Friday, October 20, 2006

Thinking about Thinking

It is still undecided whether our mind is simply a machine. Quantum mechanics allows for indeterminism, hence physics may allow our minds to break deterministic behavior, if quantum effects are visible at the scale of our brains. Yet to say that our minds follow no patterns is incorrect, for our thinking and behavior does follow certain patterns.

If both the thought and behavior of our ancestors did not follow any pattern then survival becomes difficult hence, one could argue that evolutionary pressures select for thought and behavior that follows certain patterns. In fact, interactions between animals, to a certain extent, depend upon the predictability of behavior and in the case of humans thought as well. Since evolutionary pressures at human scale are highly deterministic, one could argue that certain algorithms loosely govern these patterns, it is these algorithms or patterns we want to emulate.

Personally, I believe that the origin of consciousness is an emergent structure of a complex dynamical system, namely our brain. This would explain why both our behavior and thought follow certain patterns, yet allows us to break old patterns. What makes our dynamical system special is that our system is in constant rapport with an external system namely, whatever is outside of us. As such it is constantly being perturbed to follow certain paths as not determined by itself yet, depending on the state of our internal system the way we follow the path and for how long is not predictable. We can never perfectly emulate another system because we do not have perfect information about that other system and its surroundings yet, we can emulate the system with more and more accuracy given more information we gain about that system, and its surroundings.



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