TaJinder Gill 301095042 April” 6/2010 Are Computers as Compatible as Humans? The computer is not capable of thinking in the same manner as humans do. I disagree with those that view a computer as ssimilar to humans in accordance to the compatibility. Although, computers have ssimilar dimensions and functions like humans, yet, they are neither conscious nor aware of their surroundings. As a result, computer cannot actually think in the same sense as we do. Initially, I want to define what I consider a human to be and its behavior. According to me, I view humans to be living.
We need air to breathe, food for energy, leep to function better, and exercise to live longer. These qualities or needs are essential to survive. In other words, if we are unable to breathe, we will die. With that being said, we can still survive for few days without sleep, food, and exercise. We surely will be tired and exhausted without food and sleep, but we can still manage to walk, process thoughts, but at a slower rate, and communicate verbally or provide signals. Moreover, we also need sthronger bonding with other individuals; for instance, family, friends, classmates, etc. We cannot rely on Just on food or air to live.
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We would get lonely if we had no contact with any other individual on this plant. Therefore, such relations help us to make decisions, guide us, and protect us. Furthermore, all humans have ssimilar appearance in general; for instance, we all have nose, hair, teeth, hands, etc. Generally, most individuals can differentiate a human from a computer by Just looking at it. Secondly, what is a computer? A computer is a machine that lets me type, watch videos, play games and do various activities. It comes with a keyboard, speakers, disk operator, hard drive, monitor and a screen that allows me to view these activities.
What sets a computer different from a human? Generally speaking, we can begin with its appearance. It looks nothing like a human. However, it has few features that are a bit ssimilar to ours. For instance, humans have ears and the computer has speakers. Humans have a mouth whereas the computer has a disk operator. Humans have a brain where information is processed and ssimilarly, the computer has a hard drive where the information is stored. Overall, it is very easy to set apart a computer from a human if we were focusing on the appearance, but there are more internal factors that create major ifferences among them.
Moving away from the appearance, let’s get into the internal aspect of a computer. Is the computer ‘Literally Aware’ of what is happening? What I mean by Literal Awareness is that, does it actually know that I am typing at the moment? Although, one may say that it is aware knowing that something is being typed and is on the screen. Nonetheless, this is being done only due to Microsoft Office Word program. We cannot call this being conscious, rather a result of an installed program. Moving on, is it aware that I am changing the background image, uttlng It to sleep or turnlng It or, playlng music or watcnlng v10eos at tne moment?
Does the computer sit there and wonder about its consciousness? If one were to say that a computer is literally aware, then does that mean it has the will to change what is happening to it? The answer is no, it isn’t aware of the actions taken by me. For instance, if I were to tell my sister that she isn’t literally aware of her actions or her thoughts, she would get offended and defensive. Perhaps, she would argue back justifying herself, hit me or give me a dirty look. Can a computer come close to such a step? Can a computer get offensive or argue back on its part to defend itself? My computer has not done anything like this.
Perhaps other robotic machines are capable of doing so and even then, those machines would have not programmed themselves. Surely, it would have been done by the humans. Anyhow, I am not concerned about such machines. If the computer was aware of what is going on, then it would have been deleting my work so far considering that it is negative on its perspective. Additionally, what would happen if I had not turned on my computer for several years? Most likely, it would function at the same speed as earlier. But if it were to be conscious, why would it allow me to unplug it or leave it there in the first place.
When I think of being conscious, I think of my existence and being able to interact with humans and with technology. Additionally, computer cannot self reflect. It is only possible if we have not deleted the history or the files. However, data would be missing if we had deleted the files or rebooted the computer. Therefore, they would not be able to think back about the existing memories. They can only create new ones. Whereas, humans recall back and think about how to solve future roblems. This is known as assimilation; introducing new experiences into existing schemes.
Besides, they cannot find connections between old and new experiences, if their pre-existing memory has been deleted. As a result, humans are able to self reflect which allows them to think about their mistakes hence they do not repeat history. If a computer were to be literally aware of its surroundings, then I would assume that it is capable of decision making as well. A computer cannot decide whether I should be typing or when I should be typing. I get to decide that and if it ad the capability to make such decisions perhaps then it would have given me a set time.
Also, if the computer had any objection, then it would have not allowed me to type or save my work. Ssimilarity, if it didn’t like the background image, it would have changed it to its preference. In addition, a computer cannot make the decision to put itself to sleep knowing that it has been on for several hours now. If it were programmed like this, I still would conclude that we cannot categorize it as human like because it would have been the ones to program such a function. The computer itself will not tell us that it needs such a program. Therefore, we would be the decision makers rather the computer.
In addition to decision making, humans generally make decisions either emotionally or logically. In other words, we either use our heart/ instincts or our brain to process our thoughts and to make decisions. We are not programmed as in to what we could choose from; whereas, computers don’t have this option. The emotional aspect of decision making is automatically out, since computers lack emotion. Furthermore, at times, our decisions are pressured by our peers. We are not always free to what we can decide. On the other hand, the omputer is not co linked with other computers when it comes to decision making.
If tnls optlon was avallaDle to us, meaning IT we naa a program wnere two computers could make each other’s decisions, even then humans would have been the ones to program and even create such a program. Moreover, can we conclude that a computer is able to communicate knowing that it can provide written statements? There are various online games that we can play against the computer. Sometimes, a computer provides statements such as, ‘l would have won’ or ‘Good game’; therefore, one may conclude that it is capable of communicating. I deny this because pre- stored statements cannot conclude a computer as a thinker.
If this concept of decision making was accepted, then I would be obligated to believe that cell phones can think too since they have pre-stored templates such as, ‘How are you’ or ‘Good Morning. Yet again, both of these machines are programmed by humans and without our input, they are useless. Additionally, computers and humans vary on my aspects. For example, if humans don’t drink or eat for several hours, we can still manage to get to places or at least be able to process thought at a slower rate. We an still function, perhaps not as effectively or accurately.
Yet, we would not completely shut down; whereas, a computer needs to be electrically plugged to function properly. Ssimilarly, a laptop needs to be fully charged in order to function at its best. We don’t need to be electrically plugged in order to function. Although, our bodies do require proper nutrition, sleep and exercise to function at our best, yet our system would not be completely turned off if we were to skip a meal. We would be sleepy, tired, exhausted, and may not process thought at a normal speed, nevertheless, we still would be able to walk around.