Essays, Analyses and Meditations

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Beyond Knowledge

  • There is more to human knowledge than just "knowledge". If we built a computer that has all the knowledge in the world, that machine would not behave like a human being: it would behave like a machine. Humans have at least two faculties that dramatically alter the way they use knowledge: common sense and morality.
  • Common sense interferes with knowledge. A social system relies as much on considerate disobedience of the rules as on absolute obedience to the rules.
  • Morality drives the use of knowledge. We don't just kill and steal based on our knowledge of what is there and how to get it.
  • Humans are better at disobeying rules than at obeying them. That's why we have to write down the rules and then enforce them with police and courts. Disobeying rules is a fundamental feature of the human brain, and it is precisely what makes humans "smarter" than the fastest computer.
  • As society creates more and more obedient citizens, it is turning them into machines. Such human machines behave in a nonsensical and amoral manner just like machines do.
  • We are not training machines to become like humans but humans to become like machines.
Proof-edited by Alexander Altaras