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artificial intelligence

Gary Marcus — Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust

Shermer and Marcus discuss: why AI chatbot LaMDA is not sentient • “mind”, “thinking”, and “consciousness”, and how do molecules and matter give rise to such nonmaterial processes • the hard problem of consciousness • the self and other minds • How would we know if an AI system was sentient? • Can AI systems be conscious? • free will, determinism, compatibilism, and panpsychism • language • Can we have an inner life without language? • How rational or irrational an animal are we?

David Chalmers — Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy

Michael Shermer speaks with University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science and codirector of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University, Dr. David Chalmers, about his book Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy.

eSkeptic for March 19, 2022

Michael Shermer speaks with University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science and codirector of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness at New York University, Dr. David Chalmers, about his book Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy.

Leonard Mlodinow — Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking

Extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking. In this conversation, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

eSkeptic for January 11, 2022

Extraordinary advances in psychology and neuroscience have proven that emotions are as critical to our well-being as thinking. In this conversation, Michael Shermer speaks with Leonard Mlodinow about his new book Emotional: How Feelings Shape Our Thinking.

Richard Firth-Godbehere on emotions and their history, based on his book A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know

Michael Shermer speaks with Richard Firth-Godbehere his book A Human History of Emotion: How the Way We Feel Built the World We Know, drawing on psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, art, and religious history, and taking us on a fascinating tour of the central and often under-appreciated role emotions have played in human societies throughout history.

Antonio Damasio — Feeling & Knowing: Making Minds Conscious

In episode 221, Michael Shermer speaks with Antonio Damasio about recent findings across multiple scientific disciplines that have given rise to new understandings of consciousness.

eSkeptic for October 26, 2021

In episode 221, Michael Shermer speaks with Antonio Damasio about recent findings across multiple scientific disciplines that have given rise to new understandings of consciousness.

Jeff Hawkins — A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence

For all of neuroscience’s advances, we’ve made little progress on its biggest question: How do simple cells in the brain create intelligence? Jeff Hawkins and his team discovered that the brain uses maplike structures to build a model of the world — not just one model, but hundreds of thousands of models of everything we know. This discovery allows Hawkins to answer important questions about how we perceive the world.

eSkeptic for April 3, 2021

In The Michael Shermer Show # 169, Michael Shermer speaks with Jeff Hawkins, cofounder of Numenta: a neuroscience research company, about his new book A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence. PLUS: Raymond Barglow and Margret Schaefer discuss the anti-vaccination movement in the age of COVID-19.

Andrew Rader — Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars

For the first time in history, the human species has the technology to destroy itself. But having developed that power, humans are also able to leave Earth and voyage into the vastness of space. After millions of years of evolution, we’ve arrived at the point where we can settle other worlds and begin the process of becoming multi-planetary. How did we get here? What does the future hold for us?

eSkeptic for June 16, 2020

In Science Salon # 120 Michael Shermer speaks with Andrew Rader about his book Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars. PLUS is Göbekli Tepe, a 12,000 year old site in Turkey, proof of a lost civilization, or is there another answer?

Stuart Russell — Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control

How can we ensure AI never have power over us? Stuart Russell says we can rebuild AI on a new foundation in which machines are designed to be inherently uncertain about the human preferences they are required to satisfy. Such machines would be humble, altruistic, and committed to pursue our objectives, not theirs. This new foundation would allow us to create machines that are provably deferential and provably beneficial.

eSkeptic for June 2, 2020

In Science Salon # 118 Michael Shermer speaks with distinguished artificial intelligence researcher Stuart Russell about this new book Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control. PLUS social psychologist Carol Tavris discusses two new books whose authors separate what’s right in the pursuit of justice from what’s self-righteous.

Matt Ridley — How Innovation Works: and Why It Flourishes in Freedom

Innovation is the main event of the modern age, the reason we experience both dramatic improvements in our living standards and unsettling changes in our society. Matt Ridley argues that we need to think about innovation as an incremental, bottom-up, fortuitous process that happens to society as a direct result of the human habit of exchange, rather than an orderly, top-down process developing according to a plan.

eSkeptic for May 26, 2020

In Science Salon # 117, Michael Shermer speaks with Matt Ridley about his book How Innovation Works: and Why It Flourishes in Freedom.

Ten Years Away: …and Always Will Be

Peter Kassan reviews Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2019).

eSkeptic for December 31, 2019

In Science Salon # 97 Michael Shermer speaks with former Jehovah’s Witness Amber Scorah about the psychology of religious belief and her new book Leaving the Witness: Exiting a Religion and Finding a Life. PLUS Peter Kassan reviews Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans by Melanie Mitchell.

Daniel Oberhaus — Extraterrestrial Languages

Exploring Earthlings’ various attempts to reach out to non-Earthlings over the centuries, Daniel Oberhaus poses some not entirely answerable questions. Is there not only a universal grammar (as Noam Chomsky has posited), but also a grammar of the universe? If we send a message into space, will extraterrestrial beings receive it? Will they understand? What languages will they (and we) speak? If we can’t even communicate with non-human mammals and primates, how are we going to communicate with sentient alien beings?

eSkeptic for October 22, 2019

The endlessly fascinating question of whether we are alone in the universe has always been accompanied by another, more complicated one: if there is extraterrestrial life, how would we communicate with it? In Science Salon # 88 Michael Shermer speaks with Daniel Oberhaus about his new book: Extraterrestrial Languages.

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