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biophile's picture

How humans work

I think I know now why I immediately disagreed with Wolfram's position that everything (humans included) can be boiled down to CA. Things in the real world aren't as defined and clear-cut as the CA we studied in class. Even though the CA is computationally irreducible, it has properties that are reducible. We know what Rule 110, Rule 90, Rule 254 and so on look like. But more complex things don't operate that way. We can't look at a human and point out at step x that the human will be in a particular state.

Sure, we can make good guesses as to how any given person will react in a certain situation. If a person stubs their toe, they'll probably swear. If they find out that a loved one died, they'll probably cry. But there will always be anomalies and we can't trace back to a certain set of rules that dictate why the person reacted in a certain way. I can't say how complex the inner workings of our minds are, but they are not easily predicted even after a situation has already happened. If the same person that stubbed their toe were to do the same thing the next day, there's no way to tell if the person would react in exactly the same way the next day. There aren't any definite rules and patterns. There are patterns of behavior in more complex organizations, but there is often no discernable rhyme or reason behind them. And more complex things tend to be erratic at times.

Along with that, more complex things (I'm thinking of humans in particular right now) don't compute or analyze certain problems with algorithms. Perhaps that isn't the best way to put it... But humans don't go through a certain procedure to do multiplication, for example. A Turing machine would go through a plethora of steps to get the answer to 6*8. An adult human, on the other hand, will more often than not just spew the answer 48 because that has been drilled into their minds since elementary school. Even in more complex problems people don't follow clear logical steps. We often go with intuition or gut instincts, things that don't have rules. I don't see how we can be thought of as CA when we operate in very different ways from them.



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