Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


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Stem Cells Might Cure HIV?

We must always be cautious about stories touting biotechnological cures

We must always be cautious about stories touting biotechnological cures. There is a lot of hype out there, but this seems genuine. An HIV/blood-cancer patient seems to have gone into permanent remission thanks to adult stem cells. From the Daily Mail story: A California man is on the cusp of being declared cured of HIV and blood cancer. Paul Edmonds, 68, who made international headlines last year when he shared his story, still has no traces of either condition five years after being given a transplant of cells that rid his body of both diseases. In a new article by the medical team who treated him, doctors said he was officially cured of cancer and two years away from being declared cured of HIV — when he will have gone Read More ›

high risk cholesterol test results

Can an 18th Century Statistician Help Us Think More Clearly?

Distinguishing between types of probability can help us worry less and do more

Thomas Bayes (1702–1761) (pictured), a statistician and clergyman, developed a theory of decision-making which was only discussed after his death and only became important in the 20th century. It is now a significant topic in philosophy, in the form of Bayesian epistemology. Understanding Bayes’ Rule may be essential to making good decisions. Let’s say that you are a generally healthy person and have no symptoms of any illness and no specific risk factors for any illness. Acting on a friend’s suggestion, you get screened for a variety of diseases, just to be sure. Of the diseases you test for, the HIV test comes back positive. You read on the package that the test is 99.6% accurate. Are you more likely Read More ›