Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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robot sit down and thinking

Did Alan Turing’s Change of Heart Set AI on the Wrong Path?

Erik Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence, thinks Turing lost track of one really important way minds differ from machines

In the earlier part of this episode of “Hyping Artificial Intelligence Hinders Innovation” (podcast episode 163), Andrew McDiarmid interviewed Erik J. Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence (Harvard University Press, 2021) discussed the big switchin computer science, roughly around 2000, from deductive to inductive logic — because Big Data made inductive logic more productive. Now they look at what machines still can’t do: https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/34ce0d74-aa74-4ad9-9599-e9ddf2be56a7-Mind-Matters-News-Episode-163-Erik-Larson-.mp3 This portion begins at about 12:39 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Andrew McDiarmid: I found some of your podcasts on the web and in one of them you say, “I don’t know what a mind is, but I know what a machine is.” So how does that…

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Big data futuristic visualization abstract illustration

How AI Changed — in a Very Big Way — Around the Year 2000

With the advent of huge amounts of data, AI companies switched from using deductive logic to inductive logic

In “Hyping Artificial Intelligence Hinders Innovation” (podcast episode 163), Andrew McDiarmid interviewed Erik J. Larson, author of The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do (2021) (Harvard University Press, 2021) on the way “Machines will RULE!” hype discredits — and distracts attention from — actual progress in AI. Erik Larson has founded two two DARPA-funded artificial intelligence startups. Inthe book he urges us to go back to the drawing board with AI research and development. https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/34ce0d74-aa74-4ad9-9599-e9ddf2be56a7-Mind-Matters-News-Episode-163-Erik-Larson-.mp3 This portion begins at 01:59 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Andrew McDiarmid: Can you paint a picture first for us of what the AI landscape looks like today and why it’s not…

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Modern cyber woman with matrix eye

The Matrix Revolutions (2003) Spins Out of Control

In Part I of this review of the third film in The Matrix trilogy — anticipating The Matrix: Resurrections (December 22) — we bring you up to date on the story

Recently, I’ve been reviewing — and reminiscing, if you like — The Matrix (1999) and The Matrix Reloaded (2003). After all, The Matrix: Resurrections opens December 22. Although I find the plots disjointed so far, I can at least provide you with a cheat sheet for what happened earlier. Now let’s see what happens in the third film in the turn-of-the-millennium trilogy, The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Alas, the confusion continues. The movie opens with our lead characters discovering that Neo is not in a coma after all but has been taken to a zone between the Matrix and the real world; think digital purgatory. How does this happen? We don’t know. How can Neo be taken anywhere when he’s not…

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High Angle View Of Railroad Tracks

Iron Law of Complexity: Complexity Adds But Its Problems Multiply

That’s why more complexity doesn’t mean more things will go right; without planning, it means the exact opposite. The math is scary

In “Bad news for artificial general intelligence” (podcast Episode 160), Justin Bui and Sam Haug from Robert J. Marks’s research group at Baylor University joined him for a look at how AI can go wrong — whether it’s an inconsequential hot weather story or imminent nuclear doom. Now, in Episode 161, they start by unpacking the significance of an ominous fact: When we increase complexity by adding things, we multiply the chances of things going wrong. Never mind getting an advanced machine to solve all our problems; it can’t solve its own: A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: I recently vetoed a family member’s suggestion that we put a lock on our…

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African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis)

Is the Age of the Living, Self-Replicating Robot at Hand? No.

Stem cells naturally reproduce themselves. The researchers working with frog stem cells merely found, via algorithms, one configuration that works better

Recently, the sci-fi dream of self-replicating robots has been in the news, thanks to the University of Vermont, Tufts University, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard. A recent experiment with frog cells was hailed by news outlets as disparate as CNN (“World’s first living robots can now reproduce, scientists say”) and Daily Wire (“American Universities Create First ‘Self-Replicating Living Robots’”). And it was also debunked by Ars Technica: (“Interesting research, but no, we don’t have living, reproducing robots”). So what’s really happening? Self-replication is a very tricky problem of information. To truly self-replicate, an organism must completely copy the information necessary for function. Seems simple enough but it introduces a conundrum. For the organism to copy…

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iot smart automotive Driverless car with artificial intelligence combine with deep learning technology. self driving car can situational awareness around the car, letting it navigate itself 360 degree

When AI Fails, the Results Are Sometimes Amusing. Sometimes Not.

Robert J. Marks, Justin Bui, and Samuel Haug examine five instances where AI went wrong, sometimes on the world stage

Even if artificial general intelligence (AGI) could be achieved, a problem looms: The more complex a system is, the more can go wrong. If a computer could really match human thinking, a great deal could go wrong. In “When AI goes wrong” (podcast 160), Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks is joined once again by members of his research group, Justin Bui and Samuel Haug, who is a PhD student in computer and electrical engineering. The topic is, what happens if AI starts behaving in bizarre and unpredictable ways? https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/f5d26d44-cb33-4736-bc75-f95bd8f3ae5f-Mind-Matters-Episode-160-Haug-and-Bui-Episode-2-rev1.mp3 A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Okay. I want to start out with Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story. Either…

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military robot and skulls of people. Dramatic apocalypse super realistic concept. Rise of the Machines. Dark future. 3d rendering.

The Matrix Reloaded (2003) Just Did Not Load Properly

Although the second part of the Matrix trilogy offers interesting ideas and exciting action, the confusing plot obscures the concepts it should explore

What a mess of a story is The Matrix Reloaded (2003) — the second part of the Matrix (1999) trilogy, in which the world we know turns out to be a simulation created by AI intelligences. We met some of the characters in the first part, The Matrix (1999), reviewed here. But then what happened? First, we’re introduced to the new technician, Link, but no one explains where his predecessor Tank went. Then Zion (“the last human city, the only place we have left”) is introduced and there we find ourselves at the infamous Party Scene: To look at this techno-hedonistic rave, one might think we’ve entered volcano-challenged Pompeii of long ago. But this party is more reminiscent of the…

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Young african male programmer writing program code sitting at the workplace with three monitors in the office. Image focused on the screen

Have a Software Design Idea? Kaggle Could Help It Happen for Free

Okay, not exactly. You have to do the work. But maybe you don’t have to invent the software

In a recent Mind Matters podcast, “Artificial General Intelligence: the Modern Homunculus,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, a computer engineering prof, spoke with Justin Bui from his own research group at Baylor University in Texas about what’s happening — and isn’t happening — in artificial intelligence today. The big story turned out to be all the free software you can use to advance your own projects. This time out, Dr. Bui focuses on what open source (free) Kaggle software can do for you, including competitons. Call it science non-fiction, if you like… https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/d4505b4a-de80-40ae-a56c-2636563f3453-Mind-Matters-Episode-159-Justin-Bui-Episode-1-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 12:58 min. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Justin Bui: Kaggle is owned by Google; I…

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Chinese flag and big brother data surveillance

On What Terms Is Co-Operation Between the US and China Possible?

China analyst Miles Maochun Yu thinks that China’s new goal is to become the new global power first, then implement its ideology

A panel at COSM 2021 aired a disagreement between philosopher of technology George Gilder and political analyst Newt Gingrich. Gingrich argued that China is the greatest threat to global freedom while Gilder felt that claims about forced labor, for example, are overstated and that we must co-operate with China for technological advances. In the background is China’s 24/7 surveillance of the entire population, the door-to-door identification of and crackdown on religious believers, as well as on civil rights activists. The situation in China has changed a great deal over the past half decade which marked the Uyghur internment camps and the premature takeover of Hong Kong. As Michael Schuman puts it: China today is in the grip of the most…

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Two female programmers working on new project.They working late at night at the office.

If Not Hal or Skynet, What’s Really Happening in AI Today?

Justin Bui talks with Robert J. Marks about the remarkable AI software resources that are free to download and use

In a recent Mind Matters podcast, “Artificial General Intelligence: the Modern Homunculus,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks, a and computer engineering prof, spoke with Justin Bui from his own research group at Baylor University in Texas on what is — and isn’t — really happening in artificial intelligence today. Some of the more far-fetched claims remind Dr. Marks of the homunculus, the “little man” of alchemy. So what are the AI engineers really doing and how do they do it? Call it science non-fiction, if you like… https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/d4505b4a-de80-40ae-a56c-2636563f3453-Mind-Matters-Episode-159-Justin-Bui-Episode-1-rev1.mp3 This portion begins at 00:44 sec. A partial transcript and notes, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Isaac Newton was the genius who founded classical physics. He…

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Supermassive extraterrestrial life form in outer space, dark red planet in twisted galaxy

Astronomer: Hunt for ET Can Unify Science and Religion

Avi Loeb told The Hill that the Galileo Project, which looks for physical evidence of extraterrestrials, could answer religious questions as well as science ones

Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, spoke at a recent Ignatius Forum on his differences with “the scientific mainstream” about the evidence for extraterrestrial life. Perhaps in part because the venue was the Washington National Cathedral, Loeb felt motivated to reflect on the religious as well as the science implications of a search for extraterrestrial life. As a member of Harvard University’s Galileo Project which seeks to “bring the search for extraterrestrial technological signatures of Extraterrestrial Technological Civilizations (ETCs) from accidental or anecdotal observations and legends into the mainstream of transparent, validated and systematic scientific research,” he shared his thoughts with The Hill, which covers the U.S. Congress: In finding advanced extraterrestrial intelligence, religion might simply reflect advanced science with a twist.…

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Medical technology concept

The (Virtual) Doctor Will See You Now — Sci-fi Saturday

A lonely middle-aged man experiences a future where medicine works correctly but the human dimension has ceased to exist

“Instant Doctor” (2020) by Diogo Gameiro (uploaded at DUST , 6:25 min) Did you ever wonder what will the future of health-care hold? How will advances in medical A.I. change our lives? Will algorithms eclipse doctors entirely? We hope not. Instant Doctor is a short film to show appreciation for doctors and health-care human workers everywhere. Review: In a futuristic subway station surrounded by the latest tech, gadgets, and gizmos, a middle-aged man (Fernando Alves Pinto) is all alone, suffering a troublesome respiratory problem. The last train is leaving in eight minutes but he decides to goes into a digital instant AI doctor cubicle — surreally represented. In an interesting detail, he pays digitally in bitcoins. Not to spoil too…

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Spaceship leaving Earth for interstellar deep space travel

Interstellar Travel: The Four Top Technologies for Getting There

Astrophysicist Adam Frank looks at the technologies we meet in science fiction and identifies the challenges that hold them back

University of Rochester astrophysicist Adam Frank looks at the possibilities of interstellar travel, given the “insane scale” of the distances between stars and galaxies, in relation to space exploration, whether by ourselves or by intelligent extraterrestrials. Science fiction usually starts with the assumption that the distance problem is somehow already solved. What real-world proposals are out there now for solving it? At Big Think, Frank offers four: Cryosleep, solar sails (or light sails), wormholes, and warp drives. Cautioning that they may all be pipe dreams, he offers some thoughts. Possibly the most intriguing is cryosleep: Cryosleep technology would basically “freeze” the body’s metabolism (or at least slow it down) for the duration of the journey. Despite being a staple of…

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Red Pill Blue Pill concept. The right choice the concept of the movie matrix. The choice of tablets

Will The Matrix Resurrections (Drops December 22) Break the Mold?

The culturally influential trilogy (control by evil aliens) enjoys a fascinating beginning — but a thud! ending

The Matrix trilogy is famous for starting strong, then falling apart by the end. Will this happen again? We’ll see. After eleven years, the Matrix Resurrections comes out December 22, 2021. Now is the perfect time to look back at the original trilogy, starting with the first film, The Matrix (1999). The Matrix series begins by following a computer hacker named Neo, who is led by a beautiful stranger into a forbidding underworld. There, “he discovers the shocking truth — the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence.” He had been searching for the mysterious Morpheus who defends a human civilization from attack by machines. Neo is horrified to discover from him that not only is…

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baited mousetrap

Can a Robot Be Programmed To Detect a Trap?

A team led by a Harvey Mudd professor programmed some digital gophers to spot possible traps while seeking food — and some without that ability

One issue in robotics is enabling the robot to detect danger. That’s harder than it might seem; it involves evaluating uncertainties. In their open access paper, a Harvey Mudd College research group describes the situation in dramatic terms by asking readers to picture a dilemma: Imagine a wealthy individual has announced they have hidden a large sum of money in an abandoned mine. You feel particularly adventurous and visit the mine in search of treasure. Approaching one of the mine’s many entrances, your excitement plummets as you notice the hazardous conditions. The precarious wooden floor planks separating you from a 50-foot drop are worn and rotted. Trails of crumbling rock intermittently fall from the roof and walls, indicating a potential…

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Thank You

Search Engines: Closing the Gap for Minority Languages

Thousands of the world’s languages are spoken by fewer than 100,000 people. At COSM 2021, Phil Parker outlined a plan for giving them access to information

We’ve all consulted “Dr. Google” for a health ailment or to find a recipe or learn how to fix something perhaps. Sometimes helpful, sometimes not. But what if you asked Google something — and it didn’t even recognize your language? Phil Parker, speaking at COSM 2021, told the story of a woman in Ethiopia searching for “lump in breast,” using one of the over 80 languages or dialects spoken in the region. Her language was one of thousands spoken by only a comparatively small population. The search engine did not recognize her input and returned no hits. She tried her query in Swahili, but there was nothing she found informative about “breast lumps” in Swahili. She finally tried her search…

Glücksspiel

Can Wholly Random Processes Produce Information?

Can information result, without intention, from a series of accidents? Some have tried it with computers…

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 discussed questions like: Why do two identical snowflakes seem more meaningful than one snowflake. Then they turned to the relationship between information and creativity. Is creativity a function of more information? Or is there more to it? And human intervention make any difference? Does Mount Rushmore have no more information than Mount Fuji? Does human intervention make a measurable difference? That’s specified complexity. Putting the idea of specified complexity to work, how do we measure meaningful information? How do we know Lincoln contained more…

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Servers at sunset, cloud technology concept. 3d rendering

Harvard U Press Computer Science Author Gives AI a Reality Check

Erik Larson told COSM 2021 about real limits in getting machines that don’t live in the real world to understand it

The speaker told the audience that although computers can do many impressive things, they will never achieve artificial intelligence. Who is “they” in the sentence you just read? The audience or computers? You immediately know the answer. It’s computers, because we know that researchers are struggling how to figure out how to endow computers with AI. It makes no sense to talk about an audience having artificial intelligence. You intuitively understanding the meaning of “they” in the sentence without even having to think about it. What if the sentence had read: The speaker told the audience that although computers can do many impressive things, they will be sorry if they bought one of this year’s models. Again, it is obvious…

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Composite image of hacker holding laptop and credir card

Physicality Of Data: The Road To Inherently Safer Authentication

Even though the world is arguably far more at risk from uncontrolled data than from uncontrolled HHCs, there are no hordes of people demanding solutions — yet

“The Physicality Of Data And The Road To Inherently Safer Authentication” was originally published by Forbes, (October 8, 2021) David Kruger is Co-Founder and VP of Strategy for Absio Corporation and a co-inventor of Absio’s Software-defined Distributed Key Cryptography (SDKC). Two different classes of identifiers must be tested to reliably authenticate things and people: assigned identifiers, such as names, addresses and social security numbers, and some number of physical characteristics. For example, driver’s licenses list assigned identifiers (name, address and driver’s license number) and physical characteristics (picture, age, height, eye and hair color and digitized fingerprints). Authentication requires examining both the license and the person to verify the match. Identical things are distinguished by unique assigned identities such as a…

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Abstract virtual microscheme illustration on flag of China and blurry cityscape background. Big data and database concept. Multiexposure

The Great Race for Military AI and Quantum Computing Is On

And China is far ahead in both, analysts told COSM 2021

On the second day of the COSM 2021 conference, speakers asked — with appropriate skepticism — whether we could ever produce true Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). But the final day of the conference hosted a conversation on the realistically achievable forms of AI and quantum computing that may pose existential threats to modern life. Robert J. Marks, Director of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence (which hosted COSM) — also Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University — spoke first. The title of his 2020 book, The Case for Killer Robots: Why America’s Military Needs to Continue Development of Lethal AI , provides an unsubtle hint at his position. Marks thinks that AI will…