Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagMission Impossible

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What Mission Impossible Tells Us About AI Mythology

If you’re looking for an intelligent take on existential risk and superintelligent AI, the latest Mission Impossible movie is not for you.

Tom Cruise — I mean Ethan Hunt — likes to run. He likes to ride motorcycles. He’s always down to speed race cars. He’s all in on leaping out of windows, base jumping, and hand to hand combat. And he always wins the heart of the beautiful girl. You’ll see all this in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning, Part One, the latest in the long-running film series, and the film series’ foray into “existential risk” thinking about superintelligent AI. “The Entity,” as it’s called, is the nemesis that Hunt and other members of the mum’s-the-word spy organization IMF (Impossible Mission Force) must confront, against all odds, as it’s smarter than any human, and learning constantly. The Entity cleverly captures personal information about Hunt’s Read More ›

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Mission Impossible: Don’t Bother Me With Facts

The Tom Cruise action movie is built on faulty AI assumptions, but it's still entertaining

Ever watch a movie with a movie-talker? That’s someone who ruins a show by talking out loud over the audio. More than once, my wife has asked me, “What did he just say?” I usually have no idea because I didn’t understand either. But her question talks over the next few lines of the movie so the interval of me not hearing the audio is prolonged. I occasionally watch a movie with a good friend Lou, a former police officer. Lou’s a movie-talker, especially when we watch police movies. He’ll interrupt the movie with nit-picky comments like: “That’s not a real shotgun. A real shotgun would kick back, and the barrel would angle up after each shot. There was no Read More ›

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Mission Impossible: A Dead Reckoning With Artificial Intelligence

The villain in the new blockbuster movie is an artificial intelligence known simply as "the entity."

I walked into the theater expecting a typical villain in the latest installment of Mission Impossible starring the inimitable Tom Cruise. And at the film’s beginning, you’re definitely led to believe that the pale, sour-faced Russians are behind yet another espionage program destined to thwart America and conquer the world. But that’s only a front. The real villain in the new blockbuster movie is an artificial intelligence known simply as “the entity.” The impossible mission, tasked to Ethan Hunt (Cruise) is to track down a mysterious key, made of two separate parts, that apparently can unlock the entity and reveal what it’s capable of. God in the Machine Hunt and his usual gang of expatriates find themselves at odds with Read More ›