Thursday, March 8, 2012

Artificial Intelligence and the End of Human Relevance

Human beings have become more and more obsolete since Alan Turing asked the question

"Can computers think?" 

According to Stephanie Haack, Director of Communications for the Computer Museum in Boston, in her article titled: Brief History of Artificial Intelligence, the concept of a "thinking machine" dates back to Antiquity when the Egyptians first looked to statues for mystical advice. 

In a statue at the Cairo Museum is the bust of a god, Harmakhis (Horus of the Horizon) "whose neck reveals the secret of his genius: an opening at the nape just being enough to hold a priest." 

While manipulation may be as old as civilization, the question as to whether artificial intelligence will replace human ingenuity and our ability to interpret, create, and learn is a matter of debate. 

John Searle, American philosopher, asserts that no matter how much code we write, a computer will never gain sentient understanding. 

The tools of AI are quite complex; depending on the material of the computer, it is conceivable we could someday plug the right numbers into the right equations and in principle predict the future of our own "material evolution" with unlimited precision. 

Computer scientists write programs "to do" certain things - what I'd like to see is a completely random program written and installed to see "how" a computer "responds" to non-specific input. That might tell us more about the probability of advanced computer networks taking over neural ones. 

As tempting as it sounds, if I were offered implants that increased my brain's ability to deduce, reason, problem-solve, represent knowledge, plan, learn, process language, perceive, move, and choose among the most intelligent social response as a reaction to an event, I'd have to think twice because I don't know what it "feels" like to be a computer. 

Just kidding, I would sooooooooooo go for it! 

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