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Computer Prof: You Are Not Computable and Here’s Why Not

In a new book, Baylor University’s Robert J. Marks punctures myths about the superhuman AI that some claim will soon replace us

In a just-released book, Walter Bradley Center director Robert J. Marks II explains, as a computer engineering professor at Baylor University, why humans are unique and why artificial intelligence cannot replicate us:

”Emotions that make us human will never be duplicated by a machine,” says Marks. “These include compassion, love, empathy, elation, sadness, fear, anger, disgust, pleasure, pride, excitement, embarrassment, regret, jealousy, grief, hope, and faith. Properly defined, creativity, sentience, and understanding are also on the list. These and other non-algorithmic traits are evidence of non-computable you.”

Discovery Institute, “Are Future Humans Doomed To Be Replaced By Artificial Intelligence?” at PR NewsWire (June 21, 2022)

Non-Computable You: What You Do That Artificial Intelligence Never Will (Discovery Institute Press, 2022) is a natural for Dr. Marks, who has been reflecting on and discussing these issues for many years. As he told the Center’s Dallas launch in 2019,

“Now, in computer science, one of the first things you are taught is that some things are non-algorithmic. The classic one is the Turing halting problem. You can’t write a computer program that can analyze another arbitrary computer program to see whether that program will run forever or stop. It is a very simple, proven operation that is non-analytic; you cannot write code for that.”

But then he asked, “Are there things about human beings that you cannot write code for? Non-computable things people can do? And the answer, I would say, is yes. And I think the most interesting and the most testable is creativity.”

News, “Are there things about human beings that you cannot write code for?” at Mind Matters News (April 9, 2019)

Later, discussing why human creativity is not computable with mathematician Gregory Chaitin, Dr. Marks noted a paradox involving computers and human creativity: Once any concept is reduced to a formula a computer can use, it is not creative any more, by definition, which is a hard limit on what computers can do. Or, as he told World Radio listeners, programmers cannot write programs that are more creative than they themselves are.

The book may be ordered here.

Robert J. Marks

Robert J. Marks, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University. He serves as the director of Discovery Institute’s Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence and hosts the Center’s Mind Matters podcast. Marks is a Fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Optical Society of America. He was Charter President of the IEEE Neural Networks Council and served as Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks. He is coauthor of the books Neural Smithing: Supervised Learning in Feedforward Artificial Neural Networks (MIT Press) and Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics (World Scientific).


Here’s a podcast with Dr. Marks on “Why AI Won’t Destroy the World, or Save It” (January 19, 2022)

You may also wish to read: Why you are not — and cannot be — computable. A computer science prof explains in a new book that computer intelligence does not hold a candle to human intelligence. In this excerpt from his forthcoming book, Non-Computable You, Robert J. Marks shows why most human experience is not even computable.


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Computer Prof: You Are Not Computable and Here’s Why Not