Three Essays on Brains & Minds

Just place-holders for pieces – or indeed whole comms campaigns (?) – that need to be created: Most generally because there are enormous persistent misunderstandings within science & technology and with public understanding of it, and specifically (topically given Musk!) with socially degenerate aspects of ubiquitous social media.

In no particular order, they’re all connected multiple ways:

AI or AI?

So called “Artificial Intelligence” has so far come nowhere near real (human) intelligence, basically “automation”, although in the right hands, its study / research / experience to date has undoubtedly contributed enormously to understanding real brains and minds. Part of that understanding is essentially Systems Thinking:- from the Free-Energy-Principle / Markov-Blankets / Ergodicity / Strong-Emergence under an “Active Inference” umbrella, also conveniently still AI.

Algorithms for Humans?

Those with a human (humanist / humanities / dare-I-say spiritual) cultural perspective will react negatively to machine (algorithmic / electro-mechanical computer) models of “how real human (hard/intellectual & soft/emotional) intelligence works”. It’s a common sense of science over-reaching into the “human” culture war, the politics, as old as “The Third Culture”. Our mechanistic, imperfect, negative experience of algorithms so far (eg in social media, and marketing) and automatons (eg in robotics and thought experiments) can only reinforce this sense. However there is a perfectly credible story that the softer side of the human condition is explainable by categorical / qualitative “algorithms” in a living, biological “soft machine”.

Subjectivity for Scientists?

A lot of this reasoning is currently hampered by the limitations of orthodox (objective) scientific rationality. Partly general reductionism in causal chains that cannot handle the strong-emergence of causal agents acting independently of their component parts and partly that subjective agents with “minds of their own” are modelled objectively if not explicitly excluded by design. Catch-22. Scientific rationality needs to embrace – empathise with – the subjective perspective – cross Solms’ “Rubicon”.

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