The Brain Thesis Part V
This hub is focusing on the concept of self awareness. What is self aware regarding our brain? How is self aware manifest in brain activity? Current AI researchers have admitted they are not anywhere near creating a machine that has the attribute of consciousness. Being aware of self.
- Jan. 2017
The Holy Grail
In AI, the holy grail is to create a machine that can "think" on its own. What this this mean? For example, if we have a black box and we feed it some input data, and it respond with some output data that is relevant to the input, we call that a processor. A modern computer is a processor. However, this box, as fast and as accurate it can process data, it cannot originate an idea. Therefore, it is not an "intelligent" machine.
What will it take? Suppose we can create a black box that will mimic a human being. We ask it a question, and it answers it correctly. We tell a joke and it laughs. We show it a sad movie, and it cries. We critisize it and it gets angry or defensive... These are all common human emotions. But are these enough to proof it is intelligent? Not quite. What else must this black box do? It needs to be creative. It needs to ask questions, or write a new piece of music, or draw a new painting, or write a piece of poetry... and it needs to be self aware.
What is self aware? As you can see, a robot can do almost anything we can if we designed it to have senses and mobility and may even be creative by trying various new combinations... Yet, it fails the test of being self aware. Self aware requires the host to be unique among all others and it requires the host to recognize clear boundaries. Finally, it requires the host to be curious about his surroundings and ask why.
The Bible Say...
If we take the Bible literally, it said God created man in his own image In Genesis. At first, Adam and Eve did not possess "self awareness". It was only when they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge that their eyes were opened. It begs the question, what is this fruit? Is it some kind of drug or magic potion that when ingested will unlock a part of the human brain?
This is not a strange concept. We have drugs today that can enhance our mental capacity and also drugs that can create distortions such as LSD and other mind altering drugs. Is it possible that a drug of some type were in the "forbidden fruit" in the garden of eden? This drug gave human the unique ability to be self aware. This new ability also gave us shame. It is this reason that Adam and Eve made clothing to cover their nakedness. Think about it, all animals runs around naked and they have no shame. Yet, we humans because of this higher level of consciousness, have reservations about exposing our naked bodies. It is also the source of vanity. Why we spend a good part of our time and resources on looking nice...dress well, and groomed.
Let me address this property of uniqueness. Why are we humans unique? Why is this so important? Why do our fingerprints uniquely identify us even identical twins do not have matching prints? It is not the same with machines or robots. You can stamp a robot with a unique serial number but it is still the same model. It has the same set of programs that it follows and executes. It is therefore predictable. Given the same circumstance, a robot will repeat the exact same actions or reactions. That is not always true with a human being. It is also tied to the fact that we were given free will. We have the ability to decide for ourselves what we do or don't do. We can be proactive at times instead of always reacting to our environment or surroundings.
When you are part of a group, you can use the group almost as an excuse to say we did this or that... and no one person is held accountable. As a unique individual, you don't have that option. What you choose to do or say is totally under your control and therefore, you can be held accountable for your actions. The concept of a "final Judgement" in the Christian faith only makes sense if we are each unique.
In my opinion, the concept of being self-aware is only a human trait. A robot or machine can never achieve this state. Despite what we see in movies and science fiction stories, a robot is just a machine no different than a fancy calculator. It can only perform tasks that has been programmed ahead of time. It cannot originate a thought or idea. It cannot think and therefore it does not exist. It is the opposite of Rene Descartes's famous quote "I think therefore I am."