The internal processes of the mind have been linked with computing for decades and this article provides a unique look at this hard to ignore correlation. There are similarities that can not be ignored to the technical individual such as how short term and long term memory are internally structured in relation to how modern computer systems and software utilize components such as Random Access Memory (RAM) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD).
When I was in high school I signed up for the one and only computer programming class offered, Intro to C++ Programming. While I already had a solid understanding of C and C++ at that point, one thing that stuck with me was a quote from the teacher, Mr. Wright. He opened the class by describing direct correlations between a computer as a whole and the human body. He asserted that a computer CPU (processor) was the equivalent of the human brain as it processes data and crunches numbers. He went on to compare a human nervous system to a motherboard because of its function as a component interconnect and that RAM and Hard Drives were functionally similar to how the mind uses short and long term memory.
This had me in deep thought for days as I had conjured questions in response to this new perspective on computers. Distilling the thoughts brought me to really two interlinked questions: Did humans design computers in our image or are our similarities to technology because of our own design origins?
I’m not saying advanced robots (or even advanced humans) designed us or that we’re all part of the Matrix (at least, the back of my neck doesn’t feel… hole-y). I’m not even trying to drag religion or creationism into it. I’m more referring to how we perceive and design technology in that our view of how technology works is more insight into how a human body works and that maybe the building blocks that make up our own bodies are fundamentally similar to the building blocks used to design integrated circuits.
Consider the advances we’ve made towards a possible full-circle design if, in fact, our own design is based on what we consider computer design. There have been recent leaps in the field of DNA Computing (2013 – DNA stores poems, a photo and speech) and Neural Networks. These technologies seem to be “bridging the gap” between human and computer processes. It’s hard to ignore the similarities and, because we don’t know exactly where we came from, leaves a lot of questions unanswered about why our own design is so easily mapped to modern computing systems. While a lot of people ask “who created us?”, I’d like to ask a slightly different question. “Why were we designed this way?” Who or what process dictated that this was an effective and sustainable model for a being? If it was something along the lines of evolution, why was this design introduced along the evolutionary path? What factors would have dictated a natural need to adopt this particular structure with these particular mental attributes? These questions circle back to the earlier question of, “Did humans design computers in our image or are our similarities to technology because of our own design origins”?
There are so many questions that need answering. I would personally love to see a relationship between common computer storage file systems (the structure of stored data) and human memory organization. Eventually we will reach a point where we can more effectively store and retrieve human memories which will, most likely, cause quite a stir. Maybe one day we will become like Johnny Mnemonic and our minds will become a vessel for large data transport; who knows?