In 1989 Roger Penrose published a book titled ‘The Emperor’s New Mind’. Although technical developments have progressed enormously, the book is still worth reading. Where can we find information about the processes that are the origin of what is called ‘artificial intelligence’? It would seem that the spirit that has advantages when people become addicted to another intelligence than their own, has no interest in informing us what are the elements of the ‘thinking’ of the computer and all the discoveries that are connected with it.
In Penrose’s book it becomes very clear, though, how artificial intelligence works.
In the city of Berne, in Switzerland, I tried to share my experiences of the differences between human thinking and computer thinking. To me it seems to be very important that we, living in this era of technical development, don't forget to feel and experience how the two kinds of posing problems and answering questions, and of remembering also, differ from each other. The human mind can contemplate and meditate, and by being patient understand the deepest coherences. It can also oversee complicated situations in a glance, without needing time at all. On the other hand, the computer can only give answers following long – but extremely quick – procedures. It must have derived the sequences of these procedures from the human mind, when it becomes increasingly possible that the computer can develop these sequences itself – but this faculty of development has been given to it by specific algorithms, thought out by the human mind.
This is what we tried to experience, by posing simple arithmetical problems: first with our own thinking, then with the procedure of a computer…
The results are astonishing….
The Emperors new clothes, illustration by Edmund Dulac, 1912