I’m a fan of J. K. Rawling’s and hope to see her newest fantastic beasts film soon. Still, when I stop to consider, we humans are fantastic beasts, too. Artificial Intelligence (AI) won’t be a threat to us in the near future, if ever. The reason is we harbor mysteries we’ve yet to fully understand.
Consider intuition, for example. How do we create an algorithm for knowing without knowing? We, humans, experience that phenomena whenever we sense someone is behind us, even though we have no eyes in the back of our heads.
Science calls that awareness, exteroception. It derives from unconscious readings done in our brains. Without being aware of it, we know when someone is behind us because we are cognizant of changes in sound vibration, not only those in the air but those that bounce off hard surfaces, like the pavement or shop windows. That sensory talent once enabled us to escape the sabre tooth tiger and continues to serve us today with an ease that seems magic.
The limbic brain, our emotional center, works like magic, too. With it, we can distinguish a fake smile for one that’s genuine. The talent is also a survival mechanism. It helps us determine friends from foes. (“Creativity, Memory, Echolocation Shortcuts etc” by Eric Haseltine, Psychology Today, November, 2018.) Funnily enough, that magic works in reverse, as well. Body language can manipulate our emotions when we behave according to how we wish to feel. That’s why psychologists advise, if you want to be happy, put on a happy face. (Ibid pg. 62.)
Consider the horse, for example. When a rider drops the reigns over a rail without tethering it, the animal doesn’t run away. As a colt, it learned that rail was a barrier. Conditioning has so altered its thinking, it never questions that reality.
For us humans, culture and religion shape our world. Once we accept what we’ve been taught as children, then like the horse, we seldom retest that conditioning. The infinite universe becomes bounded in a nutshell. Tell me that isn’t fantastic and a little bit strange.
(First published 11/28/18)