Wednesday, 17 May 2017
When I overhear a conversation in English, perhaps three processes occur with at least apparent simultaneity:
(i) my ears detect sounds;
(ii) my brain processes data;
(iii) I understand the spoken words.
I know that (ii) can occur without (iii) because I had a dream caused by a ringing telephone.
When I overhear a conversation in Russian or Chinese:
some parts of (ii) can occur, e.g., I might recognize the language or remember some of the sounds;
(iii) cannot happen.
A microphone can do (i). A computer program can analyze sounds, speech patterns and linguistic structures but cannot generate semiconscious dreams or conscious perceptions. Thus, the kind of data-processing in (ii) requires an organic brain capable of consciousness and intelligence. (iii) requires actual consciousness and intelligence.
His brain (i) detects and (ii) processes radiation from other nearby brains. Probably a sufficiently sensitive scientific instrument would be able to detect and process cerebral radiations but would not thereby become conscious - unless, of course, the instrument were also an AI that duplicated all of Aycharaych's brain functions. Aycharaych also (iii) immediately understands the thoughts that are associated with the radiations that he has detected. That sounds like the equivalent of me instantly understanding any language even if I had never learned it or even heard it before. Surely impossible?