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

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

ChatGPT: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby  

Reviewing the bot's progress (and problems) from over the last year
ChatGPT is an example of “large language model” (LLM) generative artificial intelligence. LLMs like ChatGPT have come a long way this year. Many writers, including me, have previously identified hurdles thought too high for AI to jump in the near future. In some cases, we were wrong.  Let’s review some of these claims and see how LLM’s have broken through. Can ChatGPT write jokes? Like Commander Data on Star Trek, AI doesn’t understand humor.  Joke writing is hit-or-miss with ChatGPT. I wrote about this in May 2023 where I became impressed with ChatGPT’s hits. I started all my joke writing queries with: “Complete the following to make it funny.”  Here are some of the more jocular responses with Q for query and A for the response. Q: To be

Tesla Recall Due to the Short Attention Span of Drivers

Tesla did nothing wrong, but some claim they didn’t do enough right.
Tesla is conducting a recall of about two million vehicles sold in the United States. Why? The recall is mostly due to easily distracted drivers with short attention spans. Tesla did nothing wrong, but some claim they didn’t do enough right. They followed standard design ethics in the development of their cars. On the other hand, Tesla’s marketing was misleading. A lawsuit against Tesla and its Autopilot self-driving software was won by Tesla earlier this year. The jurors in the case found that the software wasn’t at fault. Contrary to instructions from Tesla, the driver was inattentive. In 2018, an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian because the driver was distracted by a streaming of the NBC show The Voice. Any company that delivers engineered products should

Hope & Energy: Empowering Haiti Through Appropriate Technology

In the fall of 2022, the country of Haiti was facing a fuel and energy crisis, and in the intervening months, the situation has unfortunately not improved. In this episode of Mind Matters from the archive, host Robert J. Marks interviews Brian Thomas and Kayla Garrett from JustEnergy, a nonprofit organization that works in Haiti to provide solar energy systems for hospitals, clinics, schools, and orphanages. They discuss the fuel and energy crisis in Haiti, the challenges faced by the Haitian people, and the efforts of JustEnergy to help improve energy access and create jobs. They also highlight the use of appropriate technology, such as solar panels and lithium ferro phosphate batteries, to address the energy needs of the Haitian population. Additional Resources More information

After You Die: Near-Death Experiences With Glimpses of Heaven and Hell

Can near-death experiences provide evidence that the mind is greater than the brain? On today’s episode from the archive, host Robert J. Marks interviews Walter Bradley about near-death experiences. Dr. Bradley discusses the mind-body problem and delves into near-death experiences, including common threads, stand-out examples, and even some discussion of near-death experiences in the ancient world. Near-death experiences have gained visibility recently, with several medical studies and the release of the Angel Studios film After Death. A closer look at these unique accounts provide evidence that the mind is greater than the brain. Additional Resources The new book Minding the Brain contains a chapter on near-death experiences by Dr. Gary

Minding the Brain: Unraveling the Mystery of Consciousness

Are the mind and brain distinct? What is the connection between our physical brain and our mental thinking? On today’s episode, podcaster Pat Flynn concludes his conversation with the editors of the new book Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science. After discussing an overview of the philosophy of mind and the range of physicalist perspectives in previous episodes, the editors now review the range of dualist views on the mind-body problem, including dualism, hylomorphism, and idealism. They also discuss the limitations of artificial intelligence and the challenges AI faces in understanding consciousness and creativity. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES Learn more and get three FREE chapters: Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind,

Minding the Brain: Why Science and Philosophy Need Each Other

Does science have to stay within a materialistic framework? It turns out, materialism itself isn’t science — it’s philosophy.  In this episode, Pat Flynn interviews Brian Krouse, Angus Menuge, and Robert J. Marks about alternatives to materialism and how scientific exploration leads us to deeper questions that science alone can never answer. Additional Resources Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science Ranked #1 on Amazon.com in New Releases in Cognitive Psychology Robert J. Marks at Discovery.org Brian Krouse at Discovery.org Angus J. L. Menuge at Discovery.org Podcast

Minding the Brain: Discussing the Groundbreaking New Book on the Mind-Brain Problem

Is the mind more than the brain? If so, what’s the difference? In today’s episode, Pat Flynn interviews the editors of the brand-new book Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science. Together, they discuss different perspectives on the mind-brain problem, consciousness, and the limits of materialism. Additional Resources Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science Ranked #1 on Amazon.com in New Releases in Cognitive Psychology Robert J. Marks at Discovery.org Brian Krouse at Discovery.org Angus J. L. Menuge at Discovery.org Podcast

An Introduction to Minding the Brain

Is your mind the same thing as your brain? Or are there aspects of mind that are external to the biology of the brain?
Editor’s note: We are delighted to welcome the new book from Discovery Institute Press, Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science, edited by Angus J. Menuge, Brian R. Krouse, and Robert J. Marks. Below is an excerpt from the Introduction. Look for more information at MindingtheBrain.org. Is your mind the same thing as your brain? Or are there aspects of mind that are external to the biology of the brain? This question, referred to as the mind-body problem or the mind-brain problem, has been debated for centuries and has captivated curious minds since the dawn of human contemplation. What is the relationship between our mental life and physical body? Intuition suggests our subjective experience of the world is tightly bound up with our

When the Government Controls the Spectrum

The federal government determines how the radio spectrum is used and who can use it. Turns out, renting out the spectrum to private companies is a billion-dollar business. The spectrum business goes to the highest bidder. But what problems does that pose in the long run? Google engineer Andrew Clegg discusses this and more with Dr. Robert J. Marks and Austin Egbert in today’s podcast.  Additional Resources The United States Radio Frequency Spectrum Chart Robert J. Marks at Discovery.org Austin Egbert at IEEE Xplore Pentagon, telecom industry’s battle over spectrum symptomatic of a troubled system  Podcast

Why You Are Non-Computable

Usually Robert Marks does the interviewing, but today, the script is flipped. In this episode, we revisit the press tour Dr. Marks went on to promote the seminal ideas of his 2022 book Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will, which is about artificial intelligence and the non-computable traits (like creativity and emotional sentience) that make human beings unique.  Additional Resources Robert J. Marks at Discovery.org Why Computers Will Never Understand What They are Doing Hear Bill’s podcasts at www.BillMeyerShow.com Dr. Robert Marks – Can AI predict school shooters? Dr. Robert Marks on AI Podcast

Can the Radio Spectrum Ever “Fill Up”? 

Right now, there are electromagnetic signals bouncing off and passing through you. But what happens when the radio spectrum gets overused and starts filling up? That’s the question addressed in today’s episode with Robert J. Marks, research scientist Austin Egbert, and special guest, Google engineer Andrew Clegg.  Resources The United States Radio Frequency Spectrum Chart Robert J. Marks at Discovery.org Austin Egbert at IEEE Xplore Podcast