Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

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Retro robots

Does Democracy Demand a War on Twitterbots?

A key concern is that citizens could be induced to vote for a demagogue by Twitterbots spreading fake news.
Underlying much of the angst about the political impact of bots is a basic premise: Most of us need help thinking for ourselves and protection from the many bad influences that we are not able to recognize, the way our betters can. Read More ›
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Twitter doesn’t just seem out of control

It actually is.
Social media may be changing the world more than we think. And we may need some social leadership in fighting back against Twitter mobs. It probably won’t emerge from within because bullies are usually cowards. Read More ›
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The new politically correct chatbot was worse?

If you are a human being who talks to people for a living, don’t quit your job
Within 16 hours, the Microsoft team had to shut down their chatbot Tay. With assistance from so many online sources, Tay’s ability to be nasty exceeded that of any individual human. And as for her replacement, Zo, who would never repeat those mistakes… Read More ›
Phrenology Head Busts

Big Question: Can Big Data read the minds of others?

And should Facebook scan your posts for suicidal thoughts? (It does.)

 Neurologist Robert Burton reflects at Aeon on the fact that mind reading does not really work. Most fashionable theories of mind, like the mirror neuron theory, have not really been much use: This is not to say that we have no idea of what goes on in another’s mind. The brain is a superb pattern-recogniser; we routinely correctly anticipate that others will feel grief at a funeral, joy at a child’s first birthday party, and anger when cut off on the freeway. We are right often enough to trust our belief that others generally will feel as we do. More. True, but the problem isn’t with recognizing what most people probably think; it’s with recognizing unusual but important patterns. How Read More ›