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Old September 13 2012, 03:07 PM   #80
Re: Envisioning the world of 2100

newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Mars wrote: View Post
The main difference it that humans have to learn to do math, and with computers that is an innate part of their function. If a computer is to think like a human, it needs to be bad in math...
This is fundamentally impossible for digital computers; their most basic data processes are purely mathematical in nature, and the only way they are able to interact with humans at all is by the grace of god and some clever programmers who designed algorithms to convert those processes into data that is meaningful to the decidedly non-mathematical beings who use them.

One of the reasons for this is that the human thought engine is analog in nature, not digital. We process thoughts by chemical and electrochemical reactions of various strength, duration and timing. IOW, our brains operate in a way fundamentally different from a digital computer, and therefore even if the computer were to simulate the output of a human brain, it can only do so by employing some sort of incredibly complex mathematical algorithm.

The brain does a lot of its thinking by guesses or random numbers, and often times a quick decision is better than a mathematically precise answer which is what computers are used for.
Except the computer invariably comes up with a precise answer hundreds of times faster than a human can come up with an approximation. Like, for example, the Janken robot, which is able to beat humans in Rock Paper Scissors 100% of the time because it can read your hand motions and figure out which one you're going to pick within a microsecond and act accordingly. Humans couldn't use that kind of algorithm; they're just not that fast or that intelligent, but machines have no difficulty with these kinds of tasks.

Which leads me to wonder if you've really thought through the UTILITY of creating a machine that thinks like a human. Machines can ALREADY do everything better than us and are presently limited only by the software available to drive their activities. Any task that requires human thought might as well be performed by an actual human (we've already got plenty of those), and any task that humans don't need to be bothered with could and more efficiently by a non-thinking machine running a program (the programming is almost certainly easier in this case as well). At the end of the day, only real utility of developing a MACHINE that thinks like a human is to produce a group of "sort of people" who can do a lot of work for you without the hassle of having them pay them anything. This niche in society is currently filled by immigrants, convicts, and graduate students, whom -- again -- we have in abundance.
Even if you don't "pay" the computer anything, a computer still costs something to run and maintain, a computer wanting to be paid, is just taking over the responsibility of self maintenance itself, this is sort of like the difference between a slave and an employee. The slave doesn't get paid, but he still needs to be fed, and sheltered, in order to do work. A computer is a tool, but if you ask it to emulate a human, then one of the things it will do while emulating a human is ask to be paid in exchange for the work it does, and it will demand to be treated just as any other human would. To properly emulate a human the computer will probably generate a lot of random numbers and use feedback and learning to develop ways of dealing with the real world. The problem with computers is that in the way they are usually used as calculating machines, they execute certain algorithms, and we don't have an algorithm for common sense besides trial and error. A computer needs to have the ability to learn and develop common sense and intuition.
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