The presumption of materialism lies at the root of much of today’s journalism and speculation about the future of artificial intelligence. Indeed, it has generated volumes and volumes of hype. A materialistic understanding of human abilities like consciousness, creativity, love, and freedom produce two corollary errors: an overestimation of the potential of algorithms and a downgrading of those qualities in humans. In this episode of Great Minds, Michael Medved discusses these inherent limitations of artificial intelligence and the prospects that AI will evolve into something like ourselves.
To be a conservative, says Yale polymath David Gelernter, is to “give due credit to the ideas that created the civilization we live within.” A simple and beautiful summary. In a new podcast episode of Great Mind with Michael Medved, Dr. Gelernter talks with our host Mr. Medved about the shocking irresponsibility in the failure to introduce young people to the best achievements in thought. They also, however, discuss evidence that our civilization is due for a healthy correction as we “snap out” of the torpor that suppresses consideration of great ideas. If Gelernter is right, there’s reason for optimism.
Human intelligence sits between fundamental, unbridgeable chasms on either side: animal and artificial intelligence. The capacity for creativity, for one thing, stands permanently outside the reach of algorithms. In a wide-ranging conversation, Robert Marks and Michael Medved tackle questions like what it means for something to be not just unknown but “unknowable.”
Join Discovery Institute Senior Fellow and nationally-recognized talk show host Michael Medved for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Israel from September 8-17, 2019. Visit the sites of both modern and ancient Israel as you explore the relationship between faith and science, discover the archeological evidence for Biblical history, investigate the role of entrepreneurship in the development of new technologies, and learn the amazing behind-the-scenes story of how modern Israel has survived against all odds.
Addressing one of today’s most acclaimed technological frontiers, Michael Medved and professor of electrical and computer engineering Robert Marks discuss the limits of artificial intelligence. They begin with definitions — What is a computer? What is an algorithm? — before tackling some pervasive media myths. Can a computer innovate or only imitate? Can computers now really do anything different from the Turing Machine, devised as a model by Alan Turing in the 1930s? Could a computer be programmed to interact with humans like the sinister HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey? The answer is yes, says Bob Marks, and whatever flaws such a machine displayed would be the faults inadvertently woven into it by its human programmers.
Stephen Meyer acts as host and quester to discuss Michael Medved’s latest book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic. Topics includes the settling of North America and the momentous Constitutional Convention. The series of “happy accidents” is strongly suggestive of providence, “divine favor,” as many Americans have perceived today and in the past. Medved makes a couple of additional provocative points. First, that seeing “design” in your country’s history, or you own marriage or your life, is healthy and beneficial. He discusses his own marriage in this context. Second, that it keeps front and center in your mind, as a citizen, that America’s “miracles” are not meaningless accidents but instead are arranged to serve a goal: “serving the world” by rescuing it from evils including Communism and Nazism. He understands that mission as being still before us today.
The focus in this episode of Great Minds with Michael Medved is on a pair of giants, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who dazzle the student of our country’s history with evidence of a special guidance at work at numerous key junctures in their lives. The outcome of two great conflicts, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, seem to have turned, in remarkable ways, upon bizarre providential twists. The consequences have been profound not just for the United States but for the world.
ID is a scientific theory competing with neo-Darwinian evolution, but it’s more than that: a paradigm for understanding human history, especially the history of the United States. In a new podcast episode of Great Minds with Michael Medved, Michael switches places with ID theorist Stephen Meyer to discuss his latest book, The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic.
Biology reveals evidence of design, Dr. Meyer explains in this conversation with Michael, but it can’t take us very far in identifying the source of that design. Proponents of intelligent design have been clear about that. For an idea about who or what the designer might be, you need to turn to other scientific fields — physics and cosmology — that consider the ultra-finely tuned laws that permit a livable planet in the first place. The awesome design extends from the origin of the universe, down to the tiniest particles. Drawing from physics and cosmology, Meyer sketches the evidence for theism.
Adolf Hitler is long dead. Nevertheless, his name is still uttered every day as a rhetorical smear. By drawing some parallel to Hitler and the Holocaust, however dubious, many charge others with guilt by association. This unfortunate cultural twitch has even been canonized as Godwin’s Law or reductio ad Hitlerum. At the top of the list, Hitler’s supposed Christianity is often raised by the critics of religion. But was Hitler a Christian? When you get down to the bottom of it, what’s the truth? Was Hitler in any meaningful sense a “Christian”?
There are some definite “Stop the world, I want to get off” moments in the new Great Minds with Michael Medved podcast from Discovery Institute. Michael talks with economist Jay Richards about the future of “smart machines,” including sex robots. Dr. Richards, author of the new book The Human Advantage: The Future of American Work in an Age of Smart Machines, offers a balanced view of what the future holds.
Of his many specialties, in this episode Michael inquires into David Gelernter’s professional preoccupation: artificial intelligence. Gelernter recalls the pioneering role of his father, warns of the perils of letting children be captive to flickering screens, and remarks on whether AI robots can be spiritual seekers. Gelernter also emphasizes the key role of the Judeo-Christian Western tradition in creating a free and idealistic context in which technology is primed to explode.
Michael Medved and long-time friend Randall Wallace discuss the fortunes of the once robust business of movie entertainment and the current exodus toward television. The ensuing conversation revisits the birth of the idea of Braveheart in a Scottish church, the initial meeting with Mel Gibson, and the importance of having the conviction to be faithful to one’s own heart.
No question is greater or more ultimate than that of our origins as living creatures. Darwinian theory tells the story of our origins one way. Biblical creationists, of course, tell it another way. Does that exhaust the possibilities? Our guest today, Stephen Meyer, doesn’t think so.
In this wide ranging conversation, Michael Medved and David Gelernter touch on scientism, consciousness, and education. Gelernter observes how at times, scientists let their vaunted position get to their head, bullying other disciplines while failing to acknowledge their own limits. Having written extensively on consciousness, he describes the current state of the field and Thomas Nagel’s scandalous opinion that we currently lack the tools to solve this “deepest mystery”. Finally, Gelernter reflects on the state of higher education, specifically with reference to Yale.
We know that, despite the cliché, great minds do not all think alike. That’s why on Great Minds with Michael Medved, we bring to you a diverse list of guests, who don’t think alike, and who don’t necessarily think the way the majority or the “consensus” in their field say they should. After his timely and controversial essay for the American Enterprise Institute, Michael asks Jay about about the idea of a “consensus” in science, and when we’re entitled to doubt it.
Mr. Randall Wallace is a committed storyteller and artist, and, something rarer in Hollywood, a committed Christian. Michael talks with Randall about Hollywood and faith: Must they be in a perpetual collision, or can there be productive collaboration?
The title of our program is Great Minds with Michael Medved, and it really does take a great mind to survey the sweep of Western intellectual history and pick out in all of that a disturbing trend. That’s what historian of modern European history Richard Weikart does in his latest book, The Death of Humanity: And the Case for Life.
Michael talks with Dr. Richards about the book he co-authored with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, Privileged Planet. Nothing in this physical reality of ours is greater than the universe itself. What is man’s place in it? And in the hopes of answering such an audacious question, what makes scientific discovery even possible?
Even if you don’t know how to define life, you know it when you see it. But how? Of course there is a rigorous scientific definition, specifying the characteristics that distinguish living from nonliving matter. And these lead to conundrums for any materialist understanding of evolution.
One question that tragically never goes away is that of evil and its roots. Adolf Hitler was not a lunatic, nor did he emerge onto the stage of history from nowhere. He had a background, an intellectual milieu, that historian Richard Weikart explores in his book From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany.
Passions are roused by the daily news cycle – whether the subject is politics, culture, you name it. Some news is important, some trivial. Stay tuned for conversations of importance that will not go away.