Supercomputers: A Philosophical Perspective

Supercomputers: A Philosophical Perspective

Jeremy Horne
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7461-5.ch016
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Supercomputers solve very large-scale complex problems efficiently and expediently – simulating societies, modeling the weather, or mapping genes, etc. Perhaps the most complex task of all is simulating our brains. The physical mapping of organic components to an artificial architecture is daunting, but more so is identifying the mental content referred to as “consciousness.” Creating a human mind is not impossible; what appeared out of reach yesterday is near reality now – a mind embodied in a machine. More profoundly, we may become our own gods, religion merging with science, a “supercomputer brain” encapsulating consciousness, reason, rationality, intelligence, etc. Can we overcome human bias in looking at ourselves, humans creating their own minds, our living as simulations in a virtual world, and computers actually solving social problems? If ultimately these developments amount to creating ourselves as a god, humanity looking at itself through itself, we may not like what we see.
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Supercomputers: A Philosophical Logic Perspective will provide somewhat of an overview of how supercomputer technological development may apply in recreating the human mind-brain. I also will focus on provoking discussion about emergence in an artificial brain by interweaving ideas somewhat repetitive but in different contexts. In other words, it is not the fascination of a brain's construction and how the architecture of a supercomputer might be mapped to it that is the focal point here but the implications. I assume that the technology will be there to meet the challenges. Given the rate of growth in our knowledge of brain functions, especially in the past few decades, it would not be surprising to see its functionality replicated in the relatively near future. Neuroimaging advances and nanotechnology are two areas that may make at least a physical replication possible. The principle issue in producing a fully functioning brain is knowing precisely what the supercomputer will emulate, and what we think is a mind, thinking, and consciousness. Many times it is safer just to ask the question, but one cannot act on questions. When we find the answer we must be prepared for more dramatic problems, such as those concerning policy.

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