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Mission

The mission of the Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence at Discovery Institute is to explore the benefits as well as the challenges raised by artificial intelligence (AI) in light of the enduring truth of human exceptionalism. People know at a fundamental level that they are not machines. But faulty thinking can cause people to assent to views that in their heart of hearts they know to be untrue. The Bradley Center seeks to help individuals—and our society at large—to realize that we are not machines while at the same time helping to put machines (especially computers and AI) in proper perspective. Learn More

Walter Bradley

About Walter Bradley

Walter Bradley is my hero because the impact of his life will be celebrated in perpetuity. I want a heritage like that. But ironically such a goal cannot be achieved by making it a goal. ⋮ Read More …

Articles & Podcasts

Should Robots, Instead of Humans, Go Into Space?

They might be better at life in space than humans. But could they be counselors too?
Are we here to re-create ourselves as robotic humanoids? In a recent podcast, Robert J. Marks discusses what robots can do for us with retired internist and author Geoffrey Simmons. In his most recent book, Are We Here to Re-Create Ourselves?: The Convergence of Designs (2019), Simmons argues that in creating artificially intelligent robots, we are trying to recreate the human being. But can we really recreate everything about ourselves? For example, they discussed, can robots be counselors? Should robots go into space instead of humans? As a writer, Simmons has found audiences for both fiction and non-fiction. For example, he wrote Z-papers (1976), a medically based crime thriller in which “In a Chicago hospital, the U.S. Vice Presidential candidate…

Surprising Ways AI Can Help Recover Lost Languages

Researchers into lost languages hail the new technologies as a golden age for discovery
When an apparently indecipherable manuscript from a lost language turns up, AI can help. But first, how is a language born and how does it die (or get lost)? We really don’t know how human language was born; theories abound but all we know for sure is that it is unique. In a 2017 paper at BMC Biology, evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel states flatly, “Human language is unique among all forms of animal communication.” In his open-access paper, he cuts short the widely popularized claims for chimpanzee language: Most ape sign language, for example, is concerned with requests for food. The trained chimpanzee Nim Chimpsky’s longest recorded ‘utterance’, when translated from sign language, was ‘give orange me give eat orange…

The Human Brain Has Given Researchers a Big Surprise

Gray matter isn't the big story. Connection—the connectome—is the astonishing feature of the brain.
We hear a good deal about the gray matter (the neurons) in the brain. They are often considered synonymous with thinking. For a long time, it was believed that the white matter did not do very much and its signals were generally excluded from brain mapping studies as noise. But that has all changed in recent years: You might think that the brain is mostly gray matter, as it certainly looks that way, but in actuality there is more white matter in the brain. White matter is the infrastructure of the brain and includes the long nerve axons and their protective layer of fat, called myelin. Gray matter, on the other hand, is composed of the neurons themselves. Scientists have…

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Are We Here to Re-Create Ourselves?

What are the capacities of human-like robots? Will they ever replace humans? Dr. Geoffrey Simmons and Dr. Robert J. Marks discuss artificial intelligence, outer space, consciousness, and Dr. Simmons’ book Are We Here to Re-Create Ourselves?: The Convergence of Designs. Show Notes 00:24 | Introducing Dr. Geoffrey Simmons 02:07 | Are we here to re-create ourselves? 04:11 | A purpose…

Can Computers Think?

Will computers ever be conscious? What happens to our consciousness after we die? Has science made philosophy irrelevant? Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Bernardo Kastrup discuss consciousness, artificial intelligence, and philosophy. Show Notes 00:38 | Introducing Dr. Bernardo Kastrup 01:12 | Can computers think? 03:34 | Intentionality 07:11 | Does the natural world have a person behind it? 10:34 |…

The Evolution (or Not) of Consciousness

Did consciousness evolve? How do materialists deal with the definition of consciousness? Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Bernardo Kastrup discuss consciousness, evolution, and intelligent design. Show Notes 00:28 | Introducing Dr. Bernardo Kastrup 01:05 | Did consciousness evolve? 03:35 | Two alternatives for Darwinists 05:00 | Intelligent design theory 07:15 | Jerry Fodor on natural selection 10:52 | Random mutations…

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