Artificial psychology: the quest for what it means to be by Jay Friedenberg

By Jay Friedenberg

Advent. mind and brain. conception and motion. studying and reminiscence. pondering. Language. Intelligence. Creativity. unfastened Will and selection Making. awareness. Motivation and Emotion. Biology. Social habit. end

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An examination of our brains and bodies reveals a multitude of intricate small moving parts. A single cell considered in isolation is a marvel to behold, filled with organelles and molecules that among other things serve to store information, transport materials, and catalyze chemical reactions. If we can’t replicate a single cell like a neuron, what hope do we have of replicating a brain and body, which is made up of billions of such elements? The answer is that we may not have to. Just because we are made up of organic material organized a certain way does not mean that an artificial person need be.

To begin, they are very sensitive to changes in initial conditions. Alterations in starting conditions propagate through the system, producing unanticipated outcomes. An oft-cited example of this is that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil, the result is a tornado in China or some other far-flung location. In a complex system, there are multiple interactions between the many different components. The parts affect one another in an intricate causal dance that is hard to track. These features make complex systems very difficult to predict, understand or control.

We talk more about emergence in the chapter on consciousness. CAN WE BUILD IT? The Brain Perspective Is it possible to build an artificial human brain? At the current level of technology, the answer would have to be no. It is just not possible now to reproduce the functional equivalent of one hundred billion (1014) neurons with their 10,000 or so connections. Even reproducing the decision-making capability of a single neuron is difficult because of the many complex molecular actions that occur.

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