Human Beings Are Not Machines

Excellent article on this topic in the Boston Globe. The difference is critical to flourishing. The machine computer brain already can do marvelous things, but cannot add the context needed for caring. Here are the punch lines.

Machines possess no capacity to will, create, and want. From inside the computational framework, powers like these can only be bracketed or dismissed. If widely accepted, the moral and political implications of such dismissals would be grave. What becomes of democracy, individual liberty, and the right to pursue happiness, if computer-man has no capacities for free choice and is algorithm-driven?

Scientific researchers require guiding analogies and metaphors to help them simplify the massive complexities and mysteries of the mind and brain. Loose, reductive equations may be pragmatically necessary, but when overstated they can prove blinding and at times dangerous. The idea that human brains are digital computers is just that.