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

Robert Marks & Zoltan Istvan Debate AI and Transhumanism

Are we on the verge of an era of incalculable human progress because of the power of AI, or are we threatened with being made obsolete and perhaps extinguished in an age of intelligent machines? In this episode, Robert J. Marks and author Zoltan Istvan debate secular transhumanism and artificial intelligence (AI). Marks argues that AI can never be creative and that it will never understand what it does or possess consciousness. He believes that the danger of AI lies in unintended consequences or malicious human interference. Istvan, on the other hand, sees AI as a potential existential threat to humanity. He believes that AI could become so intelligent that it surpasses human understanding and control. The discussion also touches on topics such as the singularity, AI’s impact on

Exploring Personal Identity: More from Dr. Jonathan Loose

In this episode of Mind Matters News, hosts Robert J. Marks and Angus Menuge continue their discussion with Dr. Jonathan J. Loose, author of the chapter “The Simple Theory of Personal Identity and the Life Scientific” in the book Minding the Brain. They explore thought experiments that challenge the idea that personal identity is solely determined by physical and psychological continuity. They also discuss how the simple view of personal identity aligns with common sense and the practical implications for science and reasoning. The conversation wraps with the importance of considering all evidence, including subjective experiences, in understanding reality. Additional Resources Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science Jonathan J

Can Free Will and Predestination Both Be True?

Seemingly contradictory arguments can sometimes be resolved from a higher level perspective. Quantum mechanics vs. classical physics provides an illustration
The conflict between free will and predestination disappears when considering the perspective of the almighty “I Am” vs. our human perspective.

High Tech Wizards Are Trying To Create a God in Their Own Image

Some AI industry figures believe in the coming of the Singularity, wherein machines duplicate and then exceed the abilities of man
There is no convincing evidence that computers will ever experience creativity, understanding, and sentience. These are human attributes that can't be computed.

Dr. Jonathan Loose on Personal Identity and the Life Scientific

In this episode of Mind Matters News, co-hosts Robert J Marks and Angus Menuge interview Dr. Jonathan Loose, another featured author included in the recent volume Minding the Brain. The book delves into the age-old question is the mind more than the brain? Loose’s chapter is titled “The Simple Theory of Personal Identity and The Life Scientific.” The trio discuss the concept of personal identity and its relationship to consciousness and scientific discovery. They explore the distinction between identity at a time and identity over time, as well as the differences between simple and complex views of personal identity. They also examine the implications of recognizing an immaterial substance as the basis of personal identity and its relevance to scientific observation

Trail Life: An Antidote for Digital Addiction in Boys

Are there any trusted organizations today that can help boys avoid the pitfalls of digital technologies while encouraging them to develop positive character traits? On this double episode from the archive, host Robert Marks speaks to former Eagle Scout and businessman Kent Marks about the problems facing young men today and the organization he co-founded to help remedy those problems. Trail Life USA is an organization that promotes digital wellness and outdoor engagement. Founded in 2013 as an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America, Trail Life USA focuses on Judeo-Christian values and outdoor activities. The organization has seen significant growth, with over 50,000 members and troops in all 50 states. It emphasizes safety and vetting of leaders to ensure the well-being of its members.

A Case for the Relational Person: More From Dr. Eric Jones

In this episode, Dr. Eric Jones, a professor of psychology at Regent University, concludes his discussion of the concept of the relational person and its implications for psychology. He explains that the traditional materialistic and atomistic view of the individual is insufficient to explain social thought and behavior. Instead, he argues for a relational model that emphasizes the interconnectedness of individuals and the importance of relationships in shaping behavior and identity. However, he acknowledges that his viewpoint is not widely accepted in the field of psychology, which tends to favor materialistic and evolutionary perspectives. He also notes that his perspective aligns with his Christian beliefs, something that may limit acceptance of his ideas within the scientific

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.