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Battle of the Brains

We still have much work ahead of us if we are ever going to have anything that even remotely resembles actual intelligence in machines.

Kenneth Poirier, Blogger

September 22, 2013

6 Min Read

Battle of the Brains


The most basic of biological instincts is to avoid danger. There is no living creature we know of on this planet that doesn't have some sort of mechanism for dealing with potential threat. Even plants will brace themselves before an on coming storm. Computers and other mechanical devices on the other hand will, without consideration for it own well being, proceed forward into certain doom without a second thought. In fact, it is only the thoughtfulness of the designer that keeps them from running their CPU until it evaporates into a puff of black smoke.

Yet, we hear time and time again about how much smarter computers are then people. I'm sure if people didn't have to eat, sleep, pay taxes, or have an sort of social life; then we could be winners at jeopardy too. We still have much work ahead of us if we are ever going to have anything that even remotely resembles actual intelligence in machines.

Cognitive Science

Part of the reason why we can't begin to create any sort of Intelligence in computers is that we still don't even understand the human brain completely. Oh sure, we know it's a chemical/electrical process, we have a good understanding of the different parts of the nervous system (Bris.ac.uk, 2013). We are making great leaps and bounds at interfacing with them, using devices such as the cochlear implant (YouTube, 2013), but the brain itself still holds great mystery.

Right now you are receiving trillions of signals from all over your body. Not just your eyes, but your ears, every patch of skin, every follicle of hair, the odor of your surrounding, and even your internal organs are keeping track of your last three meals. Your brain is taking this information and creating a near perfect replica of the entire universe both in the present, past, and future in a mater of nanoseconds. Its details include the little sticky bit on the keyboard to the names of all your friends and all the way to calculating the next nearest three galaxies.

The truth is, we really don't have any idea how that works, despite the fact that the best universities and businesses across the planet have been dumping a 3rd of the world's income in to that question for the better half of a century (Kremer 1996). We have been able to map out the major regions of the brain, but unlike computers, brains are not in anyway uniform. Brains are as unique as fingerprints.

Artificial Intelligence

Computers are beyond dumb. If a computer took an IQ test, it would get a zero. Most animals can usually get a 6 or a 7  (LiveScience.com, 2013). If you need any convincing of how unsympathetic computers are in regards to their existence, then simply watch this video. What we commonly refer to today as artificial intelligence is mere emulation, a representation of an intelligent being.

Computers are not active, but reactive. A computer's reactions are limited to the scope of its programing. It requires a user to flip a switch and that in turn flips more switches. When all those switches get done flipping, it has no more understanding of the world then a pet rock does (Facstaff.bucknell.edu, 2013). This suggest that intelligence can not exist in the software anymore then human intelligence can exist in ones kneecap (Atwell 2002). This is also why computers don't dance out of the room singing "Hello My Baby".

In the late 18th century, Wolganf von Kempelen created a mechanical chess player called "The Turk". He tour this machine across Europe, entertaining kings and queens. That was until one day the queen of Germany announced she was going to shoot it with a pistol, when all of the sudden a midget came running out from underneath it (Jay 2000). Big Blue was no different. Only this time the midget was the programmers and where they were hiding was in the code. Carrying out a process created by a designer and initiated by a user is no sort of intelligence at all.


So if Artificial Life doesn't exist in the software, then where can it exist? The only place left is in the data. What data? Whatever data the computer want. So how do you get a computer to want data for it's own sake and not the use f the user's sake? How does a computer get a soul? The future holds the answer to these questions. For right now, we'll just have to continue taking baby steps and hopefully we won't get distracted by stomping horses and midgets under chess tables.


data.jpg. 2013. digital. .

spock.jpg. 2013. digital. .

Bris.ac.uk. 2013. Neurotransmitters and receptors. [online] Available at: http://www.bris.ac.uk/synaptic/basics/basics-2.html [Accessed: 19 Sep 2013].

YouTube. 2013. How A Cochlear Implant Works by Advanced Bionics. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeg4qTnYOpw [Accessed: 19 Sep 2013].

Diana Kremer, "Von erkundigung und Prob der Zauberinnen durchs kalte Wasser". Wilhelm Adolph Scribonius aus Marburg und Rudolf Goclenius aus Korbach zur Rechtmäßigkeit der "Wasserprobe" im Rahmen der Hexenverfolgung, in: Geschichtsblätter für Waldeck, Bd. 84, 1996, S. 141 - 168.

LiveScience.com. 2013. Dogs as Smart as 2-year-old Kids. [online] Available at: http://www.livescience.com/5613-dogs-smart-2-year-kids.html [Accessed: 19 Sep 2013].

Facstaff.bucknell.edu. 2013. Digital Logic - Gates, Boolean Algebra. [online] Available at: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mastascu/elessonshtml/Logic/Logic1.html [Accessed: 19 Sep 2013].

Atwell P.,Cooke S.,Yeo C. (2002). Cerebellar function in consolidation of motor memory. Neuron. 34:1011-1020.

YouTube. 2013. AI vs. AI. Two chatbots talking to each other. [online] Available at: http://youtu.be/WnzlbyTZsQY [Accessed: 19 Sep 2013].

Hello my Baby... all frog songs. 2013. [online] Available at: http://youtu.be/bkjsN-J27aU [Accessed: 19 Sep 2013].

Ricky Jay, "The Automaton Chess Player, the Invisible Girl, and the Telephone," Jay's Journal of Anomalies, vol. 4 no. 4, 2000.

ussenterprise.jpg. 2013. digital. http://www.automopedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/ussenterprise.jpg.

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