Beyond the Information Age discusses a new way of thinking about computers, knowledge and understanding. See the editorial for more information....

Documenting Life

In this chapter we want to make the Intelligent-System an issue that deserves your attention. To make the transition to a new age, this issue needs people like you thinking about intelligent-systems on a day-to-day basis. The more energy in the form of understanding this issue can attract, the faster we can get away from our old ways and on to the new age.

One of the major problems with intelligent-systems is that we have no effective way of documenting what they are made of or how they work. As previously stated, an intelligent-system is a system of both knowledge and understanding. Today we have developed elaborate information systems but information is a poor representation of true knowledge. Our information based society, combined with English and other languages, with multiple definitions for many words, makes for a very poor quality conversion to true knowledge by the average person.

If we look back in human history the development of writing was a major milestone. Writing allowed people to store knowledge outside their respective brains as information in type MT data that doesn't change with time (coded in mass carried in time). This effectively expanded the memory capacity of human society. Today the amount of information stored in books, tapes, and computer disks is unimaginably huge and growing at an almost exponential rate.

The next big milestone in human history was the development of the computer which for the first time allowed understanding to be stored and operated outside a human body. Computers; as fully functional understanding engines directed by procedural knowledge, solve problems, and drive robotic machines to manufacture everything from TV sets to automobiles. Today there are billions of tasks being performed by computers that used to be performed by people themselves. This freed people to move from the Industrial Age to the Information Age where we are now.

The next major milestone in human history will be the understanding of life and what makes up true intelligent-systems. This understanding will tie the first two big milestones together and people will begin building systems of both knowledge and understanding. Systems like these will have an independent life of their own. Creating new life on this planet, life that uses electrical energy instead of food will make incredible changes in the way people live. These living intelligent-systems will take over the last bastion of dominance of the human brain and begin thinking on their own. Having computers thinking for us will free us from having to think for ourselves. Another great burden will be lifted from the human mind. Thinking computers will eliminate most of our need for government and lead us to an age where human kind is ruled by true knowledge alone.

Knowledge of the existence of independently thinking computers will be threatening to our present human society. If we look back, the first development of writing was probably threatening to the government at that time. Eventually fixed knowledge books like the Quran and the Bible took over control and began governing much of human thinking. People began to think alike under the direction of these standard documents.

Today we have recently watched as computers have taken over as automated understanding engines and threatened human society again. Computers have displaced millions of workers all over the globe and forced them to accept retraining and relocation. Intelligent-system thinking computers will also be a major threat to many in our society. But, alas you can't stop human progress.

If we look again back at early human history even before the invention of the writing affector we can see that humans began their rise to dominance with tool making. The shape of a tool like stone axe or a spear point is really just another way of storing knowledge outside the brain. A stone tool is a representation of knowledge in the form of SM data hand-crafted for a specific purpose. Handing the tool to another person communicates that knowledge in a way that makes it possible for others to duplicate the tool design. Copying of intellectual property started a long time ago. This tradition of tool making and copying continues today but in a much different way. The popular tools of today are software tools like databases, word-processors, games, and Internet browsers. These tools are easy to copy and distribute worldwide. When a new software tool is invented the race is on for others to copy it and learn from the inventor's new knowledge. The human thirst for knowledge is insatiable.

Last Update: 2006-Dec-23