Robert J. Marks II

Director, Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Robert J. Marks Ph.D. is Senior Fellow and Director of the Bradley Center and is Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. Marks is a Fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America). He was the former Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and is the current Editor-in-Chief of BIO-Complexity. Marks is author of the books Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will Never Do and The Case For Killer Robots. He is co-author of the books For a Greater Purpose: The Life and Legacy of Walter BradleyNeural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks and Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics. For more information, see Dr. Marks’s expanded bio.

Archives

The Atomistic vs. Relational Model of Personhood

In this episode, host Robert J. Marks and guest Dr. Eric Jones continue to discuss the concept of the relational person and its implications for psychology research. They explore two competing models of the person: the atomistic, egoistic model and the relational model. Dr. Jones highlights examples of researchers who approach psychology research from an atomistic, egoistic perspective, rooted in materialism and naturalism. He also discusses research that supports the relational model, including studies on attachment theory, the Michelangelo Effect, and the Harvard Grant Study. The conversation emphasizes the importance of relationships and social connections in human development and overall well-being. Additional Resources Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information,

The Relational Person: Challenging the Dominant Model in Psychology

On this episode of Mind Matters News, host Robert J. Marks interviews Dr. Eric Jones, a professor of psychology at Regent University, about the concept of the relational person. Jones contributed a chapter on the topic to the recent volume Minding the Brain. Jones explains that the dominant view in psychology is the atomistic individual, which sees individuals as self-contained entities striving for independence. However, Jones argues for a relational view of the person, which sees individuals as part of an interdependent system. He uses the analogy of a hand to illustrate this, explaining that a hand cannot function independently from the rest of the body. Jones also discusses the influence of social connections on behavior, citing the Milgram experiment as an example. He

AI and Common Sense

Large Language Models and paraprosdokian one-liners
An LLM will never write a joke that gives another LLM a good honest belly laugh.

Talk More, Tech Less: Digital Wellness Tips From Dawn Wible

On this episode, host Robert J. Marks welcomes Dawn Wible, founder of the digital wellness organization Talk More. Tech Less., to discuss the impact of digital media on mental health and well-being. Wible emphasizes the need to be intentional about technology use and offers strategies for mitigating the negative effects of excessive screen time. Wible highlights five areas of life that are deeply affected by screens: physical health, mental health, time, relationships, and ethics. She suggests incorporating healthy habits such as taking breaks, setting boundaries, and being mindful of one’s digital footprint. Wible also recommends using tools like blue light filters and apps that block distracting websites. Ultimately, Wible encourages listeners to make healthier choices regarding

The AI Bandwagon & Biden’s Executive Order

There are dangers and AI mitigation is needed. The question, though, is how .
On Oct 30, 2023, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence. A follow-up  OMB Policy for management of AI was announced on March 28, 2024. Swallowing AI hype, the AI directive kills a fly with grenade just in case there are other flies nearby. AI remains an exciting often mind-blowing technology, but hyped futuristic depictions of AI in The Terminator and The Matrix are unrealizable science fiction. Unlike humans,  AI will never understand what it is doing, be creative or experience qualia. AI is a tool. Like electricity or thermonuclear energy, it can be used for good or evil. Or can be the source of unforeseen accidents ranging from frayed house wiring to Chernobyl. There are dangers and AI mitigation is needed. The

Cyberwarfare in the Israeli War

Cyberwarfare is the new arms race where opponents try to outdo each other using computer technology
Cyberwarfare is the new arms race where opponents try to outdo each other using computer technology. For example, some missiles are guided by the GPS I use daily and take for granted. Israel’s cybersecurity infrastructure has activated nationwide GPS jamming. The jamming seeks to disrupt drones and GPS-guided missiles aimed at the country.   Nowhere is GPS jamming more concentrated than in the Middle East. HERE is a map of areas around the world where GPS is disrupted. Click and drag to rotate the globe. In developing weapons in the cyberwarfare back and forth, the United States remains aware of dependency on easily disreputable technology like GPS. If GPS is disrupted, what technology can take its place? One approach is simple comparison of onboard maps to terrain

Is Methodological Naturalism Necessary for Scientific Progress?

In this episode, hosts Angus Menuge and Robert J. Marks conclude their three-part discussion with Dr. Robert Larmer about his chapter on methodological naturalism in the recent volume Minding the Brain. The trio argue that methodological naturalism is not the only viable approach in scientific inquiry and that it can be an obstruction to discovering the truth. They suggest that explanations should be based on how well they explain rather than being prescribed in advance. They also criticize the assumption that science requires the adoption of methodological naturalism, which guarantees that non-physical causes can never be recognized. Dr. Larmer proposes an alternative approach called methodological pluralism, which allows for a more open-minded and evidence-based exploration of

The State of Innovation and the Impact of AI

In this episode, host Robert J. Marks discusses the state of innovation and the impact of AI with guest Jeffrey Funk, author of the book Technology Change and the Rise of New Industries. They discuss the hype around AI, the limitations of large language models like GPT-3, the slowing rate of innovation, the impact of Goodhart’s Law on academia, and the need for a shift in metrics and a focus on practical applications. They also touch on the role of universities and corporations in driving innovation and the need for cross-fertilization and collaboration. Overall, they express skepticism about the current state of AI and emphasize the importance of measuring success based on real-world impact rather than just publications and metrics. Additional Resources Technology

Methodological Naturalism: Neutral Principle or Self-Refuting Philosophy?

In this episode, hosts Robert J. Marks and Angus Menuge interview Dr. Robert Larmer about his chapter on methodological naturalism in the recently published volume Minding the Brain. Larmer explains that methodological naturalism is the assumption that when pursuing knowledge, one must always posit a physical cause and never appeal to a non-physical cause. Larmer argues that methodological naturalism is not neutral and that it biases the search for truth in two ways. First, it makes it impossible to recognize and acknowledge non-physical causes, even if they exist. Second, it implies that mental states have no causal influence on our actions, leading to a problematic understanding of ourselves as rational agents. Larmer also discusses how methodological naturalism undermines the idea of

Can AI Ever Be Sentient? A Conversation with Blake Lemoine

AI can mimic sentience, but can it ever be sentient? On this episode, we return to our conversation with former Google engineer Blake Lemoine. Host Robert J. Marks has a lively back and forth with Lemoine, who made national headlines when, as an employee of Google, he claimed that Google’s AI software, dubbed LaMDA, might be sentient. Lemoine recounts his experience at Google and explains why he thinks LaMDA might be more powerful than Google lets on. Marks, for his part, maintains that while AI might be able to mimic aspects of human intelligence, it can never understand what it’s doing or be creative and conscious in ways humans can. The pair also discuss how to define consciousness, and explore ways that intelligence can be tested on machines.

AI and Wall Street’s Hype Curve

Almost all new tech has a hype curve. Here are the stages.
Technologies that have surfed the hype curve include superconductivity, the Segway, cold fusion, information theory, Theranos, Piltdown man and string theory.

Beyond the Physical: Embracing an Idealistic Worldview

In this episode of the Mind Matters Podcast, Hosts Robert J. Marks and Brian Krouse conclude their discussion with Dr. Doug Axe about idealism. They explore the question of where the mind exists in an idealistic worldview and how it differs from physicalism and substance dualism. They also discuss the implications of idealism for various scientific fields, such as neuroscience and quantum mechanics. The conversation touches on near-death experiences and the challenges they pose to physicalism. Dr. Axe summarizes his chapter on idealism in the book Minding the Brain and emphasizes the need for further dialogue and exploration of this worldview.  Additional Resources Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science Undeniable by Doug Axe Dr. Axe

From Material to Mind: Understanding Idealism

In this episode of the Mind Matters News podcast, host Robert J. Marks and co-host Brian Krouse continue their discussion of idealism with Dr. Doug Axe. In his chapter on the topic for the recent volume Minding the Brain, Axe presents four conundrums that support the move away from physicalism and dualism towards idealism. Axe discusses these conundrums with Marks and Krouse. The first conundrum is why physics looks so much like math. The second is why matter refuses to be material. The third is why physics is intrinsically non-reductionistic, and the fourth conundrum is how a true understanding of physics can be rationally incoherent. These conundrums suggest that the physical structure of the universe is not the base reality but instead point toward an idealistic reality, one

Healing the Brain: Insights from a Neurologist

Our brains are amazingly complex systems! But like most complex systems, there are lots of ways things can go wrong. But our brain is also adaptive, able to cope with or heal from some issues, either on its own over time or with medical intervention. On today’s episode, neurologist Dr. Andrew Knox discusses some of what can go wrong and how we can fix certain issues. Along the way, Dr. Knox and host Robert J. Marks also talk about how our minds interact with our bodies and the mysteries behind that connection. Additional Resources Dr. Andrew Knox at University of Wisconsin School of Medicine Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God’s Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You by John Burke After by Dr. Bruce Greyson Podcast

Unpacking Idealism: Animals and Consciousness

In this episode, co-hosts Robert J. Marks and Brian R. Krouse continue to discuss the concept of idealism with guest Dr. Doug Axe. The topic this time is idealism and its implications for animals and quantum mechanics. Idealism suggests that reality consists of thinkers and their thoughts, with physical objects perhaps being the thoughts of God. When it comes to animals, Dr. Axe argues that their behavior indicates a conscious experience, similar to humans. He also delves into the strange world of quantum mechanics, where particles like electrons exhibit both wave-like and particle-like behavior. This leads to the idea that the physical world is not the base reality. The conversation highlights the mind-bending nature of quantum mechanics and its potential alignment with the concept

A Commonsense Defense of Idealism

In this episode, co-hosts Robert J. Marks and Brian R. Krouse discuss the concept of idealism with guest Dr. Doug Axe. Idealism is the belief that reality exists exclusively in the minds and ideas of individuals. Dr. Axe explains that idealism suggests that the physical world is a product of divine thoughts, and that everything that exists is made up of thinkers and their thoughts. The hosts also discuss the problems with physicalism, which asserts that everything can be explained by the laws of physics, and dualism, which posits that there are two distinct ontological categories of existence. Dr. Axe argues that idealism provides a more coherent explanation for the relationship between the physical and non-physical aspects of reality. This is Part 1 of a four-part

Can Artificial Intelligence Hold Copyright or Patents?

Should AI get legal credit for what it generates? On this episode of Mind Matters from the archive, host Robert J. Marks welcomes attorney and author Richard Stevens to discuss the concept of legal neutrality for artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications for copyright and patent law. Stevens explains that AI is a tool created and controlled by humans, and therefore should not be granted legal personhood or special treatment under the law. He argues that AI-generated works should be treated the same as works created by humans, and that the focus should be on the expression of ideas rather than the process by which they were created. Stevens also addresses the issue of copyright infringement and the challenges of proving originality and independent creation in cases involving