Your Mind is Not Even a Biological Neural Net
Artificial Neural Networks are Claiming Human Like Capabilities But Are Modeling a Still Only Theoretical Functional/Structural Component of the Human Brain
The important thing to remember about a biological neural network, and one that is often overlooked, is that it is a theoretical functional and possibly structural component of a brain, specifically a human and some non human animals brains. In my view it is something of a stretch to call it a theoretical component given the relative paucity of hard data in support of it, however, I will grant it is stronger than a hypothetical function/structure at least. What has been described in the above linked article is an artificial neural network from which the author has gone on to philosophize about various aspects of the mind and mind/body problem. The cart has been put way before the horse as it were as no where has it been established that an artificial neural network is anything at all like a mind. We do not even know what a mind is like (at least in so far as the existence and structure/function of hypothesized/theorized neural networks). To suggest that by mimicking/aping/copying/taking as a model a biological neural network (which remember is a theoretical/hypothetical thing and may not be an accurate representation at all, and could in fact be completely wrong) with an artificial version, we can replicate or have replicated intelligence or learning or any aspect of a human or non human animal mind is absurd. It is another aspect of the compulogical fallacy and it is patently ridiculous on its face.
If you want to tell me your machine is intelligent or ‘learning’ (another term for which disagreement as to what it actually is or how it happens in a human person abounds) that is fine. I will disagree and I will try and prove you wrong, but I will believe it is possible. However, if you tell me you have replicated or mimicked a human brain to make your machine intelligent or to make it learn I will tell you it is absurd and (for the moment at least) impossible and not give you the time of day. I have said this before but I guess it is time to say it again, it is far past time for the parting of the ways of computers/technology and biology. Stop focusing on the human brain/mind and trying to prove how computers are ‘like it’ or not. Leave biology to the biologists and take care of your own kind. Biologists are not wasting time and energy trying to make us believe in ‘living’ machines (at least not any of the sane variety) so why are computer scientists/technologists always trying to make us believe in ‘learning’ or ‘intelligent’ ones?
Author’s note: In an earlier version of this article I took a much stronger position against the theory of biological neural networks and suggested that it was really only a hypothetical functional/structural component of a human and some non-human animals brains. I have partially withdrawn that objection for this version.