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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

Royal Society: Don’t Censor Misinformation; It Makes Things Worse

While others demand crackdowns on “fake news,” the Society reminds us that the history of science is one of error correction
A leading science organization, the Royal Society (Britain’s equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences), has put out a report discouraging social media censorship, with special reference to the COVID-19 pandemic: The Royal Society, the U.K.’s academy of sciences, published a study of online scientific and health misinformation Wednesday, investigating its root causes and brainstorming possible solutions. The scientists concluded that censoring content deemed to be misinformation is often harmful and antithetical to the principles of scientific inquiry… The report found that online censorship risked pushing misinformation underground and off of major social media platforms, where it is less likely to be exposed to countervailing opinions. Censorship also risks removing or suppressing content that may be true or helpful to…

Will the Real “Predatory Journal” Please Stand Up?

Large publishers serve themselves by painting "predatory journals" with a broad brush
The scientific publishing industry has been on a hunt for what it calls “predatory journals.” They want to make sure that all scientific publications occur in “legitimate” and “reputable” journals. Additionally, they encourage scholars to avoid “predatory” journals which are there merely to enrich themselves by having you pay for access. While I agree with these ideas in principle, I’ve noticed more and more that the way that these principles are applied has been, well, incredibly self-serving for the journals. To begin with, let’s look at a commentary on predatory journals published in 2019 in the journal Nature: Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication — along with authors’ fees — without performing promised quality checks for issues such…

Why Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin Are Not Ready for Prime Time

Bernard Fickser at Expensivity — friendly to cryptos in principle — offers an unsparing look at the current problems
At Expensivity, Bernard Fickser, who has explained how to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) now offers “The Truth About Cryptocurrencies: A Clearheaded Guide to the Crypto World.” (January 15, 2022) For your convenience, we are serializing his work, which can be read in whole here. Here’s Part 6 (of 6): 6 Conclusion: Is Crypto a Mature Technology? So far, this article’s approach to crypto has been a balancing act, weighing pros against cons. Thus, we’ve seen much to commend crypto, but also much to raise doubts about it. In this closing section, I’m going negative. My concluding thesis is this: peer-to-peer distributed blockchain-based cryptocurrencies as they exist now represent an immature technology and miss much of what we would like to see…

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Design versus Naturalist Origin Theories of Animal Algorithms

The programming inside the animal brain is much like a game of Jenga. If one tries to pull the wrong block, then the entire stack comes crashing down. Robert J. Marks and Eric Cassell discuss how animal algorithms serve as the perfect example of irreducible complexity. Show Notes 01:25 | Introducing Eric Cassell 01:52 | What is the source of…

Jaw Dropping Algorithms That Allow Social Behavior to Thrive

How do bees know how to build their hives? Insects have a wide variety of fascinating social behaviors. Where do they come from? Robert J. Marks and Eric Cassell, author of Animal Algorithms, discuss the origins of these mysterious instincts and how AI research has learned a great deal from nature. Show Notes 00:39 | Introducing Eric Cassell 01:01 |…

The Astonishing Algorithms That Allow Animals to Navigate & Migrate

An algorithm is a step-by-step procedure to perform a specific task. We usually think of algorithms as being performed by computers. Did you know that animals have built-in algorithms of their own? Some of these amazing algorithms allow animals to migrate to new places and navigate back to previous locations. Eric Cassell discusses his new book, Animal Algorithms, with Robert…

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