In the previous post I tried to show a glimpse of what’s there in my mind about machines. Here I’ll continue to do that in a more specific branch: what change they could make in us?
Machines have made a lot of changes in our lives. To be precise, today nothing is like the way it was before the invention of computers. Of course there are many variations of the influence of machines in human life, but I focus on human perception.Humans and machines have interactions. We build machines for specific purposes, they do their job, we get new inputs, we improve them to act better, and these steps repeat many many times. But there are some side effects to this spiral process. Our perception changes during this interaction. Let’s think of an example, the Internet:
Internet is a huge machine, built for the purpose of communication. It was made to make data available in more possible places. After evolving a while (the survival of the best fit ideas), Social Networks came to life: people and organizations interacting online. By the new Internet, a lonely human being in its bedroom is able to communicate virtually with billions of people, sharing thoughts, feelings, consciousness, nonsense, and etc. Now that billions of people know about other billions of people, their perception of similarities and conflicts has changed totally, their understanding of borders and possibilities is changed and the way they interact with other people is also changed in contrast to generations without these machines. What they call it the “global village” is a sign of this change in perception: the world (our world, earth) is much smaller than we though. The reality here is that the earth has not changed in size, our perception of distance and time delay is changed.
Now that we’re convinced about machines influencing our perception, let’s dig the possibilities further. Considering our brain as a pattern crazy machine which makes, tests, changes, evolves, and connects (and all the other known and unknown possible actions with) patterns, it still has five senses for gathering input data for processing out patterns from. Machines helped here as well. X-ray sensors, microwave sensors, UV sensors, infrared sensors, thermal sensors and others helped us to visualize invisible data out there and let us actually see them. Machines named here extended our ability in sensory process.
With this new available data, we understand the outside world in a different way than without them.
Just like what our brains do with patterns, machines are very good at processing data; they have been built for it. And as we are pattern-obsessive beings, we’ve made machines to look for patterns in data and learn them. Machine Learning and Data Science are the terms to look after if you’re interested to know more about them. The Eureqa machine is an amazing example of a learning machine that formulated Newton’s Law in two hours of data processing and pattern analysis.
Back to the topic, having machines that are comfortable with very big amount of data (that we cannot deal with), extracting patterns out of them (the ones we cannot think of them yet), learning them (even learning the ways they can learn), and with the powerful ability of visualization they have we can start to see and understand new areas of reality that we weren’t aware of them before. By interacting with them, our brains will start to get used to them by crafting new patterns and new forms of knowledge. This is exactly a form of software upgrade. Yes, machines can upgrade our brain’s software in a way that it was not possible before.