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Mind Essay

1307 words - 6 pages

Computers, like humans, in some essence have “minds.” However, when the “mind” of a computer is contrasted to that of a human’s, we see a big difference. A computer's function is to take in information (input), store data (storage), manipulate data (processing), and provide us with information (output). Just like a computer, a human’s mind also has those four distinct functions, but a human’s mind also has three completely different functions. The human mind is capable of thinking, feeling, and wanting. A computer, while it can do basic tasks, isn't able to experience those higher-level cognitive processes and emotions that humans are capable of, nor is a computer capable of having mental states like those of a human.
The mind enables consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment, and memory. Though a particular characteristic of humans, it can also apply to other life forms. In order for something to have a mind, it must be a living thing. Any living system is called an organism. Organisms must respond to stimuli. In order for the organism to respond to stimuli, certain specifications about the kind of stimuli must be met. A stimulus is a detectable change in the internal or external environment. The central nervous system is the part of the nervous system that integrates the information that it receives from, and coordinates the activity of all parts of the body. Although stimuli commonly cause the body to respond, it is the central nervous system that finally determines whether a signal causes a reaction or not. The central nervous system in humans is comparable to that of a computer’s motherboard. When triggered, the central nervous system of a human initiates a system of physical reactions, which interprets and communicates experiences, thoughts, feelings and movements to the rest of the body, through a network of organs, cells, and neurons. Just like the human CNS, the computer’s CNS also communicates experiences, thoughts, and feelings, but in a different way.
A computer’s mind, though very similar to a human’s mind, differs in that a human being (a programmer) controls the experiences, thoughts, and feelings that a computer has. Computer programmers write, test and maintain the detailed instructions, called computer programs that computers must follow to perform their functions. One may argue that an external force controls humans too. According to Burrhus Frederic "B. F." Skinner, a philosopher and an Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, human free will was an illusion and that any action was a result of the consequences to our previous actions. He believed in transient causation, where one event or state of affairs causes some other event or state of affairs. Based on his operant conditioning chamber experiment, he concluded that if the consequences were bad, there was a high chance that the action would not be repeated. However, if the consequences were good, the actions that lead to it would be reinforced....

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