Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

TagStephen C. Meyer

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Matt Scholz at COSM 2021 on Innovations in Biotech

Manipulating Molecules: Combining Info + Nano for Better Medicine

At COSM 2021, scientists like Jim Tour and entrepreneurs like Matt Scholz offer a window into how we are learning to manipulate the building blocks of life

Yesterday COSM 2021, philosopher of science Stephen Meyer, synthetic organic chemist James Tour, and biotech entrepreneur Matthew Scholz looked at how nanotechnology (working directly with very small things, like molecules) will advance biology and medicine. “Oscar Wilde said nature imitates art,” Meyer opened by saying. And today we’re going to see that “technology is now able to imitate and even in some ways, improve upon nature.” He noted that since the 1960s we’ve been learning that living cells function because of the actions performed by molecular machines—those molecular machines are built using information. For example, consider the cell’s power source: A rotary engine called ATP synthase in the mitochondria of cells produces the energy. As a camshaft with lobes spins…

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Seattle Skyline at Sunset with Space needle

Venture Capital Manager at COSM 2021 to Listen and Learn

The Managing Director of Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group will moderate two panels on new technologies that can shake things up

In 2019, Madrona’s Matt McIlwain moderated a panel at the COSM 2019 Technology Summit, “AI’s Role in Unlocking Human Potential.” The panel followed tech pioneer and prophet Ray Kurzweil’s livestreamed address in which he predicted that we will merge with our computers by 2045 — The Singularity: “Our intelligence will then be a combination of our biological and non-biological intelligence,” he explained. We will be apps of our smart computers. Or will we? And if that happened, would it be progress? Already, we freak out when we can’t find our phones, or our computers crash, or the internet is down. Or the power goes off. Yet Isaac Newton changed physics with a pen and paper. So did Albert Einstein. McIlwain…

DNA in hand on blue background.
DNA in hand on blue background concept design.

The Coolest Tech on the Planet (Hint: It’s Inside You!)

The intricate design of the living cell has left many materialists stumped

These days, we surround ourselves with technology to stay in touch, to keep ourselves informed, and to manage the challenges of our daily lives. We also recognize in our devices and machines all the hallmarks of design, understanding reflexively that they express the ingenuity of engineers or software developers. Our appreciation for applied intelligence comes as second nature to us — we intuitively recognize the work of other minds. But what happens when we look up from our technology and survey the world of nature? When we look up at the movement of the planets, or into the eyes of our children, or when we peer through a microscope into a living cell? Do we see signs of minds in…

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Program development concept. Young man working with computer

Why Software Cannot Just Evolve — a Demonstration

The claims for Avida — a software program that is supposed to “evolve” solutions via neo-Darwinian evolution — fail the most basic test

A Michigan State University publication headlined a media release declaring: “Evolution of learning is key to better artificial intelligence” (September 19, 2019). Reportedly, researchers used the computer simulation software, Avida, to show the “evolution of learning.” On that view, artificial intelligence arises via neo-Darwinian evolution. Really? The “Sound Bites” Were Exciting… The university’s team “composed of biologists and computer scientists used a digital evolution program that allowed them to observe tens of thousands of generations of evolution in just a few hours, a feat unachievable with living systems.” According to the release: • “The results are the first demonstration that shows the evolution of associative learning in an artificial organism without a brain.” • “While the environment was simulated, the…