13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
From carbon to silicon... humans and digital technology
, October 29, 1999
This is a great read for Lawyers and other "fuzzy" information-economy thinkers! Better yet, it's a great read for IT professionals, who are introducing technological solutions into human situations! This book will keep you grounded in reality.
Charles Jonscher, through an entertaining examination of centuries accumlation of philosophy... science and technology, shows the disconnects between the they way humans interact, and the way digital technology works.
In short, being digital ain't the same as being human. It ain't warm, fuzzy -- and more importantly ain't ANALOG.
The beauty of ANALOG is the key to Jonscher's book. Analog thinking is by nature, superior to digital. Using mathematics and physics vis-a-vis bio-chemistry and psychology, Jonscher reveals that the human brain is analog. On the other hand, computers are digital, and hence 'inferior'.
For example, Jonscher talks about Deep Blue, the computer that beat the pants off the best Chess player in the world.
While the media hailed this as a significant step towards the evolution of 'computer intellegence' Jonscher puts this (off the wall) assertion into perspective. He argues that if a fire broke out during the chess match, even a lowly bumble bee would have enough "common sense" to leave the building, whereas Deep Blue would continue to play the game and burn to crisp in the flames.
By tracing the path of natural evolution, Jonscher shows readers that all things natural use "analog" senses produced and guided by complex chemical reactions. While digital uses logic and mathmatics. Grounding his argument in such scientific breakthroughs as Quantum Physics, that shows that there is chaos in logic, mathmatics physics ... and (GASP) nature ... Jonscher explodes the myth of Computer Intelligence at its roots.
In simple terms, Jonscher shows readers with concrete evidence that it is physically and scientifically impossible to use digital technologies to create intelligence.
Computers will only be able to assist humans in matters of logic -- they cannot help your wife to decide on whether to have a hot mochachino or Orange Crush ... or tell you your neighbour is really upset that your dog just did a do-do on their front-lawn. Only human interaction via analog senses of sight, taste, smell, hearing, touch, can detect these nuances of interaction.