Tangled in a world of reveries

IT IS THE CASE that from a certain standpoint the brain functions in some ways similar to the processors of a computer, or that the latter simulates the former. Both are instruments, although of different categorical ranking; the brain's job is to serve the human core of being, the spirit, and behind the computer is the brain, or more specifically, the human developer, whose invention it is. The computer is an electronic brain of sorts, but it can do nothing without streams of data. It needs programming or deep learning to channel the numerical relationships between its model neurons. It can then carry out exceptional computation and logical functions, as we have seen, far more efficiently than a brain – a case of the pupil outstripping the master, which is the case with all tools because we would not need them if we could do better with our bare hands. The brain cannot even keep tabs on all the events and processes going on in all the cells and tissues in the body. But a computer cannot produce anything new, can initiate nothing; it can, however, pore over huge amounts of data and identify correlations on scales that surpass the ability of the brain. The limitation of the computer is that it will make no distinction between correlation and causation in the cross-reference and association of data and will give back whatever bias is inadvertently or otherwise built into the system.

The brain, albeit much less efficiently than the computer, sorts, classifies, stores and retrieves information in real time. Indeed, the brain, except when its activity ceases along with breathing, heartbeat and consciousness at death, is never turned off in its power to think and feel. Unlike the computer, it is capable of forgetting, misapplying, distorting and misremembering. It seems to be rather an inefficient machine, perhaps like an overgrown forest. Laden with emotion it can wrongly sort, misapply, get fatigued and simply give up. And unlike the computer, it has ‘a will of its own’.

The brain works ‘hand in glove’, as it were, with the emotions and the imagination. An artificial intelligence system may perform certain tasks impressively, but it cannot love its work, cannot support an ideal, cannot exert a volition, and has no sense of responsibility, which presupposes personality. It can never anchor its activity to a sense of beauty or justice, and never know good from evil or right from wrong. Nor can it let itself be inspired or have sudden intuitions about how a problem may be solved. Of course, on the positive side, it cannot get impatient, cannot become afflicted with depression or become annoyed about its workload or express an opinion on how it is treated; neither can it refuse to do what it is asked. It is a brain without a mind.

An artificial intelligence system is a brain without a mind.

NEURONS IN THE HUMAN BRAIN process and transmit information –

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