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Human = Computer God? Sunday, Sep 2 2007
Ekam Sath = One Earth Friday, Aug 31 2007
Darwin’s theory is only about adaptation not evolution Sunday, Jun 3 2007
Never allow your mind to get prejudiced about an idea or a thought. The key to really understand things is to have an open mind. If what you have been believeing ever since your birth is found to be false, enquire into it with an open mind and if all evidences point towards it being false, immediately give up your childhood belief.
Do not stick to your old belief inspite of knowing it is false, and do not try to find evidence which will prove that it is true, just for the sake of proving it true.
On the contrary, the best way to prove something right is always to try to prove it wrong! In this way you will always strengthen your beliefs because you would have tried to prove it wrong in n number of ways and it should pass the test every time.
I hate when people start arguments based on prejudice. I do not argue with such people. I am not here to change anybody, I am here to increase my knowledge. Those who stick to their prejudice, to their egos and blind faith are just making fools of themselves.
Let us talk about evolution. When I was first taught Darwin’s theory of evolution I actually liked that idea. But then no prejudice please. Upon enquiry I had a doubt. Life started evolving from carbon and other raw materials available on earth. Well, in that case all these raw materials as we know do not come under the definition of life. So as things evolved where did LIFE exactly start? Was it when the first cell was formed? Or was it when the first amino acid formed? Was it when the first protein molecule formed?
As I studied further, I came across viruses which are defined as intermediate stage between life and lifeless chemicals. This is because viruses cannot reproduce on their own. They need a host to multiply! One of the basic properties of life is the ability to multiply on its own by reproducing. So viruses do not fit into this category unless the definition includes a host cell!
So as I continued my thoughts on this I am yet to find a satisfactory answer to whether some intelligent designer designed life or was it purely natural evolution with random mutations.
But I am sure that darwin’s theory cannot account for the formation of complex life forms. I feel darwin’s theory is right only within its own domain and the problem exists because it has been extended outside its domain as something which explains the entire evolution of life on this planet.
Even the evolution of a simplest of the simple proteins from random combination of amino acids is not possible, even looking at it as a probabilistic chance in terms of earth’s age! Not possible even in terms of universal age known to us!
Then all these proteins have to assemble together, form sub cellular entities, then cells.. looks like proteins were already intelligent Not possible. Then DNA, genes, replication, repair mechanism, translation… No way possible that it evolved on its own, unless and until there is a totally different type of operational procedures at molecular level, which I dont think is the case..
If we say that we evolved merely from random mutations, then I would like to quote Einstein but in a different context as “God does not play dice”
The domain of the darwin’s theory as I think is adaptation of life, NOT evolution of life. Darwin’s theory explains the process of natural adaptation very well, the most suitable design will survive in an environment. Like for instance consider the birds of gallapagus which he found. Some have soft beaks and some have strong beaks. During a drought the soft beaks birds do not get fruits to feed on, while the strong beak birds can break open the shells of dried fruits from earlier seasons and survive on it. So in this case the soft beaked birds will not survive.
So what darwin’s theory explains is the survival and adaptation within a species. But there is no way that it explains the evolution of a completely different species from one species. Nor there is any way that is explains the very basic evolution of life where mitochondria, lysosomes, DNA etc form on their own(?!) and then form a cell, and then cells group together to form multi cellular life.. all this does not look scientific enough. Its not logical, its highly probabilistic. And as I have said in my earlier articles, this definitely does not explain the creation (or evolution) of new species. It is simply impossible for chromosome numbers to change and new genes to be formed by a genetic mutation and for opposite sex individuals of the same species to be formed at the same time so that they reproduce to continue the new species!
So in a nutshell, darwin’s theory only explains the adaptation of a particular species or the survivability of a particular species. But it does not explain Evolution of life, there is simply not enough data to support this.
Probably Darwin’s theory is just a subset of the real theory of creation/evolution of life on this planet.
Time Travel and Future Friday, May 18 2007
We classify time as past, present and the future.
Past is what has passed off, and future is the unseen, while present is the ongoing transition from past to future. This is what our entire life is all about. A transition from past to future.
Lets talk about this ‘present’. What we see, is it really the present thing ? Or is there a gap ?
I look at the night sky and see a star say 100 light years away. What does it mean ? That the light of that star that I’ve been seeing NOW left the star 100 years back. In other words, what I see NOW is how the star was 100 years ago. Then, how does the star look NOW? Well, to know that I have to wait here for another 100 years!
In other words, the star I see is a thing of the past, not the present. I shall meet the present in the future by when it would have been a thing of the past.
The sun we see is how it looked 8 minutes back. The moon a few seconds back. Even when I see other people right in front of me, its how they looked a few nano seconds back.
THERE IS NOTHING FROM THE PRESENT THAT WE SEE OR EXPERIENCE. WE ALWAYS SEE THE PAST, AND LIGHT IS THE MESSENGER WHICH TELLS US ABOUT THIS PAST.
Just like the way we always see the past, is there some way where we can see the future? In other words can we see light from the future ? But for this to happen, Future should have already happened. So what is the distinction between Past, Present and Future ? Does time exist only within our minds? Our consciousness moving in a given direction at a given speed of 1 second per second experiencing events like being a part of a movie, giving rise to the illusion of an unidirectional time ?
What is time travel ? We normally travel at the rate of one second per second in time into the future. This is our default speed in time. Suppose we increase or decrease this speed. Then that is something not normal. Lets look a bit more deeper.
Suppose I want to travel into the future at a faster rate than our default one second per second. So I somehow increase the speed say to 10 seconds per default second. So by the time other people move from say May 18 2007 to May 18 2008, I would have moved to May 18 2017!
Here is an interesting thing to be noted. If this kind of time travel has to be possible, where one is able to visit the future, then that future should have already taken place!
Note that for the normal people who are not doing time travel with me, they would still be in 2008, where as I am in 2018. So from our normal point of view for such a time travel to be possible, future should have already occured !
So I conclude this new theory that for time travel into the future to be possible, future should have already taken place. In other words, such a time travel is possible simply means that future is a thing of the past ! It again means that our perception of past present and future is just an illusion created out of our recognition of our own existence somewhere in the already existing timeline.
What we see aint what it is Tuesday, May 15 2007
What we see is not what it is!
What we see is just a custom mapping and interpretation by the brain of the data received from the eye. What we hear is a mapping of the data received from the ears. What we smell is a mapping of the data received from the nose, etc
Lets take for instance, sight.
We believe that what we see is what the real world looks like. But let me tell you the truth. Real world exists only inside our brain. The world has no real existence of its own outside our brain. In other words, the world has no form of its own. This is what is called ‘Niraaakar Brahmand’ (formless universe) in the vedas.
Let me explain how the world has a form only inside our brains.
We cannot see in the night/darkness. But still we know there are things out there. Why is this ?
Because our eyes depend on the light to perceive things. In other words eyes believe whatever light tells it.
Now can we see all the light ? In other words can our eyes perceive all the light that reaches it ?
NO. Our eyes can only see the visible range of the electromagentic spectrum (which we call light) which ranges from 400 nanometers to 800 nanometers.
Our eyes cannot see light in the range of Infrared, Ultraviolet, Radio waves, Gamma rays, X rays etc.
So our eyes send to the brain light signals which they receive only in the visible range. Then our brain creates a mapping of these signals and tries to interpret them using color coding, shades and depth. Probably there are other species or aliens whose brains perform a different kind of mapping of the light signals their eyes receive and for them sky, oceans etc look quite differently than it looks for us.
Except for monkeys and one or two other species all other animals see the world in black and white. They dont have the concept of color. Probably there are aliens whose eyes can sense a more wider range of light signals than us and hence probably they can see more colors than we can!
Also more importantly, even the colors we see are a result of our eye – brain interpretation. There is nothing like a ‘color’ in the nature. Light is an electromagnetic continuity and is not quantized as different colors.
We know that there are three primary colors, Red, Green and Blue and that all other colors are a mixture of these three colors. Do you know why ?
Not because there are three primary colors in the nature out there. But because the Cone cells in our eyes which identify color, can recongnize only three color ranges in the visible range and our brain perceives them as Red, Green and Blue. All other colors that we see are a combination of these three colors in different ratios.
So the colors we see are created in our eyes and interpreted by our brain. They do not exist out there in the nature. Other animals might see and perceive nature quite differently. And then there are other species which cannot see at all. They perceive the world only by sound. Some animals use the smell sense to preceive the world. And so on…
Probably there are aliens who have completely different kind of sense organs than we have. Something other than sense, tough, sight, hearing and taste.
In other words the universe is not what we or any other life forms see or perceive. In fact, different species perceive universe in different ways. Even in humans there are variations. For instace for a person who is blind since birth the perception of universe is completely different than the rest of us.
Universe by itself has no form. What we think to be the universe is just a perceived form of the custom mapping done by our brain of the limited range of electromagnetic spectrum which the Cone cells in our eyes perceive in three different ranges with their intensities being identified by the Rod cells in the eyes.
In other words, the universe is formless and exists only inside the brains of an aware consciousness called life. That is why ancient Indian vedic sages have said, ‘Change your perception and the world changes accordingly’
Artificial Intelligence and Awareness Sunday, May 13 2007
artificial intelligence and artificial life and asimov and bacteria and code and gurudev and hitxp and Information Technology and IT and life and programming and robots and Science and Software and technology 5:42 am
‘I Robot’ – Remember this movie ?
Robots made up of intelligent software, want to overtake human beings and rule the earth, bla bla bla
The key is artificial intelligence, software that could mimic human intelligence and by the sheer processing power of the processors even overcome(?) human intelligence.
Some fear that one day computers will be more intelligent than humans. Artificial Intelligence will take over human intelligence. Then the computers/robots feel that humans are less intelligent than they are, and hence will take over humans as the dominant species(?!). Asimov suggested what is called Asimov’s laws to be embedded into the robots to ensure that robots never take over humans.
The Asimov’s laws are the fundamental laws which a Robot should always obey while executing any action. The robotic software should have these laws at the fundamental level preventing a robot from executing any action which violates any of these laws.
These are the Asimov’s laws
Law #1: A Robot should never harm a human being.
This ensures that a robot can never even think of anything which is dangerous or harmful to humans
Law #2: A Robot should follow all commands given by a human, provided first law is not violated.
This ensures that a robot always obeys to humans, but at the same time cannot be used by one human against other humans.
Law #3: A Robot should always protect itself, provided first and second laws are not violated.
This ensures that robots can save themselves in adverse situations, but not at the cost of a human life, and not at the cost of not following a human order.
Later on Asimov also inluded a Zeroth law, an even more fundamental law than the above three, and this says
A Robot should always protect the human race
And First law was modified as
A Robot should never harm a human being provided Zeroth law if not violated.
In other words, the Zeroth law ensures that robots not only are prevented from doing harm to human race, but also ensure the protection of human race. So tomorrow if there is an alien attack then Robots will fight the aliens as per the Zeroth law. OR say some wicked human tries to carry out a nuclear explosion which wipes out a large part of this planet, then the Robots will terminate that human, because the modified First law says that ‘A Robot should not harm a human only if Zeroth law is not violated’, in this case since the wicked human is causing a potential danger to human race, Robots will observe that Zeroth law is being violated by his action and hence will terminate him.
Looks like a science fiction? Well, for me it is common sense to hardcode these four laws as the basic of all robotic actions in every robot that we manufacture. Probably a more detailed and refined version of these laws will be more practical.
Now lets look at a more fundamental level. When we say Robots want to take over humans, or computers become more intelligent. What do we mean ?
Does it mean that Computers will be able to mimic or simulate intelligence on par with human intelligence ?
Computers will become really more intelligent?
My view goes that Computers just mimic human intelligence and are never truly intelligent. Why ?
My view dates back to those days when I used to think about a true answer for the meaning of life. In my +2 classes my professor asked a question.
A very tough question indeed. If we say things that move on their own consist life, then plants dont do so. (Except for some slow motion trees which over a period of years slowly move by spreading out their roots far away and cutting of older roots)
The text book answer was reproduction, things that can produce forms of their own. Things that can multiply and evolve.
I was not satisfied though. I used to think at a more fundamental level. For me being alive meant, being aware of one’s existence. ‘Awareness’ is the key. I know I am alive because I am aware of my existence. So my definition of life was ‘awareness’, textbook definition was ‘reproduction’.
My professor then was surprised by my answer, he asked me ‘Do you think bacteria or plants are aware of their existence’ ? I replied, ‘they have to be, probably the mechanism is different, we have brain, they have something else, Jagadish Chandra Bose had shown that plants have feelings and respond to things like music, heat etc. To respond they have to feel and to feel they have to be aware’.
Lets apply the textbook definition and my definition of life to Computers.
If we go by textbook definition, well computers/robots can be created which create more robots and computers. That is not a difficult thing to do. We just have to write programs which tell how to manufacture another robot/computer. So can we now say that since robots can manufacture more robots, robots have life ?
I dont think so. Because my definition is being aware. Awareness leads to information, interpretations, thought and then to actions. Key for robots to think that they are more intelligent, and are slaves of humans and hence should overpower humans and build an empire of their own, results from the feeling of ‘being ambitious’, ‘sense of slavery to humans’, etc. But to get all these feelings first the robot has to be aware of its own existence, which I think is the essence of life, and since Robots DO NOT HAVE THIS AWARENESS I conclude that robots or software only mimic intelligence coded in them by the truly intelligent humans.
My assumption is based on the fact that ‘Awareness is a proprietary of life, and only natural life possesses awareness, and that awareness is not a byproduct of neural network or the process of being able to think’
Because if awareness results from the ability to think, then well robots could also gain awareness as they are able to think. Please note here that when I say ‘I am aware of my existence’, I mean that I am truly aware of it, not that I have some boolean variable which says that ‘I exist’
So forget about having some variable stored in a robot to tell it that its aware, that will be again mimcking awareness, not actual awareness
To summarize, my current views are that artificial life based on artificial intelligence in the form of computers, robots, software or what not is not true life or true intelligence, but only a simulation of life or intelligence, just like the way computers simulate a nuclear explosion, weather, flight etc