The brain is a complex piece of machinery. So complex, some fear that upon decoding the brain’s complexity—we rob ourselves of our individuality. In early 2020, approximately fifty percent of the US labor force still had reservations of AI replacing human laborers. However, most AI experts cite the anxieties towards AI as misplaced. Artificial Intelligence will eventually take the place of non-creative labor.
At the bare bones of understanding, AI are human written algorithms that can input data and analyze peta-flops of data and output the analysis with minimal intervention.
There is one aspect of human intelligence that may never be replaced— true creativity. It is the type of prowess that seems nearly spiritual in some of us.
Let me explain—
When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in Rome so many centuries ago, his work was regarded as a pinnacle of creation. It is regarded as an achievement that will never be re-created. However, if we utilize today’s technologies of large data input and output, his work could be duplicated down to last brush-stroke. AI is now capable of deciphering patterns and reproducing them with ease. Reproducing the Sistine Chapel’s beauty maybe easier than it seems. You and I might think of it as a grand, paint-by-numbers chore for a 3-D printer that reproduces its pre-written program. Take a photograph, analyze each color by its emission wavelength, store it in memory by it physical location on your memory chip, and then reproduce it.
So, it is easily stated, re-inventing the wheel is not a creative pursuit. Thus, often duplicated but never re-created becomes an axiom.
Inventing the wheel’s replacement is an act of creative genius.
Intelligence makes us unique — and sets us apart from most of the world.
If we believe the brain as the seat of human intelligence—knowing how to use it as human’s normally do so —is irreplaceable. We have as yet to make another human that can completely replace itself without another human.
While it sounds like a bad joke, we are pinnacles in the creative landscape of earth. If we look at the brain size and complexity, whales and certain species of dolphin do rival us and far exceed us. So you might ask, why aren’t they at the pinnacle of creation on the earth? One answer—it takes a great amount of brain power for whales to communicate with each other through the ocean. Whales are known to communicate amongst themselves under water over vast distances. Humanity, while possessing the means of communication, cannot hear another human under water—? Humans need complex devices to communicate under water. Well, so what?
While the same may be said for humans lack of communication over long distances on land, we have invented many ways of communication.
The size of a brain is not the only arbiter of inventiveness—the immediate environment of animal while utilizing its brain, is one final arbiter. While whales will die when plucked out of the water for an extended period of time—humans cannot survive under water without breathing apparatuses.
Human arms and legs give us a superior edge to the animal kingdoms of earth. And evolution is in constant progression, all life on earth changes almost imperceptibly at times. The new, Covid-19 virus is an outstanding example of change on the earth. How it mutated from being a purely animal virus to infecting humans may not be readily understood for several years. Eventually, humanity will gain the upper hand.
(Aside: While I hope we do gain the upper hand without further loss of life sooner than later, the present pandemic has become politicized — inducing death in its wake.)
Understanding the human brain is a paramount goal for neuroscientists, the complete replacement of humanity with Artificial Intelligence is unlikely. It is our ability to organize into communities that makes us unique. It is problematic for a group of AI automatons to organize into a hierarchical structure—like a functioning society. AI needs ‘Free Will’ to replace humanity.
Because we can organize—we defend our communities, giving each member a sense of individual safety. That sense of individuality does not exist in AI —it needs a programmer.
One goal occupying practitioners of AI, teaching AI to self-replicate. It stands to reason that when AI creates another AI— some may label it as sentient. That is far from the truth. What it does indicate is humanity’s propensity to create. It is a gift —it allowed us to leave the cradle of life and populate the earth.
The question will arise, will AI ever possess a conscience? We can program it to recognize right from wrong. What stands to be seen: can AI willfully destroy, create, or love.
That cradle of humanity distinguishes us from all else —we can choose to love, willfully.