The assumption is that our identity is valuable. How much of a struggle did we go through to attain it? Did we really recover something here that is truly unique? Well, perhaps not. As we look back on our development since childhood, we see that external influences were very involved in that. Repetition of environment and reward training form this development. As the child grows, they encounter newly established conflicts that test their direction and using the same reward and punishment structure, they make decisions based off of this. It is really up to them at this point whether they are going to pursue or restrict some of these approaches.
Currently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have joined Google for a project that will test algorithms using a Quantum Computer. This is part of a field of study in Artificial Intelligence (A.I) called machine learning. As Google put it, this is a project where the computer will be taught to make decisions using its unique processing power which will help to develop various applications and programs. This is a unique approach to this development and in theory, because of how the processor is able to multitask; this will allow NASA to improve its ability to search the solar system and other needs in regards to research.
How close is this to simulating the human brain? The random processing power is much closer than that of a standard computer but there is still a great distance from attaching reward and punishment to the development. There is still an emotional attachment to the process that is also very involved with how we develop that identity. These are all part of the process that makes the formed identity unique from the rest and in this way it is earned, a manipulated form of those outside influences that we copy.
Who knows what the software developed for this computer will be like. Perhaps it will mimic different personas to, and simulate in a way, the act of having its own identity. Imagine that vocal tones and algorithm will be different and unique every time. There is a tendency for one to experience some fear in just the simulation alone and those that do not understand it, will still present restrictions and in a way act out with disdain and confusion. This presents that threat of identity, that something so valued can potentially be taken away and adopted by something that did not earn it.
But these are concepts that some would say is more science fiction than fact. This statement is interesting because those who present it, if they are engaged at all in current society should quickly start losing wind before the statement is finished, in realizing that this is very much science fact, as they panic in deciding to delete their social networking accounts. A scene from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi comes to mind where a pilot in the rebel force who are about to attack the Death Star yells out, “it’s a TRAP!”
This places the idea of identity in a more present form, as this is research that will start during the 3rd quarter of this year. There is no doubt that with current advancing technologies, the subject of identity has been brought to the forefront and is more important in discussion now than ever before. Something that in theory can be guarded, is a much more defined reality in our current environment and should be put on the table to see if it is something that requires a serious pursuit or should simply be handed over to technology.