Eric Holloway

Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence

Eric Holloway is a Senior Fellow with the Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence, and holds a PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Baylor University. A Captain in the United States Air Force, he served in the US and Afghanistan. He is the co-editor of Naturalism and Its Alternatives in Scientific Methodologies.

Archives

Is GPT-3 the “Reborn Doll” of Artificial Intelligence?

Unlike the reality doll collectors, GPT-3 engineers truly believe that scaling up the model size will suddenly cause GPT-3 to think and talk like a real human
There is a worldwide community that collects “reborn dolls.” These dolls look almost like real babies. Look again, closely, at the featured photo above… They help some collectors cope with the loss of a child. For others, it fulfills their sense of self image. And yet others just see them as a quirky hobby. Regardless of how much the baby dolls mimic the appearance of real dolls, the dolls will forever remain copies because the external appearances are not generated by biological processes. For the collectors, this is a feature, not a bug. They enjoy the appearance of a baby without the real life difficulties of raising a real person. As one collector comments, her doll “doesn’t turn into a…

An Alternative to the Tractable Cognition Thesis

The Tractable Cognition Thesis presents us with a gap in the logic when it comes to NP-Complete problems. How can we solve for it?
The Tractable Cognition Thesis is the proposal that all processes in the brain can be modeled by a polynomial time algorithm. This includes situations where the brain solves problems that are within NP-Complete domains. In the latter situation, it is assumed the brain is only solving a subset of the NP-Complete domain where the problems can be solved with a polynomial time algorithm. With these assumptions in place, the overall implication is that there is a specific polynomial time algorithm that can emulate every process in the brain. However, there is a gap in the logic when it comes to NP-Complete problems. It is well known that humans solve many problems that are in the general case NP-Complete. Route planning,…

Move Over Turing and Lovelace – We Need a Terminator Test

More research should be spent on a Terminator test to mitigate the threat of an unfriendly, all-powerful artificial intelligence
What we really need is not a Turing test or a Lovelace test, but a Terminator test. Just imagine. If we create an all-powerful artificial intelligence, we cannot assume it will be friendly. We cannot guarantee anything about the AI’s behavior due to something known as Rice’s theorem. Rice’s theorem states that all non-trivial semantic properties of programs are undecidable. Benevolence is certainly a non-trivial semantic property of programs, which means we cannot guarantee benevolent AIs. Therefore, what we really need is a way to distinguish the all-powerful artificial intelligence from human intelligence, so we can protect ourselves from humanized mass murdering robots. Let us think about this in terms of test errors. When we perform a test on some…

Why Is Randomness A Good Model, But Not A Good Explanation?

After all, random processes are used all the time to model things in science
The previous article I wrote about randomness proved quite controversial. After all, random processes are used all the time to model things in science. How can I say randomness is not a scientific explanation? Let me first make a distinction between a model and an explanation. A model shows us how some physical thing operates, but it does not explain the cause of the thing. An explanation, on the other hand, tries to explain the cause. But surely if we can effectively model something with randomness, then randomness must also be part of the causal explanation for the thing? Well, not so fast. Let’s look at how we model randomness with computers. Computers themselves are not random in the slightest.…

Randomness is Not a Scientific Explanation

We can never know if anything is truly random
It is common in the sciences to claim aspects of our universe are random: In evolution, mutations are random. In quantum physics, the wave collapse is random. In biology, much of the genome is random. In business theory, organizational ecologists state new ideas are random. There is a general idea that everything new has its origins in randomness. This is because within our current philosophy of science, the two fundamental causes in our universe boil down to randomness and necessity. Since necessity never creates anything new, then by process of elimination the source of newness must be randomness. Similar to how the ancient Greeks believed the universe originated from chaos. Here’s the irony of the view that whatever is unique…

Our Scientific Salvation Will Be The Death Of Us

Will we trust "the science" (meaning the scientists) to the point of madness?
Originally published at Patheos “The truly insane man is the perfectly rational man.” So says G.K. Chesterton. This saying is very counter intuitive today. The perfectly rational man is the ideal scientist, the man who knows reality in precise quantitative terms, the best kind of knowledge we have. Such scientific knowledge promises the secret of immortality. If we can understand the fundamentals of our physical existence, we can shape our existence in whatever way we wish. The rational man is the messiah of our scientific age. So, why did Chesterton warn us about the rational man? The problem is that rationality only deals with the known knowns and the known unknowns. Rationality does not deal with the unknown unknowns. The…

COVID-19’s Origins: Uses and Misuses of the Explanatory Filter

How a critic of intelligent design theory misunderstands the application of design inference
Last year in July a prominent critic of intelligent design theory, Dr. Adam Shapiro, took the Discovery Institute to task for not debunking the lab origin theory. He says, Behe seems to miss an opportunity to demonstrate that intelligent design theory shows how those pathways are not irreducible complex. Adam Shapiro, “Did Intelligent Design Just Miss Its Corona Moment?” at American Scientist and, How better to demonstrate its own apolitical nature than to apply its scientific process to debunk the Chinese lab myth? Adam Shapiro, “Did Intelligent Design Just Miss Its Corona Moment?” at American Scientist First of all, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of ID. ID theory is only resilient against false positives, not false negatives, as Dr. Ewert…

What Darwinism Fails to Explain about Business Enterprise

On today’s ID the Future, host Jay Richards talks with Eric Holloway about his recent Mind Matters article, “Can Darwinian Theory Explain the Rise and Fall of Businesses?” Why would anyone think Darwinian theory could explain business ups and downs? Holloway explains, and also notes that there’s an entire sub-discipline, organizational ecology, dedicated to studying business from a Darwinian framework. Richards, who has published on Darwinism, design, economics, and entrepreneurship himself, also weighs in. Darwinism sees business as survival of the fittest, with natural selection playing an obvious role, but where do the businesses and the innovations come from in the first place? Here is where Darwinism really founders as a tool for understanding business and entrepreneurship, says Holloway. It’s Read More ›

Can a New AI Debating Program Win All the Debates?

While billed as an autonomous debating system, Project Debater features very little autonomy
From ancient days, reason has been considered the hallmark of what sets humans apart from animals. Aristotle defined humans as the rational animal and this definition has stuck through the history of Western philosophy. Human reason is best demonstrated in debate. Thus, if we can create programs that argue a point effectively, then computers will have conquered an important frontier of what it means to be intelligent. Recently, we learned at Nature that one research team claims to have developed such a program: A fully autonomous computer system has been developed that can take part in live debates with people. The findings hint at a future in which artificial intelligence can help humans to formulate and make sense of complex…

Can Darwinian Theory Explain the Rise and Fall of Businesses?

The fashionable field of organizational ecology says yes — organizations are like animals in nature
When you think of “business,” do you think of stuffy suits and boring meetings? But maybe that’s just a pose. Organizational science studies what makes businesses survive, thrive and die. The description makes businesses sound more like living, vulnerable animals, doesn’t it? There is even a widely accepted subfield called organizational ecology, founded by Michael Hannan and John Freeman (1944–2008), which applies evolution theory to businesses. In 1989, Harvard University Press published their very influential book on the topic. Organizational ecology applies a specifically Darwinian form of evolution theory to businesses. That is, the main driving force of change for businesses is seen as natural selection. The “ecology” part of organizational ecology is the idea that the ever-changing business environment…

How the Explanatory Filter Can Help Quash Conspiracy Theories

I found Dembski’s explanatory filter quite helpful in investigating voter fraud claims
William Dembski’s explanatory filter is a decision strategy for identifying events that are unlikely to have happened purely by chance. The filter proceeds in three main steps, which can be illustrated via the plot device in Contact, a novel (1985) by Carl Sagan, followed by a film (1997): Eliminate events of large probability (necessity): A radio telescope receives a pattern of beeps and pauses. Perhaps the pattern seems strange to us but we could just be overinterpreting inevitable space noise. Eliminate events of medium probability (chance): The pattern turns out to be a sequence of prime numbers. However, large randomly generated numbers sometimes feature apparent patterns (five 5s in a row, for example) that don’t signify anything. Specify the event…