatest threat to global freedom while Gilder felt that claims about forced labor, for example, are overstated and that we must co-operate with China for technological advances. In the background is China’s 24/7 surveillance of the entire population, the door-to-door identification of and crackdown on religious believers, as well as on civil rights activists. The situation in China has changed a great deal over the past half decade which marked the Uyghur internment camps and the premature takeover of Hong Kong. As Michael Schuman puts it: China today is in the grip of the most Read More ›
Listen to maverick entrepreneur Peter Thiel’s talk from last year’s COSM conference. Thiel discusses his views of artificial intelligence, Big Tech’s monopoly, China, and the future of technology with legendary tech guru George Gilder. You can register now to hear Peter Thiel and George Gilder at this year’s COSM conference in November. Show Notes 00:50 | Introducing Peter Thiel 01:12 Read More ›
Peter Thiel, who spoke by interactive video to the COSM conference last October, is probably the most remarkable of the Silicon Valley insiders. A fuller version of his discussions with tech philosopher George Gilder has just been released. What makes Thiel (think PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX) unique is that he so much contradicts the Valley stereotype and is certainly not afraid to tell the Valley its faults. In fact, he moved down to Los Angeles in 2018, fed up with the Valley as a one-party state. He suggested in 2019 that Google be investigated for treason for refusing to work with the Pentagon but helping the Chinese military. Most of the time, though, Thiel prefers Read More ›
At COSM 2019, Jay Richards interviewed AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch (the guy who says your smart phone will disappear). Is that true? And how will we live? From the interview: Andre Fuetsch: We are now on the brink of being able to connect many, many more things than we’ve ever seen before. And just by the fact of being able to connect more things … look at the more traditional wireless networks that we’ve had in the preceding generations. It frankly was just about connecting phones, right? “Some were sort of dumb phones, some were more feature phones. Some are now obviously more smartphones. And these were really more of kind of a one to one relationship with people. 5G, Read More ›
Last October, Jay Richards, author of The Human Advantage, caught up with Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, a Baylor University computer engineering prof, at COSM 2019 to ask, what are our cheat-death chances? They were responding to futurist Ray Kurzweil’s heady claims made at the conference that we will merge with computers by 2045 and live on as AI. Richards and Marks reflected on Kurzweil’s claims and the thoughts of the panel responding to them. Here’s a partial transcript: Jay Richards: He’s (Kurzweil, below right) very much a sort of, I’d say, a techno-optimist. And in fact, he sort of thinks we’re going to get brain scans and upload ourselves, whereas the panel… Though I know there was a Read More ›
George Montañez, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College, took issue with Kurzweil’s claim that AlphaGoZero needed no instructions to beat humans at the game of Go: “For a system like this to work, a human must define the incentive structure, also encoding the assumptions.” The sheer power of a computing system does not cause it to do anything at all.
Advocates point to the success of Kurzweil’s past predictions as evidence that his Singularity is indeed Near, as his 2005 book predicts or Nearer, as his forthcoming one (June 2020) does. But questions bubbled to the surface.
“People envision a future delivering mobility as a service,” Bryan Mistele of INRIX told the COSM Technology Summit, contrasting the Millennials’ approach with that of earlier generations who tended, at the same age, to see driving as a form of freedom.
Fuetsch asks us to think of 3G (2001) and 4G (2010) internet as the difference between a junior high school rock band and a high school rock band: “The high school band is a lot louder and a lot faster.” And 5G? “It is a 40-piece orchestra. A wide spectrum of abilities but tight structure and control.”