The Quest for Intelligence

Today, someone emailed me a link to an interesting post from the Bits blogs by NY Times titled Hunting for a Brainy Computer. It’s an interesting read.

The question of artificial cognitive computing is interesting. It opens up new possibilities of wonders, both advantages and terrorizing.

From a philosophical point of view, does a machine which can think, create tools and somehow hold “emotional” opinions on things be likened to having a soul?

There are references in our science fiction stories about such intelligent creations of man, that can cause serious havoc as well as be the source of great benefit to humanity.

Coming back the the article, the team is on “the quest to engineer the mind by reverse-engineering the brain“. There are two questions here that I want to ask. The first is, What is the mind-brain relationship? and the second is, To reverse engineer the brain, what technological platform will one use?

In my opinion, the mind is much more than the brain. It is definitely a manifestation of the brain, however, what exactly is the mind? I mean physically? as well as computationally. We can look at the mind, by observing people, identify the thought processes, figure out what inputs go in, and what outputs come out. Treat it like a black-box we can’t see into. Come up with pseudo-processes that might be in place, what all would be referenced inside this black-box, what kind of computation actually takes place, and come up with something similar to what this black-box-mind spits out as output.

Next question, what happens to a mind, when all inputs are taken away from it? What does it output? Does it output anything? Does it turn on itself internally?

To answer the second question about technological platform .. would you use, binary technology, some other digital technology, e.g. tertiry (three-level-logic) or should we turn towards analog technology for reverse engineering the brain?

During the end days at university, I was trying to work out a way to simulate neurons using operational amplifiers. The idea was to work them inside their transition zone, rather than use their on-off states. The transition zone is something the industry has been trying to reduce, makes for faster respond times from the operational amplifiers. I would connect these together as Integrators and Differentiators to build my “neural network”. Training would be as we train neural networks, however, this would be analog and not exactly driven by how many clock-cycles are driving it. Perhaps one day I’ll start on that path again.

Who can say what the future holds.

Whenever I read about research on similar lines, I can’t help but as my self; some of the questions that come to my head are.

  • Are we heading towards true artificial intelligence?
  • Will we be in a position to create truly sentient beings?
  • Will our race be replaced by such machines eventually?
  • How do we control something that may become more intelligent and efficient and effective than we are?

About khansalmanahmad
A technology and solutions specialist who at times dabbles in philosophy. Is interested in learning new things. Gets really excited by and looks forward to "WOW" experience.

One Response to The Quest for Intelligence

  1. Saj says:

    I think the mind and the brain are the same, what we call our soul, conscience and other monsters, are possibly all part of the physical chemicals that make us react certain ways even if this hasn’t fully been proved. The absence of social programming may be the biggest difference if and once this research is successful.

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