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Computers that mimic the human mind

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Computers that mimic the human mind


Computers Mimic the Human Mind

The mind-body problem has captivated the minds of philosophers for centuries. The problem is how the body and mind can interact with each other if they are separate and distinct. One solution to the problem is to replace any mental term with a more accurate physical description. Eliminative Materialists take this idea to the extreme by stating that everything that is believed to be mental will someday be explained in terms of the physical world. One way that people try to prove Eliminative Materialism to be true is through technology. Certainly if we are able to create computers and software that mimic the human mind, then Eliminative Materialism is a sound solution to the mind-body problem. In order to examine if computers actually do mimic the human mind then we must first look at the capabilities of the human mind. If one looks closely at the capabilities of the human mind and compares them to the most recent technological advances, then it would be obvious that computers and software are beginning to mimic even the most advanced mental states. In the future, computers will be able to do anything the human mind is capable of thus proving Eliminative Materialism to be a sound solution to the mind-body problem.

Most of the day the human mind is taking in information, analyzing it, storing it accordingly, and recalling past knowledge to solve problems logically. This is similar to the life of any computer. Humans gain information through the senses. Computers gain similar information through a video camera, a microphone, a touch pad or screen, and it is even possible for computers to analyze scent and chemicals. Humans also gain information through books, other people, and even computers, all of which computers can access through software, interfacing, and modems. For the past year speech recognition software products have become mainstream(Lyons,176). All of the ways that humans gain information are mimicked by computers. Humans then proceed to analyze and store the information accordingly. This is a computer's main function in today's society. Humans then take all of this information and solve problems logically. This is where things get complex. There are expert systems that can solve complex problems that humans train their whole lives for. In 1997, IBM's Deep Blue defeated the world champion in a game of chess(Karlgaard, p43). Expert systems design buildings, configure airplanes, and diagnose breathing problems. NASA's Deep Space One probe left with software that lets the probe diagnose problems and fix itself(Lyons). All of this shows that computers are capable of taking information and solving complex problems. This is where current technology put obstacles in the way of Artificial Intelligence.

The human mind is a complex system of brain cells or neurons which accomplishes all of these tasks. Silicon chips, the hardware a computer, is extremely similar to the human brain. The human brain has over ten billion cells, and the largest cell has 200,000 inputs(Levin,30). Neurons run in parallel which adds up to trillions of connections per second. Most PC's run about thirty million connections per second. This is a far cry from the capabilities of the human mind but as technology advances neural technology will begin to close the gap between the two.

This is the major obstacle to tackle in order to build a machine that thinks the same way that a human brain does. Think of it this way. The human mind has had thousands of years to evolve into what we understand of it today. The field of Artificial Intelligence roots started in 1965. As we learn more about the human mind and neural network technology improves we will be able to hurdle all obstacles to mimicking the human mind.

There are computer scientists, engineers, and neurologists researching solutions for these obstacles as you read. The human brain is capable of creativity, learning and emotions. These are the areas where computers lack the technology to compete with humans but they are working on it. Take creativity for example. 'Aaron', an invention of Harold Cohen, produces artwork that Cohen has no way of predicting what Aaron is going to do(Boden). Not only is the artwork an original painting but it is also pleasant to look at. Paul Hodgson's program Improviser is a music composer that plays a unique performance in real time(Boden). This does not prove that a computer has creativity in the same sense that humans do but it is a start. Human ...

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Keywords: how is the human mind like a computer psychology, how is the mind like a computer, human mind and computer, how is a computer like a human brain

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