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TagSelmer Bringsjord

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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maybe—that contains vital information weighs exactly the same as one that contains nothing, gibberish, or dangerously outdated information.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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Can AI Write the Great American Novel? Or Compose Sports News?

It’s a split decision, say Rensselaer prof Selmer Bringsjord and Baylor computer engineering prof Robert J. Marks

In a recent podcast, Rensselaer professor Selmer Bringsjord discusses AI and creativity with computer engineering professor and Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks. The difference between writing novels and playing games like Go and chess is that writing novels does not mean winning according to a set of rules. A machine can be programmed with rules and do the calculations faster—much, much faster—than a human. A good novel requires creativity in the face of situations that are only partly definable. If a novel succeeds, many people agree that the writer has captured essential elements of human nature and life circumstances. That’s what makes the great novels so memorable. Sports reporting is somewhere in the middle in that a great…

The robot writes with a pen and looks at the computer monitor. Artificial Intelligence

Bingecast: Selmer Bringsjord on the Lovelace Test

The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour indistinguishable from a human. Many think that Turing’s proposal for intelligence, especially creativity, has been proven inadequate. Is the Lovelace test a better alternative? What are the capabilities and limitations of AI? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Selmer Bringsjord discuss…

Close-up view of the Difference Engine

Lovelace: The Programmer Who Spooked Alan Turing

Ada Lovelace understood her mentor Charles Babbage’s plans for his new Analytical Engine and was better than he at explaining what it could do

Turing thought that computers could be got to think. Thus he had to address Lovelace’s objection from a century earlier, that they could not be creative.

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If Then logic statement written in white chalk on a black chalkboard isolated on white

Gödel and God: A Surprising History

A thought-provoking account of master logician Gödel’s largely unknown proof of the existence of God

In an unsanitized, politically incorrect (but factual) history, Selmer Bringsjord talks about how the tormented genius Kurt Gödel took up a quest that dated back a thousand years to prove the existence of God by formal logic. His original version didn’t quite work but his editor’s version passed an important logic test.

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E-mc2 written on chalkboard

Kurt Gödel’s Proof of the Existence of God

Kurt Gödel toppled a tall tower of mathematical reasoning with publication of his work showing no formal system of math could be both complete and consistent. He also gave a mathematical proof of the existence of God. Is Gödel’s proof valid? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Selmer Bringsjord discuss mathematics, Kurt Gödel, and the ontological argument. Show Notes 01:05 |…

Digital mind

Why Our Minds Can’t Really Be Uploaded to Computers

The basic problem is that human minds aren’t “computable.” Peter and Jane are not bits and bytes

The underlying problem with creating immortality by uploading our minds to computers is that people are conscious and even the most sophisticated foreseeable computers are not. And we are not at all sure what consciousness even IS.

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Can Human Minds Be Reduced to Computer Programs?

In Silicon Valley that has long been a serious belief. But are we really anywhere close?

Computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord recalls, “I remember asking James Moor, the Dartmouth professor who’s written quite a bit on AI: “You know. Jim, you really are a true believer in this stuff but can you tell me how much time you’re willing to give these AI people? I mean, if we give them another thousand years, and we still don’t have cognition as I’ve characterized it… Are you going to be skeptical now?” He was, I suppose, as an academic, predictably clever and evasive, but the bottom line is, we don’t have this cognition captured.

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Robot and human cooperating in jigsaw puzzle

Thinking Machines? Has the Lovelace Test Been Passed?

Surprising results do not equate to creativity. Is there such a thing as machine creativity?

The feats of machines like AlphaGo are due to superior computational power, not to creativity at originating new ideas. Computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord sees the ability to write, say, a novel of ideas as a more realistic test of human vs. computer achievement.

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The poetry of Love

Thinking Machines? The Lovelace Test Raises the Stakes

The Turing test has had a free ride in science media for far too long, says an AI expert

In the view of Rensselaer philosopher and computer scientist Selmer Bringsjord, the iconic Turing test for human-like intelligence in computers is inadequate and easily gamed. Merely sounding enough like a human to fool people does not establish human-like intelligence. He proposes the much more challenging Lovelace test, based on an observation from computer pioneer Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) that true creativity is what distinguishes humans from machines.

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Will AI Ever Write a Critically Acclaimed Novel?

AI is starting to write and some of the copy reads quite well. Other writing is garbage. What’s the capability and limitation of writing by AI? Will AI ever write a novel that wins the Nobel Prize for Literature? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Selmer Bringsjord discuss creativity, artificial intelligence, and writing. Show Notes 00:37 | Introducing Selmer Bringsjord, Professor…

Team of Professional Scientists Work in the Brain Research Laboratory. Neurologists / Neuroscientists Surrounded by Monitors Showing CT, MRI Scans Having Discussions and Working on Personal Computers.

Can We Upload Ourselves to a Computer and Live Forever?

There are some who say immortality is available if we can upload our minds to a computer. This presupposes our minds are computable and can be duplicated by a computer. Are our minds computable? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Selmer Bringsjord discuss consciousness, cognition, and artificial intelligence. Show Notes 00:39 | Introducing Selmer Bringsjord, Professor — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)…


The Turing Test is Dead. Long Live The Lovelace Test

The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour indistinguishable from a human. Many think that Turing’s proposal for intelligence, especially creativity, has been proven inadequate. Is the Lovelace test a better alternative? Robert J. Marks and Dr. Selmer Bringsjord discuss the Turing test, the Lovelace test, and machine…

Fake bugs on yellow background

7: Computers can develop creative solutions on their own!

AI help, not hype, with Robert J. Marks: Programmers may be surprised by which solution, from a range they built in, comes out on top
Sometimes the results are unexpected and even surprising. But they follow directly from the program doing exactly what the programmer programmed it to do. It’s all program, no creativity. Read More ›