Giddy? Talk to your arms about last night

The ScienceBlog Developing Intelligence enumerates ten reasons why the brain is different from a computer.

Insofar as artificial intelligence seeks an intelligence that is sentient and draws its inspiration from computing silica, I think the listed differences damage hopes for creating any sort of a mind in the box. When it comes to meaning, our wetware is only half the story, a point suggested in a couple of the listed differences, but in particular difference number ten, "brains have bodies:"

This is not as trivial as it might seem: it turns out that the brain takes surprising advantage of the fact that it has a body at its disposal.... A wide variety of evidence from other domains suggests that we are only beginning to understand the importance of embodiment in information processing.

Do we know more than we can tell? Like another reader who offered comments on the post, I might locate that point near the top of the list of differences, for if our bodies are necessary for organic computing to take place, then it's no stretch to believe that meaning might also be located beyond the brain.

Think of it this way. If you can't put your finger on exactly why you enjoyed that first date last night, or why your imagination is suddenly running ahead of your thoughts when you recall that particular someone, perhaps your arms - your hands - your legs are keeping secrets.


Wikipedia: semantic externalism