Will the Computer Replace the Mind

Topics: Mind, Psychology, Brain Pages: 5 (2193 words) Published: January 21, 2011
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Will the Computer Replace the Mind?by Rav B. Horovitz An adaptation based upon articles by Rav S. D. Sassoon and Rav Arye Kaplan. Science and advanced technology appear to have brought us to the pinnacle of the Biblical mandate to subdue the world (Genesis 1:28).  Not only has man conquered the world of outer space, he is achieving domination in the inner space of the nucleus.  He is unravelling the mysteries of genetic codes and is engineering new life forms.  The computer, and the technology of robotics and artificial intelligence, stand at the frontier of man's efforts to master his world.  A computer is capable of doing calculations that exceed the capacity of any single mind.  Robots are increasingly replacing workers who perform repetetive tasks.  What are the limits of these developments?  Could a computer or robot replace the human mind? Human intelligence is not the ability to follow instructions, which can also be done by a robot.  What is the essence of the human being?  Who is the real you? Some say that man is like a machine, a body that can perform certain functions.  In times past, a persona could consider his own body as an integral part of himself.  But scientific progress has changed this concept of personality.  Today a man can live with another person's heart beating in the breast.  If he is asked, “Who are YOU?" he cannot point to his heart, because it is someone else's.  Let us imagine what it would be like to undergo a brain transplant.  A person might be suffering from an incurable disease in his body, but still have a healthy brain.  The donor, on the other hand, would have suffered irreparable brain damage, but otherwise have a perfectly sound body.  So the brain is removed from the sick body and placed in the healthy one.  Who is the new man?  We have an old brain with all its memories, personality traits and behavior patters, but it has a brand new body.  The old body might have been old and sick, while the new one may be young and full of energy.  Let us ask this man to point to himself.  Will he point to his body, or will he point to his head?  Probably the latter.  Computer technology allows one to perform a memory transfer, taking the information in one computer systems and transferring it to another.  What if this were done to the human bran? Let us envision a memory transfer.  Assume that we have a person with an incurable disease, and neither his body nor his brain can be salvaged.  We clone a new body of this individual, brain and all.   This new body has a blank new brain capable of functioning, but without any memories.  We bring all the information of the sick person into the brain of the new body.  If all of man's memories, thought patterns and personality traits are transferred to a new body and brain, then this person literally exists in his new body, but nothing physical has been transferred, only the information.  But then the question arises, who is the real you?  It is not your body, not your brain; it is the information contained in your brain - the personality traits, memories and thought patters, the nonmaterial ego.  After the body ceases to functions, what happens to the real you, the human personality?  What happens to all the memories, thought patters and personality traits?  When a book is burnt, its contents are no longer available.  When a computer is smashed, the information in it is also destroyed.  But, when a man dies, everything still remains in G-d’s memory.  Just as the mind is the subject which holds all objects together, so G-d is the subject that also holds all human begins together.  We may think of something existing only in memory as being static, but G-d’s memory is dynamic and still maintains its identity.  This is the meaning of immortality, the Garden of Eden, the World to Come, the world of souls, the bond of eternal life.  "Dust...
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