Mind colonization

What is a thought

I'm not going to give an exact definition what a thought is, since people happen to have problems defining the simplest of objects. Thoughts are simply the things filling your mind, the building blocks of the process of data processing. Some of them happen consciously and many are in the subconscious level of your brain.

What most people aren't aware of is thoughts are not something they just create and own. Thoughts are shared and formed collectively. If you can drive a car, you know how to turn the wheel and what pedal to press when you want to stop. These are all thoughts that aren't yours, you were taught them. We learn many things during our lives in some ways or are just told a lot of other things. Surely, the thoughts are adapted every time they are transfered or even used in ones brain, they are living thing and change. I'm not stating that they are completely foreign to your brain and you did not commit to them at all, of course. But most of them come from outside of the brain somehow. Brain is just the processing power, kind of hardware and thoughts are something like software and data (it is not so easily distinguished what is what).

There's a name for this. It's called noosphere. It's the space where all thoughts live and combine. It's the treasure of knowledge all around us, from little things to science. Of course, the thoughts need a medium to live on.

The basic medium is, of course, a brain. The thoughts live there and are preserved by sharing and copying them between brains. But the capacity of human brain is limited. There's no real hard limit we can find, we can't say that a brain can carry so many millions of thoughts, but if you try to remember too much or think too much about something, you're going to start forgetting and be tired and stuff like that.

Another medium is speech. That is a medium that doesn't preserve the thought for a long, but is used to transfer it.

So people started to put thoughts onto other media. They started to draw on walls of caves, and write things down later on. These media preserve the thoughts and allow sharing in some form. The sharing is less precise than speech (even more if the speech is not only by voice, but by gestures). But they extend the available space of noosphere by a lot.

However, these media only carry the thoughts in dormant state. The thoughts in brain are active, they keep creating more new thoughts (most of them get forgotten soon after, but still, they are active and some are preserved).

Computers and other thinking machines

People are creating machines for a long time already. But the machines were traditionally for doing some work in the physical world, like moving objects around, assembling or dissassembling objects, etc. Lately, people started to create machines that do some work in the noosphere, computers.

Now, while you can easily say that a train is stronger than human, you can't say that a computer is more intelligent than human. That would be absurd, wouldn't it? But you can't say that humans are superior to computers either. Try multiplying 182349 * 26384950. Of course you can do it, if you visited a school. But computer can do it much faster and has much smaller chance on getting it wrong.

So we could say both people and computers think in a way, as they are creating new entities in noosphere ‒ new data or new thoughts. But they do it in a completely different way. Computers are really fast and exact. But they don't know how to improvise. They don't see „obvious nonsense“ (well, some people don't either, look at some laws).

Surely, you could write a computer program that would talk like human and there are many attempts in that directions. But that's not natural for the computer to behave like that. It is simulating the appearance of human intelligence by performing large amounts of other operations it knows well. Thats the same as you multiplying the large numbers. You can do it, but you'll never be better in it than a computer and it feels unnatural.

Teaching and programming

These are two words for very similar process. It means knowingly sharing some thoughts to improve the abilities of recipient. They only differ in the kind of recipient, if it is a human being (or any living being, you can teach a dog to do something) or a machine.

Every teacher was taught as young something. So he knows how teaching works and can imagine the human recipient. He also can guess how the transfer of thought might get wrong while teaching.

That is true of a programmer as well. But, unfortunately, to the letter. A programmer was taught as young and can imagine the human recipient.

Now imagine you „teach“ someone how to get to a specific point. You show him the direction and describe how it looks there. If there's a turn, the one will just guess and probably will get there. You can imagine how you would go there if you were the other person.

Now, do this with a computer. It will get somewhere and guess… crap, computers don't guess, right? So, you say, if I was a computer, I'd choose the path that is most in the right direction if there's a crossing. That is OK, because that is something the computer can compute (even if it wouldn't be trivial). However, did you notice it? In the mental thought, there are actually two simulations of the other kind. One is simulating a computer on your own brain. And another is simulating a human thought or process on that computer. And this was actually a simple example.


So, what do I mean by the colonization? Well, people influence each other like for ever. The one who can push his thoughts to more recipients has more respect, more control, more power and in a sense extends his own mind into the recipients (if you describe a problem to someone and he answers, gives you a solution, he acts as a proxy for you, performing some kind of thinking for your own mind).

But there's not enough space left in human brains. We constantly face the problem of people being less clever than we would need, like putting their cats into microwave ovens and doing bunch of other stupid things. Therefore, when the computers were invented, some of the people who realized the full power in them started to push their thoughts into them. They got more space in the noosphere, more proxies to answer their minds' problems.

Now, large part of humankind can use computers. Most of them aren't programmers and they don't understand the full power of extending their minds into the computers. They do colonize them in the same way, but in smaller amount. And as a humankind, this already brought a full basket of fruit. For example flight control is helped by computers a lot. We have bunch of alarms in our houses instead of dogs. Accounting, which was just large amount of pushing numbers around, is partly done by the computers. Not everything, but they help. Computers do a lot of modelling in science research. We colonized part of it, extended our minds.

However, most of the people colonizing it don't know they are doing it. That is another problem. People try to put their thoughts there verbatim. Than the computers must do something with them. But they don't understand them. It would be easier if every side went half way.

And there's the last problem. When you get a thought from someone else, you modify it, so it „connects“ well with the other thoughts in your mind. Computers don't do that. They preserve the thoughts as they are (unless they are told to transform them in some way). That means the thoughts inside don't connect to each other well. A computer might have only single user, but the programmers who wrote the software were many. Each of them pushing some of their thoughts inside, transforming them little bit closer for the computers to understand, but they needed to do another task ‒ compose them together.

Simply, most of the errors in computers are simple misunderstanding between programmers, users and computers. Even when all sides try their best (and I'm sure only about the computers), there would be some. So just get used to them. Humans err. Computers just simulate their errors, as they are thought ;-), but they are fast and good in it.