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

Note to Parents: Grooming and Wokeness Are Embedded in Chatbots

With or without tuning, all AI chatbots are biased one way or another. AI without bias is like water without wet
First impressions of a person can be wrong. Further interactions can reveal disturbing personality warts. Contrary to initial impressions, we might find out they lie, they are disturbingly woke,  they can’t do simple math, their politics is on the extreme left, and they have no sense of humor or common sense.   I have just described Open AI’s GPT3 chatbot, ChatGPT. Initially, users are gobsmacked by the its performance. Its flashy prose responses to simple queries look amazing.  But become roommates with the chatbot for a few hours and its shortcomings become evident .  It can’t get its facts straight, can’t do simple math problems, hates Donald Trump, and is being groomed to be “woke.” Its performance warts are so numerous that Bradley Center Senior Fellow Gary N. Smith hoists a Read More ›

How San Francisco’s Gun Fears Prevented Lifesaving Innovation

Killer robots in law enforcement would reduce the death toll but they are a bridge too far for many politicians
In November, 2022, San Francisco voted to allow police to deploy killer robots. Less than a month later, the city reversed their decision. Initially, in an 8-3 vote, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors allowed law enforcement to use robots “as a deadly force option when risk of loss of life to members of the public or officers is imminent and outweighs any other force option available to SFPD.” Sounds like reasonable policy, but protestors held up “NO KILLER ROBOTS!” signs at City Hall and the Board of Supervisors caved. This may be a case of hoplophobia, an irrational fear of firearms. So-called “killer robots” can deploy explosives to allow passage through blockaded doors or, in extreme situations, kill those who put innocent Read More ›

Celebrating My 2 Billionth Birth-Second: What Big Numbers Mean

Let’s see if we can give a clearer, sharper personality to these big numbers
I have lived for over two billion seconds. In 2013, I celebrated my 2 billionth birth-second. The party did not last long. Today US spending and deficits are going through the roof. References to billions and trillions of dollars of spending and deficit are everywhere. The late US Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois is purported to have said “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’re talking about real money.” He said this in the middle of the last century. Today we can replace “billion” in Dirksen’s quote with “trillion.” Let’s see if we can give a clearer, sharper personality to these big numbers. A trillion is a thousand times bigger than a billion. If we scale a trillion Read More ›

Did the GPT3 Chatbot Pass the Lovelace Creativity Test?

The Lovelace Test determines whether the computer can think creatively. We found out…
The GPT-3 chatbot is awesome AI. Under the hood, GPT3 is a transformer model that uses sequence-to-sequence deep learning that can produce original text given an input sequence. In other words, GPT-3 is trained by using how words are positionally related. The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language is called syntax. Semantics is the branch of linguistics concerned with the meanings of words. GPT-3 trains on the syntax of training data to learn and generate interesting responses to queries. This was the intent of the programmers. GPT-3 is not directly concerned with semantics. Given a tutorial on a topic from the web, for example, GPT-3 does not learn from the tutorial’s teaching, but only Read More ›

How Google’s LaMDA Resolved an Old Conflict in AI

Will two conflicting views always be in opposition? Or can they sometimes be resolved at a higher level?
In the movie Fiddler on the Roof there is a debate at one point. After listening to the cases made, a listener agrees with conclusions made from both sides of a conflict. Someone points out that “they can’t both be right!” to which the agreeable listener says “You know, you are also right.” Interestingly, the claim that the two sides of an issue will always be in opposition is not always true. The two sides can be in apparent conflict and both be right. Sometimes, but not always. The classic example is the blind men and the elephant. After feeling the elephant’s leg, one blind man says the elephant is like a tree. After feeling the elephant’s tail, another says the elephant Read More ›

How the Inflation of Journal Citations Impacts Academia

Adjusted for inflation, a citation today is worth about half what it was ten years ago
Over 30 years ago, I coauthored a book, Neural Smithing, on training artificial neural networks. In 2021 it was cited 112 times — more than in any previous year. Why? I wish the only reason was that my book is a classic and has stood the test of time. But the book was on training neural networks and a lot has happened in that field over the last 30 years. Another, more substantial reason, I’m afraid, is citation inflation. Stated simply, there are many more citations today than a few years ago and my book is catching its fair share. Monetary inflation can be corrected to tell us the value of a year 2000 dollar in 2022. Likewise, citation inflation Read More ›

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 Read More ›

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 Read More ›

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 Read More ›