kotzx043: October 2011 Archives

Computer Vs. The Brain

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Computers vs. the human brain has been a worrisome topic, every since digital computers were being used over 60 years ago. This topic has been heavily depicted in movies like 2001 Space Odyssey, Terminator, and I, Robot. This topic raises a lot of thought-provoking ideas on the comparison of the human brain and modern computers, which has a higher "Intelligence". The link I have provided and the book also go into some detail on this question. The main thing I think that should be focused on is, what do we describe as intelligence. There are some things like according to our book that we do flawlessly and make it seem easy like depth perception, while a computer can do something that we find incredibly extraordinary like beating the world's greatest chess player in chess with relative ease. I define natural intelligence on a human beings survival IQ, because that is what our intellect was naturally created for. Small things that we find simplistic, like reading someones body language or mood, is almost impossible for a computer to comprehend. These subtle inferences our what I deem more intelligent, because they help us survive. In our current society these adaptive qualities rarely come into use. Today's intelligence has been redefined by our societies in a matter of factual recognition and number crunching. These are the categories in which computers are superior. Our invention of these so called "Electric Brains" have capabilities that aren't even fathomable with a human brain. The amount of knowledge today's computer can access in matters of seconds is extraordinarily sophisticated when compared with our brains. This though is not what I deem to be the higher intelligence. I go back to the primal nature of intelligence. The reason that we have intelligence, is for methods of survival. Our intelligence models for us a organized manner in which we can reason, think, and problem solve in seconds fact, which in turn increases our survival rates. Computers have not reached even close to the level of sophistication that our brains are at.


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Magic mushrooms, shrooms, or boomers are hallucinogens that produce extreme sensations and perceptions. They are a fungus that is can be produced naturally in nature. Mushroom motifs have been found in Mayan ruins in Guatemala, where the psychoactive drug can be naturally found. People who take shrooms feel fascinating changes of their consciousness, seeing illusions and having thoughts that they never would have thought about before. This is a very powerful hallucinogen that extremely alters ones consciousness. My friends and I went on a road trip this summer in a 1970's Volkswagen to the shores of Lake Superior. We brought up shrooms to take one of the days on the lakeshore of Madeline Island. The experience was not life changing, but it was a substantial life experience for all of us. During our "trip" it start at as the stereotypical trip where your visual perceptions become significantly alter and colors become distorted or incredibly vivid. This stage resulted in little conversation between each other, except for comments on what we were perceiving. The next stage brought about paranoia, (like in this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-395143/Magic-mushrooms-help-depression-say-scientists.html); this was a brief twenty minutes of the trip caused by upset stomachs of two of my friends. An upset stomach is a common side effect of shrooms, and that's where it gets the nickname boomers, because there is a booming feeling in your stomach. The next stage and last stage was the best stage for all of us. We all experience genuine happiness and a state of bliss. This was the life reflection stage for all of us as well, where we reflected on our lives, society, and just the world overall. It was a very spiritual moment, not in a religious context, but in a common perception context. We all felt as though we had a better understanding of ourselves and our lives. Our perspectives on life were altered that day creating a more positive outlook on life. This is what the article mentions that magic mushrooms can cure depression, and although it was a positive experience for me and slightly changed my behavior for the better, this could have drastic results on others trying to use this as a cure. While tripping one really reflects on their life, so if what they uncover is bad, it could have disastrous results.

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The nature vs. nurture assessment has always been a peculiar one and has deeply interested me. One way of studying the effects of these two factors is through the use of adoption studies. Adoption studies are a helpful to discover the impact that genetics (Nature) or environment (Nurture) have on a child. Through adoption studies researchers can study children who have been adopted, while carefully monitoring selective placement, and determine the degree to which each of these two factors have on a child. I have an adopted sister from China, and obviously she is living a completely different life now, than she would have at this time in China. When we got her at a year old she couldn't even sit up, and after two weeks with her she could stand with only little assistance. My theory is that genetics gives the potential of a characteristic physical or mental, then nurture provides the rest. Through my personal observations I have daunting bias and belief that it is primarily nurture that has created the person that she is. This though can never be proven, for we will never know who her parents were. In China it is illegal to give your child up for adoption and if we found out who her parents were we would have to return her and they would be severely punished. (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15629096) Studies like the one in this link can bring insight into this pressing topic. The psychologist way of thought in this nature vs. nurture debate is that it is 50/50, while the sociologist way of thought is that it is 75/25 in favor of Nurture. My bias leans the sociologist way of thought, because I have an extreme interest in behavior and no interest in science. My overall theory is that nature gives us a potential bar in each of our characteristics that how far we reach up the potential ladder depends on the environment in which we are raise. Nature gives us possibilities and Nurture has us reach certain levels of these possibilities.

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