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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

An Unlikely Collaboration to Elucidate Life’s Blueprints

Joining together the forces of biology and engineering to improve both fields
What happens when you get sixty biologists and engineers together in a conference for three days? That’s the question asked by Steve Laufman, head of the Engineering Research Group at Discovery. In the recent “Conference on Engineering in Living Systems,” biologists and engineers of every stripe got together to see how the two disciplines could benefit each other. For biologists, learning how engineers examine, design, and plan projects was eye-opening. Traditionally, biologists focus on individual interactions, not whole-systems approaches. For engineers, discovering the details of cellular architecture and control mechanisms was especially enlightening.  The conference had a diverse set of presentations, covering numerous areas of overlap between the two fields. One presentation discussed biologically-inspired robots, as well as how they can…

Publish or Perish — Another Example of Goodhart’s Law

In becoming a target, publication has ceased to be a good measure
The linchpin of scientific advances is that scientists publish their findings so that others can learn from them and expand on their insights. This is why some books are rightly considered among the most influential mathematical and scientific books of all time:  Elements, Euclid, c. 300 B.C.Physics, Aristotle, c. 330 B.C.On the Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, Nicolaus Copernicus, 1543Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Galileo Galilei, 1632Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Isaac Newton, 1687The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin, 1859 As Newton said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” It seems logical to gauge the importance of modern-day researchers by how much they have published and how often their research has been cited…

U.S. Moratorium(ish) on Gain-of-Function Research

Evaluating the effectiveness of the 2014 U.S. moratorium on gain-of-function experiments
In the last two articles, we discussed the vindication of the lab leak theory through the publication of several investigative articles, and the risky nature of gain-of-function research and the evidence that it may be a key component to the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we turn to the U.S. Due to the risky nature of gain-of-function research, what actions has the U.S. government taken to mitigate those risks? In 2014, the U.S. government placed a moratorium on new gain-of-function experiments for influenza, MERS, and SARS. That moratorium defines “gain-of-function” in very broad terms covering any “research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease.” The moratorium expired in 2017 and was replaced by an oversight board,…

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Paul Werbos: The National Science Foundation and AI

In today’s episode, Dr. Robert J. Marks continues his conversation with Dr. Paul Werbos, the inventor of the most commonly used technique to train artificial neural networks. Listen in as they turn to the National Science Foundation, its role in steering research in artificial intelligence, and the major turning points in machine intelligence that Dr. Werbos witnessed as a program…

Paul Werbos: The Evolution of Artificial Neural Networks

The applications of artificial neural networks are legion. Today, Robert J. Marks talks with Dr. Paul Werbos, the man who invented the method used for over four decades to train artificial neural networks. The two discuss Werbos’s mathematical journey, the error backpropagation algorithm, and the slog of “making it” in scientific academic research. Show Notes 01:19 | Introducing Dr. Paul…

Bingecast: Michael Egnor on the Human Brain

In this Bingecast episode, Dr. Robert J. Marks and Dr. Michael Egnor explore the human brain and its relationship to the mind. Is the mind an emergent property of the brain? Is there neurological evidence for the soul? What have brain experiments taught us about free will and the human person? Can you still think in a coma? Show Notes…

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