Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

Monthly Archive October 2021

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Big data analytics through machine learning, Artificial Intelligence concept background, Using deep learning algorithms for neural network data analysis, Abstract AI 3d illustration

Researchers: Is the Cost of Improving Deep Learning Sustainable?

At IEEE: System designers may have to go back to relying on experts again to tell them what matters, rather than on massive databases

Deep Learning is an approach to computer programming that attempts to mimic the human brain (artificial neural networks) so as to enable systems to cluster data and make accurate predictions (IBM). It’s the dominant AI system today, used to predict how proteins fold and analyse medical scans as well as to beat humans at Go. And yet, four Deep Learning researchers recently wrote in IEEE Spectrum that “The cost of improvement is becoming unsustainable.” As part of their special report, “The Great AI Reckoning,”they explain: While deep learning’s rise may have been meteoric, its future may be bumpy. Like Rosenblatt before them, today’s deep-learning researchers are nearing the frontier of what their tools can achieve. To understand why this will…

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Datenverkehr im Internet im Schneckentempo

Peter Thiel Says, Forget the Hype: Big Tech Is Slowing Down

Second Contrarian Idea: We can see the slowdown clearly if we look past the hype

Philosopher of technology George Gilder revisits world class tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s live streamed talk at COSM 2019 in “ The failures and self-hatred of Big Tech.” Ih the first part, Thiel noted that the way Big Tech operates today has more in common with a communist state than with a democracy. His First Contrarian Idea, set out there, is that decentralization is coming. In this part, he talks about his Second Contrarian Idea: If you look at the big picture over the past few years, Big Tech’s progress is slowing. Thiel, the author of Zero to One (2014) will attend COSM 2021 (November 10–12) in person this time, along with Gilder. Note: You can get the best rate…

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A Young Man Reading The Bible To Another Young Man In Jail

12. Egnor vs. Dillahunty: How Can God Be Both Just and Merciful?

After atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty explains his view of morality, an audience member asks neurosurgeon Michael Egnor to explain how a just God can show mercy

In the “Does God exist?” debate at Theology Unleashed between theist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty (September 17, 2021), we are looking at the nature of good, as well as the problem of evil. Now, as the questions continue, Matt Dillahunty defends his view of the foundations of morality and Michael Egnor explains how justice and mercy can be combined. Readers may recall that the debate opened with Egnor explaining why, as former atheist, he became a theist. Then Dillahunty explained why, as a former theist, he became an atheist. Michael Egnor then made his opening argument, offering ten proofs for the existence of God. Matt Dillahunty responded in his own opening argument that the propositions were…

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Group young people using mobile smartphone outdoor - Millennial generation having fun with new trends social media apps - Youth technology addicted - Red background

Are We Really Luddites Just for Logging Off?

We can be wiser about boundaries for technology

(This piece is reprinted with permission from the Houston Chronicle, October 7, 2021.) Have you ever been called a Luddite? If so, you were probably not being credited with fueling a skilled labor movement in 19th century England. You were being jabbed for your relationship to technology. Today, the term is largely pejorative and can be directed at anyone who questions, rejects or even fumbles with technology. If you resist a new technology in favor of an old one, you’re a Luddite. If the recent testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen persuaded you to quit social media, you’re a Luddite. If you don’t know how to use a newer technology efficiently, you’re a Luddite. You’re swimming upstream down the river…

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time

CEO Seeking Fountain of Youth to Speak at COSM 2021

OISIN Biotechnologies seeks to make the hope of perpetual youth reality through advanced technology and medicine

COSM is described as “an exclusive national summit on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it.” What fits that description more than a company working to extend human life using advanced technology? This November, Matthew Scholz – CEO and co-founder of OISIN Biotechnologies – will be one of the many accomplished leaders in science, technology, and business to speak at COSM 2021. Based in Seattle, OISIN Biotechnologies is dedicated to “ameliorating age-associated degeneration and disease.” How so? Explains GeekWire: [OISIN is] currently developing preclinical therapies that target and kill damaged cells that have been biologically turned off or are “senescent” and supposed to die. But as people get older, the cells can persist as “zombie cells” that…

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army of artificial workers

Peter Thiel: Big Tech, As It Operates Today, Is Communist

Visions of the computer age have swung from big centralization in 1969 through big decentralization in 1999. Neither got it quite right, Thiel says

Philosopher of technology George Gilder revisits world class tech venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s live streamed talk at COSM 2019 in “ The failures and self-hatred of Big Tech.” Thiel, the author of Zero to One (2014) will attend COSM 2021 (November 10–12) in person this time, along with Gilder. Note: You can get the best rate if you register before October 31. The focus of the 2021 meet will be the paradoxes of the new world of technology. As we will see, Thiel is an expert at defining that world. This is the first of a four-part series on his view of the future, starting with his First Contrarian Idea, that the way Big Tech operates today is communist and…

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Surprised African-American man in denim jacket looks at receipt total in sales check holding paper bag with products in mall

A Market Analyst Explains Why You Should Take Inflation Seriously

Bernard Fickser looks at the tech companies that are worth astonishing amounts, unrelated to their current product lines

Readers may remember Bernard Fickser from his series on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and how they can be made to work better. Now he looks at a more serious problem, the current (quiet) capitalization crisis: the growth in the perceived market value (market caps) of tech companies, far beyond the market value of any assets they have. He recalls the famous (and costly) Dot.com Bubble (1995–2000), when “tech and internet companies that had no actual products or prototypes or detailed plans for products were receiving enormous valuations simply on a promise and a prayer.” Many prayers went unheard and small investors suffered huge losses. Business prof Gary Smith highlights Bill’s Barber Shop in 2000, where locals had reckoned on secure prosperity…

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Close-up image of coder typing on computer

The Search for the Universal Algorithm Continues

Why does machine learning always seem to be rounding a corner, only to eventually hit a wall?

DeepMind, a part of Alphabet (i.e., Google), has made many headlines in the past. The biggest was its development of AlphaGo, which used reinforcement learning to beat the number one Go player at the time (2017). DeepMind generalized this into AlphaZero, which is supposedly able to solve any two-player game of perfect information. DeepMind has come back into headlines recently with the attempt to build an AI which can generate any algorithm. While they are starting with map data, the goal is to generalize this and generate any desired algorithm. The search for such a “universal algorithm” has been essentially equivalent to the search for a perpetual motion machine in physics. The allure of both is obvious. In physics, if you…

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Hand holding burning candle in the dark

11. Is Evil in the World Simply the Absence of Good?

Christian Michael Egnor argues for that view. Then he and atheist Matt Dillahunty clash over whether a cause can be outside of time

In the “Does God exist?” debate between theist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty (September 17, 2021), we are now looking at the nature of good, as well as the problem of evil. Also, can change be outside of time? Readers may recall that the debate opened with Egnor explaining why, as former atheist, he became a theist. Then Dillahunty explained why, as a former theist, he became an atheist. Michael Egnor then made his opening argument, offering ten proofs for the existence of God. Matt Dillahunty responded in his own opening argument that the propositions were all unfalsifiable. When, in Section 4, it was Egnor’s turn to rebut Dillahunty, Dillahunty was not easily able to recall Aquinas’s…

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The Altamira Caves. Spanish rock art. It is the highest representation of cave painting in Spain

There Is No Such Thing as a Fossil Mind

A chapter on evolutionary psychology in Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith (2021) looks at the curious discipline of evolutionary psychology

This month, the The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (Harvest House 2021) appeared. The basic theme of the handbook, as described by editors design theorist William Dembski and Joseph Holden is “Science and Christianity are often presented as opposites, when in fact the order of the universe and the complexity of life powerfully testify to intelligent design.” I wrote one of the chapters, “What is evolutionary psychology?”. It concerns the effort to understand human psychology by appealing to a prehuman (“evolutionary”) past. As such, it explains a large variety of human behaviours as the unconscious enactment of a Darwinian survival scenario among not-quite humans that is wired into modules in…

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question mark on sticky note

10: Christian Egnor and Atheist Dillahunty Now Take Questions…

For example, “ What is Mr. Egnor’s best evidence of any god that would make me believe?”

In the “Does God exist?” debate between theist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty (September 17, 2021), the debaters get questions from the audience. Readers may recall that the debate opened with Egnor explaining why, as former atheist, he became a theist. Then Dillahunty explained why, as a former theist, he became an atheist. Michael Egnor then made his opening argument, offering ten proofs for the existence of God. Matt Dillahunty responded in his own opening argument that the propositions were all unfalsifiable. When, in Section 4, it was Egnor’s turn to rebut Dillahunty, Dillahunty was not easily able to recall Aquinas’s First Way (the first logical argument for the existence of God). Then, turning to the origin…

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Sand dunes in Death Valley

What if the Rescue is the Worst Part? — Sci-Fi Saturday

Crashed spaceship crew members find themselves on a desert planet with some very strange features

“Beachworld” at DUST by Jackie Perez (September 20, 2021, 14:00 min) Beachworld is an adaptation of a Stephen King’s short story as part of his Dollar Baby program. Lieutenant Shapiro’s ship is destroyed in a crash on a deserted desert planet covered in sand dunes. As she begins to understand the severity of her situation, she sets out to discover other survivors and formulate a rescue plan. Her crewmate Rand is alive, but spellbound by his new surroundings. It’s up to her alone to figure out how to get back home. She finds their ship’s emergency beacon, and an unsavory salvage crew answers their distress call. Ultimately, their rescue comes too late as Shapiro has succumbed to the planet’s hypnotizing…

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collection of alien planets in front of the Milky Way galaxy, nearby exoplanets

Physicist: Copernican Principle Doesn’t Make Earth Insignificant

That, Marcelo Gleiser says, is a philosophical attitude, unrelated to the science

Theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser, author of The Island of Knowledge (2014) offers some thoughts on what the Copernican Principle means and doesn’t mean about Earth’s status as a planet — whether Earth is a special place or a pale blue dot. He has no objection to the Copernican Principle (“a cornerstone of astronomy”) as such. The problem, he points out, is what happened next: Copernicus famously proposed that Earth was not the center of the universe; the sun was. The Earth, he suggested, was just another planet orbiting the sun like Mars or Jupiter… The principle, as understood today, is usually stated as, “Earth is an ordinary planet, and we, human observers, are ordinary too.” There is nothing special about…

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Future Of Medicine

An Inventor Discovers the Curse of Immortality – Sci-Fi Saturday

What happens when he makes others immortal in this world but not himself?

“Extent” at DUST by Paul Draper (August 9, 2021, 12:43 min) Time stands still as two old friends attempt to grapple with a question that defines their very existence. If you could live forever, would you? Review: The film uses chess as a metaphor that deepens as the story progresses. Edward (Marcus Henderson), a famous inventor, became involved with a woman who sounds unpleasant from the get-go (Ann, played by Kaitlyn Raymond). I t all ends badly, of course: “I love how diabolical you are.” – Edward. Checkmate. Edward seeks comfort afterward from alcohol and secondly from his friend Alexander (Chukwudi Iwuji) and the two get to talking about life, death, and all that. Then we discover an astonishing fact…

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Through the center of the Milky way

Just Announced: Strange Signals From the Galaxy’s Center

Astronomers: “The brightness of the object also varies dramatically, by a factor of 100, and the signal switches on and off apparently at random. We’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Strange radio waves emerge from direction of the galactic centre”? Yes, it sounds like the opening of a trailer for a sci-fi film. But it is actually a media release from last week from the University of Sydney in Australia: Astronomers have discovered unusual signals coming from the direction of the Milky Way’s centre. The radio waves fit no currently understood pattern of variable radio source and could suggest a new class of stellar object. “The strangest property of this new signal is that it is has a very high polarisation. This means its light oscillates in only one direction, but that direction rotates with time,” said Ziteng Wang, lead author of the new study and a PhD student in…

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Fair Concept

9. Michael Egnor Explains Why Matt Dillahunty Is Not an Atheist

Not really, anyway, Egnor insists, because he keeps invoking a moral standard that can’t exist if materialist atheism is true

In the “Does God exist?” debate between theist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty (September 17, 2021), we find Egnor questioning Dillahunty’s atheism. Readers may recall that the debate opened with Egnor explaining why, as former atheist, he became a theist. Then Dillahunty explained why, as a former theist, he became an atheist. Michael Egnor then made his opening argument, offering ten proofs for the existence of God. Matt Dillahunty responded in his own opening argument that the propositions were all unfalsifiable. When, in Section 4, it was Egnor’s turn to rebut Dillahunty, Dillahunty was not easily able to recall Aquinas’s First Way (the first logical argument for the existence of God). Then, turning to the origin of…

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Human brain

GWT: A Leading Consciousness Theory Depends on Information Theory

Not mechanism. If Global Workspace Theory (GWT) is a good approach to consciousness, there is no “consciousness spot” in the brain.

Recently, we have looked at the Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of human consciousness, as set out by well-known Allen Institute neuroscientist Christof Koch. Another leading contender (and rival) is Global Workspace Theory (GWT) — it pictures the brain as an orchestra with many conductors. IIT is panpsychist in orientation (the universe participates in consciousness; human consciousness is the most highly developed instance) whereas GWT uses information theory to capture an image of consciousness via observations of the brain at work. A recent essay in Psyche by two GWT proponents, Morten L. Kringelbach and Gustav Deco, introduces us to GWT: … given the distributed nature of the brain hierarchy, there is unlikely to be just a single ‘conductor’. Instead, in 1988…

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creative idea.Concept of idea and innovation

Meet Your Host for COSM 2021, Steve Buri

Buri, President of the Discovery Institute, has been active in Washington public life for decades and looks forward to hosting thoughtful high tech pioneers

Attendees of COSM 2021 (November 10–11), where Big Tech pioneers will sit down together to think and talk about where AI is going, will have as their hos, Steve Buri. Buri, President of the Discovery Institute since 2011, will be emceeing and moderating throughout, with the goal of sharing the mission of Discovery Institute as it relates to an understanding of natural and artificial intelligence. A couple of things about Steve: He was born and raised in the small farming community ofColfax, Washington, and graduated from Washington State University with a double major in political science and criminal justice in 1994. After graduation, he was active in local politics, serving as senior staff member to U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA)…

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Group of demonstrators on road, young people from different culture and race fight for climate change - Global warming and enviroment concept - Focus on banners

Google and YouTube Demonetize Climate Change Skeptics

But how did Google acquire the authority to declare what is "misinformation" or "scientific consensus"?

The Google Ads team announced a new policy last week banning the monetization of content critical of a current consensus around climate change. Beginning in November, both Google and YouTube will: …prohibit ads for, and monetization of, content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change. This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change. Google Ads team, “Updating our ads and monetization policies on climate change,” posted October 7, 2021 This does not mean that Google and YouTube will block any and all content that denies…

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Two chess knights facing away from each other

8. Does Morality Really Exist? If So, Does It Come From God?

Matt Dillahunty now challenges Michael Egnor: There is no way to know whether a moral doctrine represents any reality apart from belief

In the “Does God exist?” debate between theist neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty (September 17, 2021), the debaters are now talking about where moral precepts come from. Readers may recall that the debate opened with Egnor explaining why, as former atheist, he became a theist. Then Dillahunty explained why, as a former theist, he became an atheist. Michael Egnor then made his opening argument, offering ten proofs for the existence of God. Matt Dillahunty responded in his own opening argument that the propositions were all unfalsifiable. When, in Section 4, it was Egnor’s turn to rebut Dillahunty, Dillahunty was not easily able to recall Aquinas’s First Way (the first logical argument for the existence of God). Then,…