Quote of the Day (N. Katherine Hayles)

“the creator doesn’t always need to be as smart as his creatures” (N. Katherine Hayles, My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts (University of Chicago Press, 2005) p.196, referring to the ability of computer programs to come up with solutions to problems that had not occurred to the programs’ creators).

I found this quote interesting both because it has some relevance to intelligent design and other subjects that interest me. In the specific case that the author referred to, it is not obvious to me that the programs were “smarter” than their creator. At the very least, though, they were faster, and if we do create genuine artificial intelligence, it will have the potential to not simply outsmart us but to develop relatively quickly to the stage where we cannot even understand it. And some evolutionary programs have been given a task and come up with a solution that worked, but the creators of the program don’t seem to be able to offer an explanation of why the solution works.

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