Mind Matters Reporting on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

TagJohn von Neumann

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Intelligent robot cyborg using digital globe interface 3D rendering

Why AI Geniuses Think They Can Create True Thinking Machines

Early on, it seemed like a string of unbroken successes …

In George Gilder’s telling, the story goes back to Bletchley Park, where British codebreakers broke the “unbreakable” Nazi ciphers. In Gaming AI, the tech philosopher and futurist traces the modern concept of a machine that really thinks for itself back to its earliest known beginnings. Free for download, his concise book also explains why the programmers were bound to fail in their quest for the supermachine. But let’s start with why they thought—and many today still think— it could work. Success emboldened the pioneers to dream of a final AI triumph They had every reason to be emboldened by success. Special computers called “bombes,” created by Alan Turing’s team, broke every version of the famous Enigma code used by the…

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Flush royal in poker player hand. Lucky winner.

Does AI Really “Get” Poker? Why That Matters.

Science journalist Maria Konnikova, also a professional poker player, explores the human side of poker and efforts to automate it

Maria Konnikova (left), a science journalist who quit a good gig to become a poker player, learned a a good deal about the human side of the game and about AI programmers’ efforts at automating it. Along the way, she won money and wrote a book, The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win (June 2020). In an excerpt at Wired, she reflects on the fact that computer pioneer John von Neumann (1903–1957) was a poker player and “Not just a poker player, but someone for whom poker inspired brilliant insights into human decisionmaking, someone who considered it the ultimate game for approximating the strategic challenges of life.” Poker is a game of skill but…

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man riding on self balancing board graffiti

Election Models: Predicting the Past is Easy — and Useless

You can seldom see where you are going by looking in a rear-view mirror
I told my students that I had a model that predicted the popular vote for the the last ten presidential elections (1980–2016) perfectly. Read More ›
3D technology background with code over male head
3D render of a technology background with code over male head

The Brain Exceeds the Most Powerful Computers in Efficiency

Human thinking takes vastly less computational effort to arrive at the same conclusions.
All of the tasks that AI accomplishes require a certain amount of memory, computational power, and time. We have a good enough understanding of the human brain to measure the same quantities used for the same tasks. Thus, we can measure the difference between what minds and machines require to solve the same problem. Read More ›