Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Computers are in the image of People

I have been immersed in computing and communications throughout my career.

As perhaps therefore somewhat of a “professional” in computing, I am very interested, as a layman in biology, in comparing and contrasting the parts and functions of a computer with the workings of the head, heart, hands, and memory, etc.. of the human body.

Scientists now know that our brain and mind contains a minute map of our body. In much the same way, the software of a computer (specifically its Operating System) contains a detailed map of the computer.

Very recently, our neuroscientists have solved the problem of why amputees can often still feel their amputated limb, or what ever it is, that has been amputated.

The reason is amazingly simple. The amputee loses his limb, or what not; but the representation of it is still in his brain. It is not removed by the amputation. Wires in the brain get crossed. A man scratches his chin and he believes he is scratching his amputated arm or leg.

Vital connections between computers and people are perhaps not surprising. Computers were invented by people. Subconsciously we have designed computers in our own image. There is much to be gained by our realising this.

The extremely important point to note in this case is that anyone in computing would have known about the representation of the limb. In the computer, they would have removed it. The doctors doing the operation however didn’t know this and didn’t remove it from the brain or, at least, they didn’t know how!

Very many such connections between computers and people are described in a book which I have written called,

A Philosophy of Information

(Information is the Power that Drives and Controls Us All)

My book is accessible entirely free on my personal Website;

More background to the book is given on my Publisher’s Website:

Some mention of the amputation problem and also of “referred pain after tooth extraction is made under the “Key to Reality” on page 5. Mention of people who sometimes cannot recognise parts of their own bodies (from Jay Ingram) which I labelled “Memory neglect” is also given on page 252 in Chapter 10, Information and States of Mind.

If anyone is interested in discussing with me any of the above topics, or indeed any of the many other issues raised in my book, - and, not least, how vulnerable are we in Information Age - I would love to engage with you.

Yours sincerely,