Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagJonathan Bartlett

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Computer error

Can AI Really Know When It Shouldn’t Be Trusted?

Some researchers claim to have taught AI how to recognize its own untrustworthiness. Others say that’s impossible

Recently, we were told that artificial intelligence is now smart enough to know when it can’t be trusted: How might The Terminator have played out if Skynet had decided it probably wasn’t responsible enough to hold the keys to the entire US nuclear arsenal? As it turns out, scientists may just have saved us from such a future AI-led apocalypse, by creating neural networks that know when they’re untrustworthy. David Nield, “Artificial Intelligence Is Now Smart Enough to Know When It Can’t Be Trusted” at ScienceAlert (November 25, 2020) That’s a big claim. Intelligent humans often can’t know when they are untrustworthy. These deep learning neural networks are designed to mimic the human brain by weighing up a multitude of…

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smart retail concept, robot service use for check the data of or Stores that stock goods on shelves with easily-viewed barcode and prices or photo compared against an idealized representation of store

WalMart Shelves Its Robot Inventory Clerks

These costly experiences are helping businesses better understand when automation works and when it just doesn’t

The WalMart automation project started in 2017, as part of an effort to compete with Amazon: Walmart, which posted record online sales in its recent quarter, now has more workers walking the aisles to package online orders, extracting new data on inventory problems, people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report this news. Reuters Staff, “Walmart drops plans to use robots for tracking inventory” at Reuters Here’s some background: Walmart ended the partnership because it found different, sometimes simpler solutions that proved just as useful – something that came to light during the coronavirus pandemic as more shoppers flock to online delivery and pickup, forcing Walmart to have workers physically walk store…

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Cells under a microscope. Cell division. Cellular Therapy. 3d illustration on a dark background

New Book: Our Bodies’ Cells Are a “Third Infinity” of Information

If the first cell somehow morphed into existence without the ability to reproduce, it would also have been the last cell.

Recently, computer engineer and philosopher Jonathan Bartlett pointed out that Elon Musk has inadvertently highlighted the biggest problem with origin of life studies: How life originated is not as difficult a question as how it originated with the ability to reproduce. If the first cell somehow morphed into existence without the ability to reproduce, it would also have been the last cell. The only cell, in fact. Musk, as it happens, was talking about the production of cars when he tweeted, “The machine that makes the machine is vastly harder than the machine itself.” He estimated “1000% to 10,000% harder.” Indeed, and that’s also true of the cells that comprise just about every living being. Our cells not only live…

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abstract binary code science computing center

Can AI Really Evolve into Superintelligence All by Itself?

We can’t just turn a big computer over to evolution and go away and hope for great things

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…

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Inner Life of Super Human AI

GPT-3 Is “Mindblowing” If You Don’t Question It Too Closely

AI analysts sound unusually cautious in pointing out that it doesn’t live up to a lot of the hype

Last week, Jonathan Bartlett wrote about the somewhat misleading buzz around the new OpenAI third-generation software, GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer). And now—for a change—much of the industry has begun to seem socially distant, so to speak, from the reckless hype that has accompanied other releases. For example, one article starts off breathlessly: The artificial intelligence tool GPT-3 has been causing a stir online, due to its impressive ability to design websites, prescribe medication, and answer questions… Its predecessor, GPT-2, made headlines for being deemed “too dangerous to release” because of its ability to create text that is seemingly indistinguishable from those written by humans. While GPT-2 had 1.5 billion parameters which could be set, GPT-3 has 175 billion parameters. A…

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crypto currency concept

Is Crypto Just a Flash in the Pan?

Or, to put it more bluntly, will blockchain ever grow up to be a real financial system? Forbes says yes, cautiously
Will blockchain and other non-government currencies ever grow up to be a real financial system? What about the weird Canadian crypto uproar in which the only a dead man knows the code to release the missing millions? Read More ›
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CCTV camera or surveillance operating in glass building

At Scientific American: Starve artificial intelligence!

Silicon Valley authors seek to limit AI's power. Jonathan Bartlett doesn't think it really has the power they are worried about

Jonathan Bartlett agrees with Valley pioneers Davidow and Malone, authors of The Autonomous Revolution (2020) that there are real problems with the misuse of AI. But, he says, that’s because we treat it as powerful. It is a servant but we make it a master.   

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Blackboard inscribed with scientific formulas and calculations in physics and mathematics.

Bartlett’s Calculus Paper Reviewed in Mathematics Magazine

The paper offers fixes for long-standing flaws in the teaching of elementary calculus

Jonathan Bartlett tells us, “The review was mixed, but most importantly the reviewer didn’t disagree with the results, only their potential usefulness."

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Three young excited men holding joysticks

Jonathan Bartlett recalls the Rise and Fall of PlayStation 3 Supercomputers

And how, at one point, he got kicked out of a WalMart on that account. Hey, high tech means vulnerability

When the PlayStation 3 came out, there was no other computer like it (late 2006/early 2007). The design was especially appealing for two uses: high-speed graphics and scientific calculations. So, despite its reputation, it got used for purposes other than playing games. 

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Improve Your Job Chances by Scaling the Cloud

WBC Fellow Releases introductory book on Building Scalable PHP web applications using the cloud

One new issue that the cloud creates is that programmers are more often required to be “full stack” developers,” Jonathan Bartlett explains. “Unfortunately, most programmers coming out of college have little to no system administration experience. That’s why this book is based on the ‘full stack’ concept, showing how system administration and programming relate to each other.”

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The Three Laws of Robotics Have Failed the Robots

Almost no one out there thinks that Isaac Asimov's Three Laws could work for truly intelligent AI
Prolific science and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992) developed the Three Laws of Robotics, in the hope of guarding against potentially dangerous artificial intelligence. Jonathan Bartlett, Brendan Dixon, and Eric Holloway discuss what went wrong. Read More ›
Gold chess piece on computer mainboard. Concept of IT strategy, making decision, technology background.

Henry Kissinger on Why We Must Adapt to AI

He thinks chessbot AlphaZero is “no longer constrained by the limits of human knowledge.” But is the story much simpler?

Walter Bradley Center fellows aren’t really in a position to respond to the demands for "metamorphosis" (total transformation); they could and did, however, respond to specific claims made in the article for winning chessbot AlphaZero.

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How Do We Know Our Universe Is Not a Sim World?

It’s an interesting idea, say Bradley fellows, but for a number of reasons, it is not credible

The computer sim universe seems to be a way of dealing with the massive evidence of the fine-tuning of our universe without invoking traditional philosophy or religion.

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1973 Computer Program: The World Will End in 2040

Jonathan Bartlett offers some thoughts on a frantic, bizarre - but instructive - computer-driven prediction

Viewers may find the attitudes to experts and to computers shown in the video both quaint and disturbing. For that reason, the video is a helpful reminder of the limits of both.

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Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip
Processor of the future. Concept of global cyberspace. Innovations in computer nanotechnology. 3D illustration of an abstract microchip

Are we risking a planetary AI intelligence explosion?

Or are our problems with AI the usual boring stuff we prefer to avoid?

Mind Matters News asked some of our house computer science experts for comment.

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Walter Bradley Center Fellow Discovers Longstanding Flaw in an Aspect of Elementary Calculus

The flaw doesn't lead directly to wrong answers but it does create confusion

The lead author, Jonathan Bartlett, noted that the likely source of the bad notation was a philosophical issue. Because no one wanted to give differentials that same ontological status as other numbers, everyone presumed that the notational problems were simply the result of this fact, and no one pursued it further.

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The Human Mind from a Computer Science Perspective

The Blyth Institute’s new journal will offer a focus on artificial intelligence and philosophy as well as philosophical questions in mathematics and engineering
Communications is intended as a discussion forum for fresh ideas in a variety of areas, including philosophy of mind as seen from a computer science perspective. Read More ›
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Human intelligence as a halting oracle

Jonathan Bartlett proposes to model the human mind as a halting oracle
A common objection to Bartlett’s idea is that humans cannot be halting oracles because we embed any unsolvable math problem as the halting condition for a loop and a human cannot tell us whether the loop will halt or not. This objection misses the fact that there is a range of oracles between plain Turing machines and a complete halting oracle. Read More ›