Man versus Machine

Human-designed systems seem to need a central orchestration mechanism—similar to the cognitive homunculus-observer construct substance dualists can’t seem to escape—, where consciousness (for want of a better name) is more likely the result of an asynchronous web with the brain operating as a predictive difference and categorisation engine rather than the perceived cognitive coalescence we attempt to model. Until we unblock our binary fixedness, we’ll continue to fall short. Not even quantum computing will get us there if we can’t escape our own cognitive limitations in this regard. Until then, this error-correcting mechanism will be as close to an approximation of an approximation that we can hope for.

The net-input function of this machine learning algorithm operates as a heuristic for human cognition. Human-created processes can’t seem to create this decoupled, asynchronous heuristic process, instead ending up with something that looks more like a railway switching terminal.

Cover photo: Railroad tracks stretch toward Chicago’s skyline at Metra’s A2 switching station on March 29, 2019. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune); story

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