Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryArtificial Intelligence

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Expert in Defense and Technology To Speak at COSM

By looking to the past, historian Arthur Herman charts a hopeful path into the future

This November, historian Arthur Herman will be addressing the use of artificial intelligence in military preparedness at COSM 2021, an exclusive national summit exploring the myriad ways in which technology is shaping the world around us. Herman received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in history and classics. Since then, he has written nine books, including New York Times bestseller How the Scots Invented the Modern World, Pulitzer Prize finalist Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age, and Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, which was named one of the Economist’s Best Books of 2012. Herman is now a senior…

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One Day the Door to the Robot’s Shop Opens – Sci-fi Saturday

Roy, the robot, is suddenly confronted by another robot, determined to kill or die

“Roy” at DUST (July 23, 2021, 7:44 min) Roy is a sci-fi drama short film about a robot mechanic holed away in a rundown barn, living in a world of rustic antiques melded with futuristic sensibilities. He is a man forgotten by society and spends his days tinkering at projects. That is until someone opens the door into his shop. Roy is a story about compassion in the face of those affected by violence and despair. It explores the themes of how we relate to strangers and friends around us who have become bitter and jaded by the world. Roy poses this question: how do we face those transformed by violence and angry at the world? Review: This film won…

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When the AI Call Center Can’t Handle Crises —Sci-Fi Saturday

It’s not clear whether this is a bug or a feature but it is certainly something that could happen.

“Lifeline” at DUST by Harry Jackson (September 6, 2021, 7:57 min) Jess, and her trial for a job at a high-tech call centre. When her competitor suddenly collapses, her only means to save him is a state of the art computer system. The problem is, the art is in a terrible state. Review: It’s a very good story. It illustrates the huge problem that any electronics-run system faces: Problems that only human intelligence can resolve. Gwyneth Keyworth, as Jess, sees that her co-worker Nathan Bryon is apparently collapsing at his desk. But she cannot call an ambulance because the high-tech call center does not allow that option. It’s not entirely clear why Jess does not use a private cell number…

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Isn’t It Time for an Artificial Intelligence Reality Check?

Why do we think we’re so close to artificial general intelligence (AGI) when there are so many obstacles to overcome?

The Singularity is coming! The Singularity is coming! If you’re getting tired of hearing that “strong AI” is just around the corner, you’re not alone. The Stephen Hawkings, Ray Kurzweils, and Elon Musks of the world have been putting humanity on notice with predictions of machines overtaking humans for decades. It’s either the dawn of utopia or the start of a nightmare, depending on who’s talking. And every time they’re issued, the media jumps on them, because being on the cusp of a new era of intelligent beings is news. What’s missing from these confident claims, however, is a realistic assessment of the problems that rank-and-file computer scientists wrestle with every day — namely, the problem of intelligence. In their…

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Danaylov: Right on Technology, Wrong on AI

Danaylov's confidence in the future of AI super-intelligence is exaggerated

Our future is determined by the stories we tell ourselves. So says futurist Nikola Danaylov in his online series exploring the years and decades to come for humanity. In our previous posts, we introduced you to Danaylov and examined his perspective on science. Now we will turn to his treatment of technology and artificial intelligence. The Technology Story Like his perspective on science, Danaylov brings a balanced understanding to technology. Technology “is not an end-in-itself,” he says. “Instead, technology is merely a means-to-an-end, a tool.”  Jonathan Bartlett has also written about technology as a tool. In 2019, Elon Musk and Jack Ma shared a stage to debate the future of technology and artificial intelligence. Here’s what Bartlett had to say about it: For Ma,…

Mature businessman or a scientist with robot.

Artificial Intelligence and the Golden Rule

The application of the Golden Rule to AI development is complex and multifaceted, but it is still the right rule to live by

How does the Golden Rule apply to developers of artificial intelligence (AI)? To simplify the application let’s assume there are only two people involved. One runs a small trucking company but also knows how to develop sophisticated AI. This business owner develops an AI enabled system capable of driving his truck. The other person is the truck driver, whom the owner no longer needs. If the owner believed in following the Golden Rule, how should he treat his driver?  Let’s assume the driver has worked for the company for forty years but is not yet financially ready to retire. A number of answers are possible. Some companies have bridged long-time employees to retirement. The owner might do that for his…

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If You Fear High Tech Debates, Stay Away From COSM 2021

COSM 2021 will be held in person. You will interact with the real movers and shakers.

Recently, George Gilder and Jay Richards enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the topics and people converging for the COSM 2021 Technology Summit: From Life After Google to Life After Capitalism. In the first portion, they discussed life after capitalism. Who can still innovate? In this portion, they talk about innovations that will make a difference: This portion starts at about 10:30 min. Here is a partial transcript and notes: George Gilder: Kai-Fu Lee will be there to talk about his new book, Ten Visions, about artificial intelligence. We hope that he can give us some ideas that are relevant to the new environment for US-China relations… But people like Kai-Fu Lee are keeping world of knowledge and wealth, then…

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What Do We Need To Know About Life After Capitalism?

At COSM 2021, a number of thinkers will discuss and debate the pressing questions

Recently, George Gilder and Jay Richards enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on the topics and people that will converge for the COSM 2021 Technology Summit: From Life After Google to Life After Capitalism. They cover the paradoxes of the future of technology. Here is a partial transcript of the first ten minutes: Jay Richards: The theme of COSM 2021 is Life After Capitalism, which is also the name of your forthcoming book. What does that mean exactly? What are you referring to, this idea of life after capitalism? George Gilder: In the last few months, literally trillions of dollars of new money has been printed. Money has been deprived of its informational content. It’s now merely an expression of government…


It’s AI Art — But Is That Really Art?

Much depends on the claque that agrees that it IS art

There are reports that AI has created wonderful music and great paintings. But who judges whether a creation is or isn’t art? 19th century writer Margaret Wolfe Hungerford claimed that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”1 So any analysis of AI art or music will be subjective. One person’s modern art masterpiece can be viewed by others as like a child’s finger painting. The same is true for music. The delightful chaos of Charles Ives music is interpreted by some as noise. The value of all art can cannot be quantized but, indeed, “is in the eye of the beholder.” The degree to which art is held in high regard can be emotionally manipulated. A great example is…

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Science Sleuths Catch Authors Using AI Tool for Plagiarism

Odd phrases like “counterfeit consciousness” instead of “artificial intelligence” began appearing in computer science journals, triggering an investigation

The expression “tortured phrases” likely reminds teachers of student essays. Paradoxically, it takes time to develop a “natural” style. But last April, when that sort of language started appearing in computer science journals, some alert researchers suspected that something more serious than mere awkwardness was at work: The researchers could not understand why researchers would use the terms ‘counterfeit consciousness’, ‘profound neural organization’ and ‘colossal information’ in place of the more widely recognized terms ‘artificial intelligence’, ‘deep neural network’ and ‘big data’. Holly Else, “‘Tortured phrases’ give away fabricated research papers” at Nature But they figured it out. Many computer science papers, especially from China, were partly constructed using automated translation and software that may disguise plagiarism. But the software…

Kai-Fu Lee

Kai-Fu Lee, Inventor of Speech Recognition, to Speak at COSM 2021

Lee is one of many technological geniuses appearing in Seattle this November

This November in Seattle, some of the most brilliant minds in technology will gather for COSM, an exclusive national summit on how technology is remaking the world as we know it. Among its many speakers will be Kai-Fu Lee, a computer scientist, businessman, and the inventor of speech recognition. Lee’s credentials are many and impressive. After his Ph.D. work at Carnegie Mellon (which produced continuous speech recognition), he has journeyed through the offices of Apple, SGI, Microsoft, and Google. In 2009, he launched Sinovation Ventures in an effort to financially support up-and-coming Chinese high-tech companies. In 2018, Lee gave a TED talk on how human beings can thrive in an era of AI. The video (posted below) is worth the…

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Peter Thiel Speaking in Person at COSM, Seattle, November 10

As a world class venture capitalist, he is known for bluntness about what works and what doesn’t

COSM 2021 is the place to be, November 10–12, to get the inside track on the converging technologies remaking the world as we know it. This year, iconic Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel will be speaking in person, addressing the question “Is Technology Soaring or Slumping?” At the first COSM in October 2019, Peter Thiel spoke by interactive video. Not one to mince words, he told the attendees bluntly that Silicon Valley is losing its touch and compared universities today to the Catholic Church at its worst. He has a remarkable history in both areas. He has been a prime mover in PayPal, Facebook, Palantir, Airbnb, Lyft, and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. And he had intended to found a university. But,…

Dozens of Drones Swarm in the Cloudy Sky.

EMPs Could Combat Vast Drone Swarms Better Than Weapons

Electromagnetic pulses (EMPs) that knock out electronics could be weaponized to disable swarms of enemy drones, a predicted new warfare development

In “EMPs from the sun can wipe computers — and streetlights,” Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks spoke with electrical engineer Sarah Seguin about electromagnetic pulses (August 12, 2021). Whether natural or designed, these surges can wreck unexpected havoc with electronics. In this third podcast, “EMPs and Warfare,” engineers Marks and Seguin talk about the national defense implications of, for example, using EMPs to knock out key electronics systems in submarines or drone swarms, thus dooming them (August 19, 2021): https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-Episode-148-Sarah-Seguin.mp3 This portion begins at 09:45 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and Additional Resources follow. Robert J. Marks: Okay. Well, let’s talk a bit about EMPs and warfare. Clearly anybody that has a capability of doing a thermonuclear…

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Nobody is Taking Tesla AI Seriously Anymore

Tesla's "AI Day" presented reasonable discussion until the "robot" showed up

Recently, Tesla held its “AI Day.” Tesla often creates an event which highlights some aspect of their business that they want to promote to investors, customers, or to potential employees. Tesla has had “battery day” and “autonomy day” to promote Tesla efforts on those fronts. It is an attempt to keep excitement and exposure to a maximum during seasons when there are no big product reveals. While Elon Musk is typically guilty of leading people on with extravagant (and unwarranted) claims about Tesla technology, these events have recently shown a more reserved side to Tesla’s front man. In “battery day,” he was expected to launch a million-mile battery, but instead talked mostly about getting access to the minerals needed for…

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Paper: Culture, Computing Should Be Considered “Life Forms”

The idea of broadening the definition of life isn’t wholly new. Astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote a sci-fi novel about intelligent gaseous clouds

Some researchers are urging us to broaden our definition of life, which may have an impact on the search for life on exoplanets. In a new paper, published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution, Santa Fe Institute researchers Chris Kempes and David Krakauer argue that in order to recognize life’s full range of forms, we must develop a new theoretical frame. Santa Fe Institute, ” New theory of life’s multiple origins” at ScienceDaily Although there are many definitions of life, they all assume a strict separation between life and non-life — and that is what the researchers challenge: Culture, computation, and forests are all forms of life in this frame. As Kempes explains, “human culture lives on the material of…

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Automated “Caring”: The Limits of Talking to a Machine

Are there situations where a person would simply prefer to talk to a machine? Some researchers think so

“Just get me to a human!” Those were my words just a few weeks ago, the last time I can recall speaking directly to a machine. It was the Xfinity phone system assistant. I get that there’s a need for large national corporations to effectively manage interactions with their customers, especially with the labor shortages and spikes in internet usage brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. But leaving me to fend for myself with a machine – especially a stubborn, unhelpful one! – isn’t my idea of superior customer service. Eventually, the Comcast assistant got the drift and passed me on to a human being, who quickly and kindly helped me out by doing exactly what the machine said could…

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Are Your Electronics Protected Against Sudden Surges?

Electrical engineer Sarah Seguin discusses with Robert J. Marks an under-recognized risk for sensitive electronic devices

In a recent podcast, “Sarah Seguin on EMPs and How to Protect Your Data” (August 5, 2021), Sarah Seguin, talks with Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks. Protecting data became a much bigger issue for typical employees during the COVID-19 lockdowns when many were working from home on a computer usually used to surf entertainment vids or shopping sites. Hackers have found the displaced workers a tempting target. In any event, hacks of governments, health care facilities, and big firms are on the increase. Seguin offers some thoughts about a quite different but very relevant data protection issue: Protecting data from degradation from electromagnetic pulses (EMPs): https://episodes.castos.com/mindmatters/Mind-Matters-146-Sarah-Seguin.mp3 This portion begins at 02:12 min. A partial transcript, Show Notes, and…

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Photonics: Because Light Travels Faster Than Electricity

Fibre optics (light) is used to transmit data via the internet but on the stationary computer, it’s the slower electrons that rule. Some researchers hope to change that

As Ryan Hamerly explains at IEEE Spectrum, optical fibers can carry more than electrical wires. But they face a limitation: But there is a big difference between communicating data and computing with it. And this is where analog optical approaches hit a roadblock. Conventional computers are based on transistors, which are highly nonlinear circuit elements—meaning that their outputs aren’t just proportional to their inputs, at least when used for computing. Nonlinearity is what lets transistors switch on and off, allowing them to be fashioned into logic gates. This switching is easy to accomplish with electronics, for which nonlinearities are a dime a dozen. But photons follow Maxwell’s equations, which are annoyingly linear, meaning that the output of an optical device…

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Insurance Company Gives Sour AI Promises

Data collection and discriminatory algorithms are turning Lemonade sour

An insurance company with the quirky name Lemonade was founded in 2015 and went public in 2020. In addition to raising hundreds of millions of dollars from eager investors, Lemonade quickly attracted more than a million customers with the premise that artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms can estimate risks accurately and that buying insurance and filing claims can be fun: Lemonade is built on a digital substrata — we use bots and machine learning to make insurance instant, seamless, and delightful. Adding to the delight are the friendly names of their bots, like AI Maya, AI Jim, and AI Cooper. The company doesn’t explain how its AI works, but there is this head-scratching boast: A typical homeowners policy form has 20-40…

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Real vs. Digital Humans Locked in All-Out War — Sci-fi Saturday

The reals are attacking the digitals and the digitals invade Toronto in the 24th century in an attempt to power them down

“E-X-T” by director Adrian Bobb (Uploaded at DUST August 2, 2021, 7:38 min) “200 years after humanity has abandoned the real world for a digital one, the system’s most talented security agent is forced out of retirement to recruit and lead a team of talented warriors to eliminate a threat from a world no one has seen for centuries. The real world.” Further: “In the snow-covered ruins of 24th century Toronto, AEGIS, a humanoid war machine, leads a team of five similar yet unique machines into the EXT, the new real-world to retake an enemy-occupied server installation vital to the survival of their digital homeland. During an attempt to ambush a large pack of enemy-controlled war-drones, AEGIS recalls an interrogation…