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Brains are not computers


By Serge Kreutz


In the decades since the 1970s, much of the progress of mankind was tied to computerization and the digital processing and storage of information.

The enthusiasm about the many things that can be achieved with computers has invoked some grandios prognoses for artificial intelligence.

But make no mistake. Even supercomputers that beat chess and Go champions, and even computers that integrate learning functions (the collection of data and organizing it for decision making) are just accumulations of on/off switches.

Computers of any size cannot escape their deterministic foundation.

But life, intelligence, and luck are non-deterministic.

Life is biochemistry not electricity. And even though anions and cations have electric charges, and even though human neurons use action potentials to transmit signals, the electrical component in biochemistry, and brains, is relatively minor.

Sure action potentials are on/off signals, but at synapses, it's not electricity that conveys information, or emotions, but a multitude of chemical neurotransmitters.

Compared to the possible chemical grading of signals, by quantity or mix of neurotransmitters, the electricity conduction by axons is sooo simplistic.

Life, and intelligence, are inherently biochemistry, and you may want to try some quantum mechanics for contemplations of luck.

Computers are fashionable, and there are many practical applications, but as simplistic switch on / switch off devices, they will never be intelligent, and they will never be a form of life.


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