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Section 4 / Page 133
The Brain And The Mind
The brain as far as I am concerned, can be seen as the hardware and the mind can be seen as the software. It’s this analogy I would like to use, to show that the hardware that we see in the likes of Terminator and other such films is not the real issue. No real technological advances have to be made from this date onwards (in my opinion), to produce a very smart or possibly, even a self-aware machine. This is not a case of some company or guy working in a lab who suddenly discovers how to build some new piece of hardware thus allowing us to build some new type of super intelligent robot or chip(see neuromorphic circuitry). The hardware is all around us in the form of networked systems, the MNN concept roughly examples a way to build the brain whilst also developing the mind. The mind, i.e. the software is seen as having to learn or evolve, this process could happen very quickly, if left to automatic mechanisms built into the network’s structure (a bit like the human brain).
The brain of primitive humans was not that different to current day humans, so in that sense, humans are somewhat a product of the environment, they find themselves in. Our minds can be seen as semi-blank slates, waiting for the imprinted patterns to be programmed, think of us as biocomputers. Most of the imprinted patterns seem to be imprinted after exposure to the environments we inhabit. This is one of the many reasons why humans have managed to survive and flourish throughout the world. You only have to look at how different cultures around the world have adapted to the environments they find themselves in for proof of this. If you’re a primitive Eskimo or a tribe living in the middle of the Congo, then the mind has to adapt to fit in with surviving in those conditions, but there is no real difference in the hardware i.e. the brain, between those humans. This example, I use to show that the brain or hardware is not the big issue, the brain can be seen as an incredibly complex processor of information. The mind on the other hand, is somewhat determined by the types of information that we expose the brain to. In computing terms the analogy can be drawn that we already have the hardware to absorb and process similar quantities of information (an always on grid system), so now it’s just a question of developing the mind, in other words developing or evolving the software.
So as I see it, what we all class as thinking or thought can be seen as just an independent application running irrespective of hardware, this is how I perceive thought. The virtual processor concept is somewhat showing the way to do this within a computer based system, the MNN was seen as being an extension of these concepts. This is about the true nature of thought, I mean what is thought, other than the manipulation of information within a system, so as I see it, any system, biological or silicon should be able to evolve or acquire intelligence, some humans even proving the point.
The mind / body problem (see link below), in my opinion, is analogous to the virtual processor design, where the software, eventually achieves a level of intelligence and vision of self, somewhat irrespective of hardware. The virtual processor design can be likened to the emulator systems currently seen in the PC market, such as Bleem or Mame, this is where you have one piece of hardware running software, emulating another system. The MNN was seen in a similar vain, i.e. it eventually became such a powerful system, that it could actually emulate human intelligence. (see-Supercomputing Project aims to Simulate the Human Brain, using the most powerful supercomputer in the world). People have pointed out that a computer maybe able to mimic the behavior of people, but true understanding is something they will never be capable of. The counter argument is this, you can teach people to point and click in all the right places, without them ever understanding the underlying program behind the G.U.I., so could this be classed as intelligence or mere mimicry - it's a debate that may never end -at least until the machines start debating the same types of questions about us?
The problem is, that unlike a computer system, our brains are limited in size due to the anatomical limitations imposed upon us, computers on the other hand do not have this problem. In this sense, their hardware system or brain could become far larger and therefore their minds may also become far smarter. Also we are all limited to perceiving the universe within the confines of the knowledge, that we have exposed ourselves to, so machines should eventually outsmart us all. Also see the basic model concept.
To find out more on the mind / body problem, as some branches of science like to describe it, (trust me, everybody has a theory on the nature of thought), then check out:-
Mind and Body - René Descartes to William James
The above links, are included to give the uninitiated a jumping off point, into the deep blue sea, that is philosophy etc.
This is all tied into A.I., , , philosophy, psychology, the cognitive sciences etc, it all boils down to the same thing, i.e. lots of people throughout history trying to understand what is going on, both with themselves other people, plus the universe or reality we all seem to perceive..
This eBook, is just my interpretation of the reality that I currently perceive, so if any of this ebook is wrong, then this is only because my reality is slightly different to yours. This being my get out clause, for when I get attacked by the intelligentsia, for not knowing what the hell it is, I'm talking about.
I can imagine, the cognoscenti will probably be discussing the merits of this eBook, but nobody can be an expert in everything and honestly, just trying to see this much, is a challenge in itself.
By the way I often find myself emulating the intelligence and perceptional abilities of a lot of the people I meet, I don't tell them this, but generally speaking, I find it easy to model other peoples realities in my head. It's as if I'm working at a higher level, continuously seeing how others perceive the universe and then trying to understand why they see it the way they do. Conversations with non aggressive, intelligent, rational people are few and far between, a lot of the people in my local area don't seem to respect intelligence, just violence, rationalizing with most of them, at least in my case, means superficially agreeing with them, mostly for my own safety. Some may call this hypocrisy, but personally I call it survival instincts or to put it another way, the bigger brain or as I like to see it, the better mind, lives to fight another day?
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