15.361 Western Canon? ideas on a draft?

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 13:06:32 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 361.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: Haradda@aol.com (6)
             Subject: Re: Western Canon

       [2] From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi (124)
             Subject: Assessment of Human Brain, Intelligent Machines,
                     Computers and Global Inequalities -First Draft

             Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 17:57:52 +0000
             From: Haradda@aol.com
             Subject: Re: Western Canon

    I came across a reference to Sir John Lubbock's list of the 100 best books.
    But I have been unable to get a copy of this list of books. Does anyone have
    this list available or is able to point me in the direction where I can
    locate one.

    Thank you

    David Reed

             Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 18:02:04 +0000
             From: Arun-Kumar Tripathi
             Subject: Assessment of Human Brain, Intelligent Machines,
    Computers and Global Inequalities -First Draft

    Dear Dr. Willard McCarty,

    Could any of humanist scholars please provide any references to the below
    draft/notes? Comments are appreciated!! Thank you in advance.

    Assessment of Human Brain, Intelligent Machines, Computers and Global
    inequalities, etc.
                      Arun Kumar Tripathi, Research Scholar,
                      Technical University Darmstadt, Germany

    I would like to begin this essay by thought-provoking ideas on intelligent
    machines, which may be somewhat ridiculous As the year 2001 starts rushing
    headlong towards us, we all are thinking about many changes. But how many
    of us are thinking along the radical lines of several recent books (e.g.
    Ray Kurzweils gospel of intelligent machines and the vision of Hans
    Moravec) all of which, all of which written by highly reputed authorities
    and scientists they argue that because of the relentless accelerating
    march of technology, desktop-computer power will, within just a few
    decades, far exceed that of the human brain, and shortly thereafter will
    even exceed the collective thinking power of all humanity. They further
    argue that such thinking entities will merge with nanotechnology and
    virtual reality, and the products that will emerge from this convergence
    will be intelligences of an inconceivably powerful short, leaving and
    sweeping (humanity) humans behind the dust. To some extent is true, but
    there is much exaggerations.

    The human brain remains unfathomably more complex than and electronic
    device yet developed, and likely to be developed for generations to come.
    What all this computing power does is to provide new and expanded
    capacities for the exercise of the human imagination. And, regarding
    computing power and human imagination further ideas Computers and networks
    allow us to store, manipulate, access, and use vast quantities of
    information. Such techniques as data warehousing for example, allow
    managers to explore information in previously impossible ways, searching
    for and examining relationships. Further, computers enable people to
    design new and better products (including products that allow even more
    power to design new and better products) through their capacity to
    calculate at lightening speed. Computer data management, storage, and
    communications have also improved the ability of business to make, manage,
    and market their products. It appears that great efficiencies are now
    being realized through these means. (Now if those benefits can only be
    expanded to encompass the less developed nations..) Even school children
    can now easily create presentations using graphics, sound, motion, and
    text, which both sparks their interest and enables them to organize their
    information and ideas in new ways. Hyperstudio and Powerpoint are among
    the products used for that purpose.

    Herewith I would like to add one more thought-provoking idea The brain is
    presumably some kind of information processor. Why cant the cerebral
    engineers measure how well the neurons are manipulating data in much the
    same way computer engineers benchmark the blazing speed of an Apple G3
    ship against that of an Intel Pentium?

    In time, above motive can be achieved perhaps the brain is far too complex
    (an operating at too many levels) to permit that sort of analysis now.
    About all that can be done is to analyze in the light of output.
    Intelligent is demonstrated by action. As the late Dr. Laurence J. Peter
    said, The best intelligence test is what we do with our leisure time.

    There is some developments, that have taken place that studying the
    precursors to the signals that control muscles. Human brain is a computer,
    an overdone analogy. I am not at all sure, that it is very helpful in
    reality. The human brain has existed for millions of years and has been
    undergoing evolution from its origins for billions of years. Computers
    have existed for only a few decades. Again, it is too complex to discuss
    here, that the various actions to be performed by a computer are all
    decided by the human brains, not by computer itself. Though, inarguable, I
    suppose in the sense that only a specified repertoire of actions of
    actions are available to a computer. (But how and when to take actions,
    and in what degree and combination is a more difficult matter) Computers
    can only follow instructions, they dont read mind. Feedback and remote
    sensing systems can indeed let a computer change its course of actions
    done all the time. To add more -- -- It finally dawned on me that what is
    so problematic about the comparison (of human brain and computers) is that
    the analogy is backwards. People refer as the brain as being like a
    computer. No. Computers are a human attempt to electromechanically
    reproduce a very limited subset of what the brain can (with the aid of
    such devices as paper and pencil!) do. In other words, computers are like
    (limited aspects of ) the brain. Very fast and reliable for some purposes
    (some very important and valuable ones!), but still only a pale shadow of
    the brain. In short we could say, Comparison between computers and brains
    is misguided except at the most basic hardware level. Computers are not
    intended to be anything like brains, and their design is fundamentally
    unrelated to anything that goes on in brains. This is true at every level
    from synpases to culture.

    One of the challenges, that the brain does not work at all like a
    computer, also provides us with an opportunity: the possibility of new
    modes of interaction that allow us to take advantage of the complementary
    talents of humans and machines.

    Human brain is a computer this is a hypothesis rather an objective fact.
    It is one way to look at the brain: one says we can think of it as a
    computer. I think it is a productive one, if understand properly; but many
    people disagree and emphasize the differences between brains and
    computers, and suggest that it is better to think of the brain
    differently, e.g. in terms of cybernetics or biology or dynamics.

    Now to the global inequalities:

    First of course, I recognize that there is an inequality of access to
    information and that it is largely drawn along economic lines. Second, I
    think we all must remember that this inequality has always existed there
    has always been such an inequality since the dawn of history. Some people
    have better access have the best economic means, that does not mean we
    should abandon efforts to make internet as accessible and affordable as
    possible, but I dont think the inequality is substantively different from
    that which has existed forever, therefore we have survived it in the past
    and can survive it now. May only real complaint about the frequent
    have/have-not arguments is that they seem to ignore that past history as
    if the internet situation is somehow unique and different from books
    (which once were reserved only for the church and the rich and noble),
    telephones, television and so on. And, pertaining to these ideas,
    communication technologies offer (1) a chance at reasonable cost to
    greatly improve access to information and (2) incentive for businesses to
    further increase equality of access, as doing so ultimately increases
    their own markets. This is a case of economic self interest (quickly, I
    think) toward enhanced opportunity worldwide. The cost of distributing
    information via the Internet is a fraction of the cost of distributing it
    by way of paper. The cost of promoting business via the Internet is
    likewise a fraction of the cost of previous methods. Although many costs
    of delivery remain, the overall cost of doing business should decline
    sharply for may kinds of business. In sum, I think the opportunities are
    excellent, even if now without the difficulties and challenges that result
    from worldwide competition.

    Best Regards
    Arun Kumar Tripathi
    ECP Ring Leader

    Der Leib ist die Natur; die wir selbst sind. Wir duerfen uns deshalb fuer
    die Frage, was natur ist, nicht auf die Aussagen der Naturwissenschaft
    beschraenken, sondern muessen einbeziehen, was wir als Natur an uns selbst
    erfahren. [-Gernot Boehme, Beruehmte Darmstaedter Philosoph-]

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