Natural Intelligence vs. AI

The picture is of a two-year-old Hemlock sapling that I love, but keep forgetting to move to a better location. It is located in the middle of a walking path. I step around it, and luckily not many others traverse the area, or it could very quickly be crushed out of existence. Every time I see the tiny Hemlock, it amazes me how complex and fragile life is on Earth. A seed randomly fell between two small rocks and beat the odds by having the right conditions to establish a foothold and grow into existence. We each have opinions on the origin and meaning of life, but all should appreciate the universe as being wondrous and beautiful, whether it be due to divine intervention or just purely through random happenstance over time.

Our human brains have produced silicon integrated circuits, which are now being coded to become thinking machines through artificial intelligence (AI). The critical mass may be close, where the thinking machines might soon reach sentience (self-awareness). “Cogito ergo sum” roughly translates to, “I think, therefore I am”, a proposition proposed be Rene Descartes on the concept of intelligence. (He also developed the Cartesian Coordinate Plane, which you may remember from geometry class). So, can a computer silicon brain be devised and coded to learn, become self-aware, and develop new concepts, or is this an arrogant exercise in futility? The level of sophistication that human technology is at currently, and its exponential progression of growth is laudable, but it may be fanciful thinking to believe that a human brain, with all of its flaws, could even come close to replicating the beauty, resilience, and the complexity of nature.

 

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