Robert J. Marks II

Director, Senior Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence

Besides serving as Director, Robert J. Marks Ph.D. hosts the Mind Matters podcast for the Bradley Center. He 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 the Optical Society of America. He was Charter President of the IEEE Neural Networks Council and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks. He is coauthor of the books Neural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks (MIT Press) and Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics (World Scientific). For more information, see Dr. Marks’s expanded bio.

Archives

Modern Bitcoin’s Surprising Lesson About Ancient Scripture

It turns out there’s a striking parallel between the historical record of scripture and the blockchain ledger
This article was published in The Stream (September 13, 2022) and is republished with permission. Can we trust the authenticity of the New Testament scriptures? Trust is foundational in the acceptance of scripture. There’s an interesting lesson to learn from a very modern system of trust: money. Even Bitcoin, believe it or not. An Exchange of Trust We’ll start with old-fashioned familiar money. Why is a twenty dollar bill worth $20? It’s just a small sheet of paper, after all. The answer is trust. We trust the piece of paper has value because its worth is backed by the United States government. We also trust that Walmart will give us $20 worth of Doritos if we give them a twenty…

When Should AI Art Be Protected by Copyright?

Headlines read that AI has recently won an art contest. But what is art?
Damien Hirst cut a cow and calf each lengthwise into two halves and displayed them in four separate baths of formaldehyde in clear display tanks. The title of the creation, “Mother and Child Divided,” is a pun. The cow and calf were cut in two and were displayed physically separated. “Mother and Child Divided” in two ways. Get it? Hee hee. Is this art? Apparently so. The macabre bifurcated bovine creation won top place in the 1995 Turner Prize art competition. This simple example reveals that, like judging the palatability of raw oysters, ranking the quality of art is highly subjective. Jason Allen entered a piece entitled “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” and took home the first-place prize at Colorado State Fair’s…

Should AI Be Granted Patents on the Designs It Helps Develop?

That’s a current argument before the US Court of Appeals
Artificial intelligence (AI) should no more be given a patent on an invention than my word processor should be granted a copyright on the article I’m writing. Yet the US Appeals Court has recently been told: [AI] should be considered the inventor on patent applications covering a beverage container based on fractal geometry and a light beacon that flashes in a new way. Blake Britten, “Artificial intelligence can be a patent ‘inventor,’ U.S. appeals court told” at Reuters (June 6, 2022) Like bulldozers, electricity, and nuclear power, AI is a tool. Make no mistake, AI is a powerful and potentially dangerous tool. But like my word processor. it ultimately does only what it is instructed to do. Here is a…

AI: The Shadow of Frankenstein Lurks in the Uncanny Valley

The fifth and final excerpt from Non-Computable You (2022), from Chapter 6, focuses on the scarier AI hype
Wrapping AI in an impressive physical package can magnify the perceived impact of new technology. Doing so uses seductive optics. The confusing of AI packaging with AI content was evident in media excitement about a Buddhist robot who delivers messages to the faithful. “The world’s first sutra-chanting android deity, modeled after Kannon the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, was introduced to the public last week,” the report reads. The robot can “move its eyes, hands, and torso, make human-like gestures during its speech, and brings its hands together in prayer. A camera implanted in the left eye to focus on a subject gives the impression of eye contact.”1 Technologically speaking, nothing special is happening here. The messages from the Buddhist robot…

Artificial Intelligence, Worshipped as God, Is No Ordinary Deity!

Not only will we be reborn into new, immortal silicon bodies but rules regarding theft don’t seem to apply anymore…
This article was published in The Stream (July 6, 2022) under the title “The Church of Artificial Intelligence of the Future” and is republished with permission. There is a church that worships artificial intelligence (AI). Zealots believe that an extraordinary AI future is inevitable. The technology is not here yet, but we are assured that it’s coming. We will have the ability to be uploaded onto a computer and thereby achieve immortality. You will be reborn into a new, immortal silicon body. Of course, through salvation in Jesus Christ, Christianity has offered a path to immortality for over two thousand years. Someday, we are told, software will write better and better AI software to ultimately achieve a superintelligence. The superintelligence…

Some Infinities Are Bigger Than Others But There’s No Biggest One

Georg Cantor came up with an ingenious proof that infinities can differ in size even though both remain infinite
When a child is asked “what is bigger than infinity,” the response is often “Infinity plus one.” No. Infinity plus one is still infinity. But we can show that the number of points on the interval zero to one is a bigger infinity than the counting numbers are. The first clue is the fact that we can’t count the number of points on a line interval. Try labeling the points on a line as points 1, 2, 3, etc. No matter what scheme you come up with, there will always be some points on the line segment that are not included in your count. Georg Cantor (1845–1918) came up with an ingenious argument to show that the infinite number of…

4. How Almost Any Number Can Encode the Library of Congress

That’s a weird, counterintuitive — but quite real — consequence of the concept of infinity in math
We are used to dealing with simple numbers, like ½ and 2. Most numbers are not that simple. Most numbers, like 0.847859028378490… go on forever and ever without repeating or showing any pattern. Note that such numbers, called irrational numbers, have an infinite number of digits. And there are a lot of them. The number 0.847859028378490… for example differs from the number 0.847859023378490… (See if you can spot the difference.) If two numbers differ only at the billionth decimal and are otherwise the same, they are different numbers. Because an irrational number is infinitely long — and we have seen in the first three posts that weird things happen with infinity — we’d expect something weird to happen with irrational…

Machines with Minds? The Lovelace Test vs. the Turing Test

The answers computer programs give sometimes surprise me too — but they always result from their programming
Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) by Robert J. Marks is available here. What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 2. Selmer Bringsjord, and his colleagues have proposed the Lovelace test as a substitute for the flawed Turing test. The test is named after Ada Lovelace. Bringsjord defined software creativity as passing the Lovelace test if the program does something that cannot be explained by the programmer or an expert in computer code.2 Computer programs can generate unexpected and surprising results.3 Results from computer programs are often unanticipated. But the question is, does the computer create a result that the programmer, looking back, cannot explain? When it comes to assessing creativity (and…

3. In Infinity, Lines and Squares Have an Equal Number of Points

We can demonstrate this fact with a simple diagram
In previous posts, we have established that two sets are of the same size if there is a one-to-one correspondence between the elements of both sets. Applying this principle to Cantor’s theory of infinity leads us to the weird but valid conclusion that the number of points on a line segment is the same as the number of points in a square. To show that this is true, here is a picture of a unit length line segment and a unit square. Let’s choose a point on the line segment. Let’s say 0.6917381276543… . It’s shown with a big blue dot on the line segment on the left. If this point corresponds to an irrational number, it goes on forever…

2. Infinity Illustrates That the Universe Has a Beginning

The logical consequences of a literally infinite past are absurd, as a simple illustration will show
The size of a set is how many elements it contains. The set of letters {A,B,C} and the set of girls {Shirley, Goodness, Mercy} both have a cardinality of three. In a previous post, we showed that the infinities of counting numbers and even numbers are the same. Many subsets of the counting numbers have the same infinite size as the counting numbers. For example, consider the counting numbers and the set of numbers divisible by 10. and The size of the two sets is the same if there is a one-to-one mapping from one set to another. Here, 1 maps to 10, 2 maps to 20, 3 to 30, etc. This continues forever. The two sets are the same…