Hello Friends. I was reading a book about critical thinking and stumbled upon a topic that we can discuss philosophically as roulette players. Which is a more useful tool to play roulette, the human brain or a computer?
I feel that we are much better off the way we are right now. The human brain is probably the only thing in existence that cannot be improved upon except perhaps the slow passage of centuries. The computer has been called a "high speed moron". That is to say is that although the modern computer is among the most sophisticated electronic system yet devised, it is still severely limited in its abilities and it falls well short of the human brain.
We have enormous mental powers and the intelligence to explore and utilize it. The computer can only carry out orders that are fed into it. It can only perform mathematical calculations and make mechanical comparisons. It cannot make valued judgments. It is true that computers can fly through many problems almost instantaneously saving us days or even months of laborious figuring, yet the computer is only as good as the person who is programming it.
Experts have said that the brain can capture and store, recall and program more than 600 bits of information per second. In the course of a lifetime, this is an enormous total, billions and billions of facts and impressions. On the other hand, our latest computers can handle only a few million characters in their memory banks. A comparison between the human brain and a computer boils down to this. We can think, the machines cannot and that is a really significant difference.
Let's take a careful look at the brain. It has 4 basic powers:
1. The power to absorb: the ability to take in information and knowledge. We do this by looking, listening, touching, tasting, and smelling. By using all 5 of our senses and keeping the gateway to our mind always open.
2. The power of retention: the capacity to retain knowledge and recall it. Our brains are like endless rows of filing cabinets with relatively few packed file drawers full of all sorts of information. There is always much room for more.
3. The power of judgment: Of logical thought. The more facts we feed our brain, the more we can reason intelligently
4. The power of imagination: The ability to think creatively.
With the first 2 powers, we gather the raw material with which to think. With the second 2 powers, we evaluate old ideas and create new ones.
Put it another way, we have 4 switches in our minds. Turn on switch number 1 and we gather information. Switch number 2 is our retentive powers. We retain and recall the facts that come in through the first switch. Switch 3 turns on our judgment. When it is on all the way, we think logically. Switch 4 is for imagination. With most people, this is the one that collects the most rust.
When we were children, we used the imagination switch all the time. As we grow older, we are seldom encouraged to even use the imaginative power that we spent our childhood cultivating. Instead we are taught to conform, to take no chances, to play it safe, to follow the crowd. So switch 4 soon gets rusty and we find it difficult to turn it back on when we get older.
As we grew up, people had a way of making us feel uncomfortable when they saw us using imagination. When we came up with new ideas they were often greeted with sneers or sarcastic comments and laughter. Sometimes we use these tactics on others, but we also use them on ourselves. We actually kill our own ideas before they are given a chance to prove themselves one way or the other.
The reason why I decided to write this is to inspire all of you on your journey. I think sometimes we minimize what we have to offer and automatically default to let the computer handle it.
In the game of roulette, a computer can give you mathematical probabilities and statistics, but it cannot give you all of the other variables that go along with the game. It cannot tell you if you are drunk, tired, hungry. It cannot tell when the dealers change every half hour, what each dealer's tendency is and the speed of the ball each spin. It cannot pick out biased wheels, although it is a rare occurrence, it still can happen and figure into the total outcome.
Have some confidence in yourselves as players. You all have what it takes to be successful! Go out there and do it!