Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Why is my computer crying ?


There are many languages in the world. By and far, the most common language that we all humans understand is the language of emotions. There are about 6000 different kinds of emotions of which we predominantly feel only 12 of them on a day to day basis. The body is the caricature of these emotions. For example, when we keep our arms wide and open we are probably feeling peace and acceptance. When we cross our legs or arms we are probably in a defensive mode. These emotions which are  by product of thought keep chugging us along. For example, we may have a thought of a hurtful scenario in our life and we see anger welling up. Or we may remember that last trip to the beach with family, and we may experience happiness. In short, it’s what we think that makes us. Did you know that on an average day, we have more than 12,000 thoughts ? We have no idea from where these thoughts arise, yet we can control them. By relaxation techniques like Yoga and Meditation. Also we can obliterate a thought by focussing consciousness on it (by being aware) or simply shifting the mind to another thought.

Computers also have many ways in which the bi-directional communication with humans happen. Although these denizens only understand machine languages, we have built abstractions called programming languages to converse with them. Every programming language has it’s own plethora of protocols, but clearly they do 3 simple things:

  • Something is received by the computer (Input)
  • Something is processed by the computer (Processing)
  • Something is sent out by the computer (Output)

All the programming languages make the computer do the above 3 things in many different ways. For example, in Assembly Language, to add 2 values (processing) we may write code like this :

ADD AX, BX (where AX and BX are registers)

In ‘C’ language to output some values, we may write something like this

printf(“%d”, variable) (where %d is called a format specifier and variable is the output value)

In Java language to obtain the input from a user we may write:

Scanner a = new Scanner ( (where Scanner is a Class and ‘a’ is an instantiation of the same, new is creating the object ‘a’ and is the input – most likely keyboard)

If you look at all of the above, one thing is clear. These instructions, make the computer do something. These instructions are similar to our thoughts. And the outcome is what we see (such as in input and output) or don’t see (such as in processing) in the computer. The emotions are missing. But wait a minute, can you see the emotions embedded within the language itself ?

The overall state of a computer changes by these three kind of instructions. After all what is an emotion, but that which changes our state of being. From being sad to happy, is like getting an input from the user and then modifying some memory or printing something on the display. We really can’t say that a computer experiences happiness. In our terms. But it does, in it’s own way.

Our emotions are dual in nature. For every single emotion, there is an opposite. For the computer this is input and output. By varying what we input and output to a computer, we can have a range of different patterns (states) for it to experience. The processing (concentration) is that part which assists I / O (Input / Output). Basically, an input or an output is just the things for which a machine is existing. An emotion like awe which we feel when we look at the sea or the sunset, is just a pattern inside our human brain. Or is it ? If it is just felt by Consciousness, we are running out of luck. Because, then we will not be able to trace a pattern for the computer to emulate.

If everything that we feel is a pattern in our brain (which I’m not sure it is) then the computer will be able to replicate it. Which means in the near future we will have computers that say ‘Wow’ looking at sunset or the magnificence of the sea.

But if this is not the case, if feelings are a subset of our consciousness, then we will have to wait. The reason I’m saying this is because, consciousness is infinite and there is no matrix in which it can be studied logically.

There is one more state besides the 3 states mentioned above. And that is when your machine is not doing anything. It’s idle. In computer parlance it’s a NOP (No Operation) This could be the state when the consciousness of the Computer is communicating with the Divine.

All of this will be clear, once we grasp the way Consciousness works. There is just one problem. It works in Silence.

To the future,


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