A bunch of things lately have really got me thinking about what human qualities can and cannot be digitized. (This is inbetween more mundane tasks like shopping for winter tires. I’ll bet Greek philosophers didn’t have to shop for winter tires right in the middle of theorizing. Geez.)
Here’s a list of things that cannot be digitized:
* Sensation. Many people have been working on this for decades — vision, voice reco, smell, tactile, taste — with slow progress. I do think this will eventually be cracked for many practical applications. But not all?
* Aesthetic appreciation, e.g. of art, music, sunset, poetry, that sound you hear in sea shells
* Dialog. Remember Eliza? I wonder what the state of the art is now. Not much better I’ll bet, because you need…
* Understanding of context. Surely there is a shorter word for this concept? Lack of contextual comprehension is the reason voice recognition is stuck at 95%.
* Consciousness. Although reading wikipedia’s definition, I think humans are losing ground to machines on some aspects of consciousness. [5 minutes pass....] Wow, it’s worth reading that definition and just spending a few minutes clicking the outbound links from it.
So we still have some high ground on the algorithms. But the list is disconcertingly short! And it isn’t normalized; “consciousness” seems like it subsumes so many other things. What have I missed? Help me make a better list, or point me to someone who already has.