The WIZ Mind

Computer Scientists have long been seeking to create an "artificial intelligence". They have the idea that human consciousness is an emergent1 property of the complex connection of neurons in the brain, and that a computer too can eventually become "conscious".

Their problem is, they don't actually know what consciousness is! In particular, they confuse intelligence with consciousness, or mind with spirit.

I believe that consciousness is something entirely different from intelligence. Machines can be intelligent. A machine can be "aware" of its environment. A windshied wiper that automatically comes on when it senses that it is raining is "aware" and "intelligent".

But it cannot be "aware that it is aware", that is, "conscious". I believe that consciousness is something completely outside of mechanics.

In 1950, L. Ron Hubbard published the landmark book Dianetics, the Modern Science of Mental Health. In it Mr. Hubbard described the mind clearly for the first time. And in the Axioms of Dianetics he wrote:
"The mind perceives and stores all data of the environment... The process of thought is the perception of the present and the comparison of it to the perceptions and conclusions of the past in order to direct action in the immediate or distant future."2
There are schools of thought that consider man to be a dual of mind and body. Mr. Hubbard showed that man is actually a trio of mind, body, and spirit. He says of the mind that:
"The mind is a communication and control system between the [spirit] and his environment."
Mr. Hubbard discovered that the spirit is separate from the mind. It is the "life force", it is "consciousness", and it is something independent of the matter, energy, space and time of our physics. According to Mr. Hubbard, you don't have a spirit, you are a spirit, and you, a spirit, have and use a mind and a body.

A complex connection of neurons, or an electronic computer, or many other kinds of mechanical devices, can indeed be very "intelligent". A computer can be "aware" to the degree that it can sense its environment, and "intelligent" to the degree that it can compare its sensory data to data from past environments and direct action accordingly in the immediate or distant future. This ability is what we call "Mind".

But a computer can never be "aware of being aware", or have what we generally call "Consciousness". Consciousness is a property of spirit only, that is, of life.

Thus, it is possible for a computer to be a mind. In fact, the human mind is nothing but a computer. We must distinguish clearly between mind and spirit. A computer mind cannot be "aware" of its own computations. Only a living being, a spirit, can be aware of its creations.

By failing to realize this, Computer Science, in the field of Artificial Intelligence, fails: it tries to accomplish too much! It can (and will!) accomplish mind. It won't accomplish spirit. Again quoting Mr. Hubbard:
"In the matter of such a thing as an automatic switch, we might consider that the switch is capable of making a decision whether to be off or on. However, we must remember that the original decision that a switch was to be made, and that "off" and "on" could be accomplished and, indeed, the design of the switch itself depended entirely upon life quality."

"Where mechanics have ability, the ability is only apparent and has been endowed into the mechanics by life. It is all right to suppose that an electronic brain (computer) is capable of thought as long as one realizes that life itself must necessarily be present in order to give cause and quality, or direction, to such a brain. An electronic brain will sit all day and do nothing unless life starts the machine running. It will give millions of answers, but none of these, no matter how sharp, have any meaning until they are viewed by life. The machine is never anything more than a servomechanism to life. Indeed, a machine cannot even exist in the absence of life."3
Thus, while a computer can never have "consciousness", it can still be very intelligent, and therefore very useful. It can use "the perception of the present and the comparison of it to the perceptions and conclusions of the past in order to direct action in the immediate or distant future."2  And it can be a "communication and control system" between its environment and a human.

Mr. Hubbard published a great deal of data on the mechanics of the mind. It is my intention to use this data as the design for a new type of computer which will compute in much the same way.

I envision such computers being installed as a Mind in all the day-to-day objects we interact with, anything that is mechanical or electrical, anything that moves, any tool, any thing, so that it will become an intelligent thing -- a servomechanism to life.

Steven Swift, 2009
1. "Emergent" is a specialized word here which refers to a specific type of "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" phenomenon. Emergence in this definition is when a complex behavior results from -- emerges from -- the combination of a very large number of simple and identical parts, especially when it is a surprising, unpredicted and complex behavior. For example, a number of very amazing behaviors of ant colonies emerge from the interactions of the simple behaviors of individual ants. Each ant does only a few simple things, but as a large group, unexpectedly complex behaviors can emerge. Likewise, brain cells, when looked at individually, seem to have a very simple function, and some scientists believe that "consciousness" emerges from the combination of billions and billions of them. Thus they believe that if they could build an artificial brain cell, and put billions of them together, "consciousness" would suddenly occur, ie, emerge.
2.  From the Axioms of Dianetics, number 64 and 65.
3.  From Dianetics 55, Chapter 2: The Fundamentals Of Life.