Computer or Machine Supremacy
This is an odd one. The human brain is an analogue device, but if you boil it down to connections, a human brain could have as many as 86,000,000,000^1,000 connections which allows if to have the characteristic we know as sentience and an awareness of the future. A chimpanzee maybe has 7,000,000,000^1,000 and there is evidence of this level having at least some form of sentience and self-awareness. Without being a chimpanzee and knowing about it, we can never be able to think like a chimpanzee to know the difference. They may just be simpler at integrating with a new environment due to extra simplicity. But, ‘to think like an ant, first you need to be an ant.’
The most powerful computer is a binary system that could have as many as 1,000,000,000,000,000^5 connections, the chimpanzee brain being over 10^500 times as complicated and capable, the human brain being closer to 10^1000 times, even the humble fruit fly being probably 40 times as complicated and capable as the best current computer, so at least a couple of orders above. What it does have though is speed of operation and exactness, although testing this exactness is an assumption of operation rather than having something to rigorously test against.
The fastest computer in the world can do 93,000,000,000,000,000 exact calculations per second, compared to 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 estimated calculations per second in a human, so the processing speed is nearly there, requiring 2 orders above, but is speed and answers all there is to the process.
We have things like quantum computers that are supposed to be incredibly fast as conventional ones, but it is still speed rather than reasoning being tested, and are tested using quantum computers for correctness past a certain point, so if one turns out to be incorrect, the test would qualify it as true, but being equally incorrect by the nature of the beast. Their correctness true and proven, except when something finally comes along that says it isn’t and a paradigm shift happens, everything based on it needing revaluation and new theory, not just modification of an old one.
We now come to the crux of the matter; what does it need to be classed as human? The unproven theory is that if it was possible to create a sentient being the equivalent of a human, they would be logically better and correct in their calculations all the time. This is based on data being correct and exactly what is true, but knowledge changes through the ages, what is true in the past possibly no longer being true now, or at least badly biased or dependent on the social system it was originally formulated and will be so in the future. Right tends to be what you grew up with, it being a hopelessly naïve idea to think of things normal in society that happened in other times with value judgements. You might even say ‘to think like somebody born in the 18th century, first you need to be born in the 18th century,’ and so it will be in the future, many things we see as correct and proper now being seen as the ethics and stupidity of brutal cavemen in 100 years’ time. How could they have been so thick and backwards in their thinking.
Because you cannot have exact and universal truth, only estimates, or approximations at best, generating what you could call a world view, any system that has a chance at being depended upon for knowledge or decisions needs to have this sense of being wrong, inaccurate, faulty, making mistakes and trying to rectify them, and a sense of belonging to the larger community and sharing the experience with it. Without these characteristics a control or decision system becomes a tyrant or despot. ‘To think like a human, first, you need to be a human.’ Sadly, some people are more mechanical in their outlook, unable to put visualise themselves in the position of others. I wouldn’t be surprised if the known lack of empathy in people like sociopaths and serial killers is closer to their simple ‘machine like’ nature, a serial killer being nothing more than just a simple killing machine with simple and superficial psychological requirements, rather than deep thoughts and imagery.
So, we may find that the desire for order, correctness, and truth are the only characteristics that a cybernetic system is imbued with, the feeling, empathy, inquisitiveness and overall sense of worth, lacking. Time and time again, the lack of sense of purpose and the bleakness of existence is seen as a psychological characteristic of people who are a problem to society, those seeing other people as things for their own use and enjoyment, but that enjoyment being a drug that needs bigger and bigger doses, never satisfied or satiated. We build systems in society now that indiscriminately apply rules that they follow, ignoring completely any damage they do, so imaging one where it has complete control over society. A system as hard as implacable logic, people just numbers to crunch and subtract, when and where. Thinking, there are 10 apples, but 2 are not needed, so destroy 2, in exactly the same thought and manner as, there are 10 people, 2 are not needed, so destroy 2. Similarly, the logic of 6 billion, 2 billion not needed, no more thought than 6 and 2, and if implanted communication systems, hopefully not extended to character or emotional control, become de rigueur, possibly having the logical possibility and ability to attain this end. Logical thought without the contamination of compassion. A machine running nothing more in the end than machines.
Is humanity working towards this end of a completely ordered and logical society? Some say that a lot of countries are well on this way, the social systems demanding the conformity and ease of control it gives, everybody just being thought of as a number to crunch. Less a police state, more a computer state that expects perfectly conforming and functioning machines.