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TagNorbert Wiener

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How Information Becomes Everything, Including Life

Without the information that holds us together, we would just be dust floating around the room

In Define information before you talk about it, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviewed engineering prof Robert J. Marks on the way information, not matter, shapes our world (October 28, 2021). In the first portion, Egnor and Marks discuss questions like: Why do two identical snowflakes seem more meaningful than one snowflake? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/3efb31b8-8406-43fb-a8f9-66a0b635215d-Mind-Matters-Episode-158-Robert-Marks-Egnor-Guest-Host-Information-Bingecast-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 01:02 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Michael Egnor: I know that information is a topic that you have a strong professional interest and a great deal of professional expertise. Probably the best way to start is to ask what is information? Robert J. Marks: It turns out that before talking about information, you really have to define it.…

Blockchain Network, Data Stream

Define Information Before You Talk About It: Egnor Interviews Marks

Has anyone ever given you some useless information? What does it even mean for information to be meaningful? This week, on Mind Matters News, guest host Dr. Michael Egnor interviews our own Robert J. Marks about information, as well as the creative limits of artificial intelligence, and why evolutionary algorithms aren’t the magic bullet they’re often presented to be. Show…

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Paul Werbos: Quantum Turing Machines

What are quantum Turing machines? In today’s Mind Matters News podcast, Dr. Robert J. Marks and Dr. Paul Werbos explore the mind-boggling science of the quantum realm. Tune in to discover Werbos’s thoughts on historical scientists such as Albert Einstein and David Deutsch, the multiverse theory, and Schrödinger’s cat. Show Notes 01:48 | Introducing Dr. Paul Werbos 02:07 | David…

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How Much of Your Income — and Life — Does Big Tech Control?

Erik J. Larson reviews the groundbreaking book Surveillance Capitalism, on how big corporations make money out of tracking your every move

In a review of Shoshana Zuboff’s groundbreaking Surveillance Capitalism (2019), computer science historian Erik J. Larson recounts a 1950s conflict of ideas between two pioneers, Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) and John McCarthy (1927–2011). Wiener warned, in his largely forgotten book The Human Use of Human Beings (1950), about “new forms of control made possible by the development of advancing technologies.” McCarthy, by contrast, coined the term “artificial intelligence” (1956), implying his belief in “the official effort to program computers to exhibit human-like intelligence.” His “AI Rules” view came to be expressed not in a mere book but in — probably — hundreds of thousands of media articles warning about or celebrating the triumph of AI over humanity. If you are skeptical…

Question Signs

Information Is the Currency of Life. But What IS It?

How do we understand information in a universe that resists resolution into one single, simple system?

At first, “What is information?” seems like a question with a simple answer. Stuff we need to know. Then, if we think about it, it dissolves into paradoxes. A storage medium—a backup drive, maybe—that contains vital information weighs exactly the same as one that contains nothing, gibberish, or dangerously outdated information. There is no way we can know without engaging intelligently with the content. That content is measured in bits and bytes, not kilograms and joules—which means that it is hard to relate to other quantities in our universe. In this week’s podcast, “Robert J. Marks on information and AI, Part 1.” neurosurgeon Michael Egnor interviews Walter Bradley Center director and computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks on how we…

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Robert J. Marks on Information and AI (Part I)

What is information? How is information created? Will artificial intelligence ever be creative? Dr. Michael Egnor discusses information theory, correlations, and creative artificial intelligence with Dr. Robert J. Marks. Show Notes 00:27 | Introducing Dr. Robert J. Marks 01:14 | What is information? 06:44 | Exact representations of data 08:29 | A system with minimal information 09:27 | Information in…