Artificial Intelligence, A Vedanta Perspective
YOU THINK THEREFORE YOU ARE?
YOU ARE THEREFORE YOU THINK?
Cogito, ergo sum, or, “I think, therefore I am”, said the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes.
But Vedanta, the ancient Indian spiritual thought, has always maintained that “You ARE, therefore, you think”. That it is your consciousness that illumines thought and the mind essentially, belongs to the world of matter – the Panchakosha, or the five layers of your bodily existence ranging from the subtle, which is the manas, or mind and to the gross, which is the physical body. And it firmly tell us that the Soul stands apart from the mind, as a witness and the Illuminor of the world. It also says that the ultimate goal of the soul is to be liberated from its identification with the mind as well as the body.
Of course, western philosophy, so influenced by those such as Descartes have vigorously opposed this thought. And science has not quite inquired about what someone called “The Hard Problem of Consciousness.”
And then comes along AI. Fooling around with AI and specifically ChatGPT, I realized that it is actually doing what your mind is supposed to do. Which is to research, analyse, conclude and articulate a point of view!
AND, it is entirely created from matter. AI is like a robot brain, made up of physical parts that follow the laws of physics, using purely physical components and algorithms. Yet, it can do many of the things we thought only the human mind could do.
The fact that AI systems are made of matter and operate according to physical laws is compelling evidence that the mind is indeed a product of matter.
So, what does all this mean? Well, for starters, we can study it like any other part of the body, with science and technology leading the way. And as Vedanta philosophy says, the mind is just another part of the physical world, like the air we breathe and the ground we walk on. So, the next time you see an AI robot, give it a high-five and thank it for helping us understand our own minds a little better. And remember, whether you’re a human or an AI, we’re all made up of the same stuff, and that’s a pretty cool connection to ponder.
But jokes apart, it sure builds a case for what Adi Shankaracharya says, “mano buddhi ahankara chittani naaham, na cha shrotravjihve na cha ghraana netre, na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vaayuhu, chidananda rupah shivo’ham shivo’ham “
I am not the mind, the intellect, the ego or the memory, I am not the five senses, I am not space, not earth, not fire, water or wind, I am the form of consciousness and bliss, I am the eternal Shiva…
Oh! And the illustration is, of course, made using AI!
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