Thinking about thinking


It’s about 22 years since IBM’s Deep Blue beat World Champion Gary Kasparov in chess. The current software Komodo now ranks far higher than any human brain in existence.

Humans distinguish themselves in reflective thought. That is we not only think but we think about thinking and by doing so we rewrite our brains and learn new patterns. It won’t be long before machines overtake human brains completely because we’re teaching them to think like us and better.

Much of our efforts in organization today are concerned with limiting risk. We have endless regulations and laws and policies implemented to make the world a safe place. But even the most well thought out plan or contract cannot predict everything. And to the contrary we more often than not introduce some new medicine, technology or practice only to create some unforeseen results. We even have a new term for this consequence called emergence.

Emergence is defined as a result not predictable from the underlying conditions. It’s something new that can only be understood causally upon reflection after it has already happened. I don’t accept emergence theory because the underlying assumptions of people are wrong; the world is not a linear construct of unrelated phenomena, but is instead a non linear organic totality where there are no independent units. And so if you use a medication for blood pressure and you end up upsetting the equilibrium of the thyroid system it shouldn’t be a surprise even if you never expected it.

Tinkering with things we do not understand, especially organic systems like your body or the earth itself in light of this seems foolhardy. And seeing that artificial intelligence has already surpassed us by many measues AI may achieve nonlinear organic thought well beyond anything we might have done and at that point who will be working for whom?

Worship is a derivation of Hebrew meaning “work for!” And indeed we may be eventually, literally worshipping the machines!

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