Thursday, February 21, 2008

Computers A.I vs. Human Genetics - A philosophic overview

Computers A.I vs. Human Genetics

Are we playing God?!

For as long as we have known, there has been a persisting question:

How do we, Humans, work?!

There have been many attempts by scientists, philosophers, biologists and even mathematicians to understand the entity of a human being, its instincts and its soul.

In the last few decades, with the continuous breakthroughs in the study of the brain, the neurological system and the birth of a new branch of science called genetics, many scientists went even further in assuming that the human being is more like a well built machine with a very complex circuit of neurons monitored and managed by the code embedded in the human DNA strand, this code is composed of 4 symbols (G, C, U, A) and the entire set of genes –called the human genome- is composed at just under 3 billion base pairs and about 20,000–25,000 genes which are considered as the blue-print to all cells of the body, how they replicate, produce proteins, interact…etc.

This sophisticated code may be the main reason and explanation of cell characteristics, malfunctions or even diseases, but what about feelings, morals, thoughts, dreams? Are they just chemical reactions and electric pulses that occur inside our brains to shape our mind, conscious and judgment?

During the last 50 years we have built faster, more powerful with enormous memory machines. We wrote programs, techniques and smart algorithms and the development is increasing tremendously. Now, the question is, would we, one day, be able to build a machine with the same complexity and power of the "human circuit"?

Further more, would it start living actually?....start thinking, feeling, interacting and even dreaming?

There is a rule in replication, if you wanted to replicate a thing you must know all about its properties, characteristics, functionality, its points of weakness and strength. For example, if you wanted to replicate a car you must know for certain its dimensions, weight, material of manufacture, max speed and performance; so that when you make one that resembles it.

Given that, to replicate the human brain, we must know all about it and its performance in particular.

Well, we DON'T!! , it was stated and proved that the human being only uses 10% of his brain power, what about the other 90%?

Have you ever been in a dangerous situation and suddenly out of no where you started to act with super-human abilities? For example, if you faced a lion or a fire, you'll find adrenaline pumping through your veins making you run at a speed that exceeds the fastest runner ever known, even if you can hardly walk in normal conditions!

There has been a great struggle in the search for increasing the abilities of the human being, knowing that his brain can be much more powerful, may be able to use Telepathy, Telekinesis...etc, but if the brain can be, theoretically, increased in power, what would be the problem?

Unfortunately the human being is more like a computer with very powerful software (mind) and a very weak hardware (body). For example the case of epilepsy, where the brain sends spikes of electric signals where the body can't handle and starts malfunctioning, ironically epilepsy might be accompanied with high degrees of intelligence!

What about machine intelligence? Is it possible? In my opinion we must define the concept of intelligence we are aiming at, I think that we haven't and will not reach any degree of intelligence known to man, but we are striving in another kind of intelligence booked only for machines. Unfortunately the two concepts of intelligence (either human or machine intelligence) are confused with each other as the definition is misleading, so I guess before starting to study artificial intelligence we must have solid contentment that a machine will not have a human intelligence and a human will never have a machine intelligence, at least that what I think. The reason behind my believe is that for machines we have only increased its information database and multiplying the size of its rule book, as I think intelligence is an answer of multi-variable equation that many of humans can't solve!

There are still some unanswered questions, here they are:

  • If the gene code manages the properties of the human being and his cells, does it control the feelings, the thoughts, and the attitude of a man?
  • In our search for the brain have we found out what was the mind?
  • If the programs and algorithms manage the actions of computers, do they, one day, be able to provide the machines with feelings and thoughts?
  • The most important question: If God blessed us with the ability to sense, feel, think, and dream with our continuous development in genetics and machine's artificial intelligence.........Are we playing God?!

Hany SalahEldeen