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Bingecast: George Montañez on Intelligence and the Turing Test

What do computer scientists say about the ability of machines to think? Alan Turing, the father of modern computer science, tackled the question in 1950 and proposed the Turing test as an answer. Is the Turing test important today? Can a deeper undertanding of intelligence be culled for the Turing test? Robert J. Marks discusses the Turing test, artificial intelligence, Read More ›

Two Astronauts on the Alien Planet Discover Plant Life. Space Travel, Discovery Of Habitable Worlds and Colonization Concept.

Is Intelligence Common or Rare in the Universe?

A recent analysis says that life is common but intelligence not so much. Let’s explore the reasoning

We really don't know anything about life elsewhere in the universe so even university-trained scientists often try to WISH it into existence.

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Unexplainability and Incomprehensibility of AI

In the domain of AI safety, the more accurate the explanation is, the less comprehensible it is

With AI decision-making, a non-trivial explanation can’t be both accurate and understandable but it can be inaccurate and comprehensible. There is a huge difference between understanding something and almost understanding it.

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The Turing Test, Artificial Intelligence, and Intelligent Design

Artificial intelligence and intelligent design both refer to the idea of “intelligence.” Is there a deeper understanding of intelligence that can be culled from the Turing test? Robert J. Marks discusses the Turing test, artificial intelligence, and intelligent design with Dr. George Montañez. Show Notes 00:33 | Introducing Dr. George Montañez, Iris and Howard Critchell Assistant Professor of Computer Science Read More ›

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Artificial Intelligence Is Actually Superficial Intelligence

The confusing ways the word “intelligence” is used belie the differences between human intelligence and machine sophistication

Words often have more meaning than we hear at first. Consider colors. We associate green with verdant, healthy life and red with prohibition and danger. But these inferences are not embedded in the basic meaning of “red” or “green.” They are cultural accretions we attach to words that enable the richness of language. That, by the way, is one reason why legal documents and technical papers are so difficult to read. The terms used are stripped clean of such baggage, requiring additional words to fill the gaps. The word “intelligent” is like that. Saying that a computer, or a program, is intelligent can lead us down a rabbit hole of extra meaning. An honest researcher merely means the computer has Read More ›


Is Salad Murder?

A Darwinian biologist wrestles with the significance of plant intelligence

If plants can sense things and communicate with each other, even though they lack a mind or brain, should they have rights? In an age of sometimes violent animal rights activism, that’s not an idle question. Plant physiologist Ulrich Kutschera, author of Physiology of Plants. Sensible Vegetation in Action (January 2019, German), talked about it in a recent interview: This is a serious issue which is related to plant intelligence. In April 2009, the Swiss Parliament discussed the topic of “plant ethics” and proposed to attribute to plants a kind of “Würde”, which can be translated as “dignity” (3). As a consequence, some radical plant ethics-activists have distributed T-shirts and other propaganda material with the slogan “Salad is murder”. Despite Read More ›


Is the octopus a “second genesis of intelligence”?

Can its strange powers provide insights for robotics or the human mind?
What’s really interesting about these stories is that, while we are learning that there is much intelligence in the animal (and plant) world, including some that can be applied to robotics, very little sheds light on explicitly human intelligence. Read More ›