Brain vs. Computer

Can a computer be complicated enough to act like a human being? No.

This is not a debate whether a computer is smarter than the brain because it is. A computer is basically able to access all of the information known to man through the internet. As someone brought up in class, the computer doing a diagnosis on a specific cancer patient was able to find an unconventional method of treating the cancer based on a specific part of the DNA that was able to save a life that a human doing the diagnosis most likely would not have found. However, this computer was merely using an algorithm to determine key words that may have matched with an article. If the computer was then asked why this cancer treatment would work or any question beyond what the search came up with, that is where the computer falls short of the brain.

It was brought up in class the idea of intuition. If you had to pick between a red car and a blue car you would be naturally inclined to one over the other. You do not really know why, you just like one color more than the other. This is something that I do not believe a computer will be capable of knowing. Where I might pick the blue car, someone else in the exact same situation may choose the red car. There is not some generic algorithm that every human uses to decide what car to choose, they just do. After playing around with CleverBot in the last class, my group asked what nationality the bot was and the bot replied, “Canadian.” A couple questions later the same question was asked and the bot replied, “I do not have a nationality.” Yes, this is not the most advanced computer system out there and there very well could be a computer out there able to return the same answer but overall, it seems that a computer would be too unreliable. There is something about the human brain that a computer will always lack.

This may be personality. We read in the article “Robots that Care” that the robots used to help patients in their homes that they were able to develop a personality and were able to respond and communicate with the patients in certain ways based on their personality. But a human using an algorithm created this personality. It is difficult to distinguish between the robot actually thinking for itself or just following some programmed code appearing to be thinking for itself. Humans have a personality that is not programmed, it just is.

I do not want to rule out the possibility of a computer being as complex as the brain because that would be an amazing feat but I lack confidence. A computer can be programmed to be randomized but will not think randomly on its own.  The human species is unique and I don’t think the brain is meant to be robotically made. It can be replicated but never truly made.

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with your points in this post. I feel like the line drawn between computers and humans may be at the point of emotions. While computers can be programmed to do certain actions around certain types of personality, I feel like they would lack in a deep, meaningful conversation expressing ideas and emotions, which is what many close, human relationships are built on.

    • I think your idea that a lack of deep meaningful conversation, ideas, and emotions describes exactly what I’ve been thinking about AI. That’s what makes me so upset so quickly when dealing with an automated phone system; I immediately know that whatever they have to say means absolutely nothing to me.
      With regards to the original post I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. If there is something that humans really want to accomplish, and there are people who really want to make functional AI, within the realm of possibility they are probably eventually going to do it.

  2. This is actually exactly what I was thinking about in class the other day. I was wondering that if robots were to be used for therapeutic reasons, would they really ever reach a point where they could replicate human thought?

    The only answer I could come up with is no. There is no way they can replicate human thought since human thought is random. There are so many things that we think and do that have no real rhyme or reason. We just do it. A robot would never be able to do that. I don’t think a robot can really ever take the place of a human being.

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