Feel the Creativity!

'Quantity becomes quality" in a limited domain activity like chess where there is a premium on a prodigious memory, quick recall and rapid elimination of alternatives. The process does not work when it is applied to an activity where "feel" is involved. Human awareness, as Locke pointed out, involves "feel". "Red" is a colour, not a mere word or name, because a sentient human being has a "feel" for the colour. For a person born blind, on the other hand, "red” will be merely a word or a name. In this sense, the machine is also blind. It knows the word "red" and would be able to place its finger on it and even reproduce it. But the "feel" of red would be beyond the scope of the machine.

And what Locke said about colour holds good for "feel" in other areas, when it is applied to computer. The computer can be given a stupendous vocabulary. It can serve as an excellent dictionary and thesaurus. But not even John Shannon would claim that it can ever be programmed to acknowledge, let alone appreciate, the mystic significance of words. Words will not reverberate in the mind of the machine. No program can feel the glory of the "magic casements opening on to the foam of perilous seas forlorn".

The computer has manifest proficiency in number crunching. It can be programmed to solve Fermat's last theorem but it will be a stranger to the "feel" for numbers of mathematicians like Gauss and Ramanujam. The hieratic effect which mathematics has had on the mind since the days of Euclid will be lost on the computer. And as Roger Penrose has argued, mathematical insight cannot be reduced to algorithms.

The computer can be a very efficient calendar. Its chronological sense is excellent as far as cardinal calibration of lime is concerned. But the computer can never be programmed to have man's "feel" for ordinal time, the awe which man feels at the thought of the ancient past or the distant future. The mystic grandeur of Tyndale's lines "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void" will be lost in the innards of the machine. For the computer it will be a flat historico-geological statement by a religiously inclined person. The emotive content of place names can never be registered by the machine. Though it will be an excellent atlas, it will not have a "feel" for places. Mention Byzantium or Jerusalem and the computer can reel off all the historical and geographical data on these places. The computer may have all their poems with detailed annotations in its ready memory, it is not conceivable that the computer can ever have the "human feel" for the "Byzantium" of Yeats or the "Jerusalem" of Blake.

The "feel" for words, for numbers, for places and for time which man carries with him, which is the prerequisite for creativity arises because man is gloriously subjective. The area of creativity demonstrates what thinker after thinker from Descartes to Eccles to Searle to Penrose have proclaimed—that human consciousness is of a different order to machine consciousness. Mysticism, fervor, imagination, insight, inspiration—all of them vital components of creativity cannot be instantiated by algorithms or by artificial intelligence. Creativity is exclusively the talent of the human mind.

Last Frontier of the Mind - Challenges of the Digital Age, Mohandas Moses, Chapter 15

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