It’s easy to think of the mind as a computer, a topic upon which Fred Reed has rambled in his customary fashion. But even with the caveats, the proof that we are more than sophisticated Turing machines eludes our brightest superclusters.
We regularly reverse-engineer ourselves to create better computers. I’m just as interested in the opposite, which has given me an unhealthy fascination with the similarities between filesystems and grammar.
So what if I think of the near-infinitely complex, singular neural impulses individual memories (based on those squishy input devices) as files whose names are the words that can be used to call them. For a long time, the word “left” meant a specific picture of an intersection. “Right” went into town, and “left” went to my friend’s house. Over the years, I fostered an instinctive idea about “left” by calling up that picture in my mind. Left hand? That’s the hand on the same side as the “good” side in that mental picture.
That picture, and others like it, is the a priori idea. It is the basic filetype.
There are instinctual ideas that I haven’t internalized from external stimuli. These are the processing hardware created from genetic instructions that follow established routines unless you drop the baby on its head.
So now that I have nouns/ideas (the things of which we can conceive or summon a picture), logic (conjunctions), adjectives, adverbs, and a filesystem, what’s to stop me from creating an operating system that can understand English?
Money, obviously. I accept Visa and Paypal.