Beloved Master, some scientists are concerned that man will some day relinquish his intellectual supremacy to computers – monster artificial super-brains with an intellectual power far beyond anything we can now comprehend.
Another fear is that through genetic engineering, man will be capable of growing artificial intelligence to order. Or there could be a combination of both, where super-grown organic brains can “plug in” to a super-computer; or computer super-chips can be implanted into brains.
Would such super-computers or super-brains be capable of taking man on a quantum leap, cutting our deadly connections with the past, or would they too be unable to escape man’s idiotic conditionings?
Anando, the question may not appear very serious, but it is one of the most serious questions possible. The first thing to remember is that it is going to happen. There is no possibility to avoid it; neither is there any need to avoid it. Perhaps I am the only one in the world who is in absolute support of mechanical brains taking over the work of human intelligence. The reasons are very clear, why I am in support of such a strange thing.
First, what we call human mind is itself a bio-computer. Just because you are born with it does not make much difference. A better computer can be implanted in your mind – far more efficient, far more intelligent, far more comprehensive.
There are always people who are afraid of every new thing. Every new thing has been opposed by religions, by churches vehemently, because every new thing changes the whole structure of human life. For example, the computer can change all the stupidity that man has shown through the whole of history. I don’t think that computers will like to create war, or computers will exploit people, or computers will discriminate between black and white, between man and woman.
Moreover, you are always the master, not the computer. You can always change the program of the computer. The computer is simply a tremendous instrument, which gives you immense possibilities that are not available to you biologically. You can do things which man has never dreamt of. The computer can be a thousand times more superior than Albert Einstein. Naturally the computer can produce a science far more fundamental, far more real, not changing every day because new discoveries go on happening and the old discovery becomes out of date. The computer can reach the very centre of reality.
It can reveal to you whatever you want.
It is an instrument in your hands.
It is not a danger.
And because it will be doing all the intelligent, intellectual, mental work, nobody has seen the possibility which I am telling you, that you are left very simply to relax into meditation. The computer can be put to the side. The computer can do all the thinking; you need not go on continuously chattering unnecessarily. And the computer is not Christian, is not Hindu, is not Mohammedan. It is simply a mechanical device created by human consciousness. And in return it can help human consciousness to reach to its highest potential.
But every new thing will be opposed, because every new thing will make old things out of date. Old factories will close, old industries will close. There are many inventions which are never marketed in the world because the people whose business will be affected by them purchase their patents. And the scientist has not the money to make his own conception into a reality.
Now there are… for example, in Japan a few scientists have discovered that railway trains need not go at sixty miles per hour. They can go at four hundred miles per hour. And what is significant is, if they go at four hundred miles per hour, just the speed alone will take them up one foot above the rails. But it is dangerous to all the owners of old railways, small stations – they can’t stop. And particularly in Japan they can have only the beginning station and the ending station – it is a small land…
But they will not have accidents the way accidents happen today. They will never be late. They may even be ahead of time. And people sitting in them will never feel any bumps. In fact, railway lines will not be needed. The train has to run on rails only for a few miles, to take off, just like an airplane. And then there is no problem; it can move anywhere. It can go according to the whim of the driver, and it can take thousands of passengers.
But it is not being marketed. No country is interested in the invention, because so much money is involved in the old railway trains, old railway stations. If these new trains are accepted, that whole business will go bankrupt.
It is just an example. There are at least a thousand inventions which can help humanity to be more comfortable, to be more joyous, to have better clothes, better food. But they will not ever come to light, because there are people who are going to be ruined if those new things come onto the market. And new things are… naturally, they create fear. Now, for the first time sitting in a train which is going to take off, do you think you will not be afraid?
[…] But people are afraid because they cannot conceive a certain possibility in which people don’t suffer. Anando’s question is that these computers are going to take the place of intelligence. They will be far superior in intelligence. But remember one thing: those computers, far superior in intelligence, are in your hands. You are not in their hands, so there is no problem.
Up to now you have lived according to memory, which is an unnecessary burden, carrying it in your head. Twenty-five years of teaching in the schools, colleges, universities; Ph.D.’s, D.Litt.’s… What are you doing? You are creating a computer, but with an old, out-of-date method – forcing small children to memorize. There is no need. The computer can do everything, just the computer has to be given information.
You can buy a computer which knows everything about medical science. You need not go to a medical college; you simply ask the computer and immediately the answer is there. Your memory is not so reliable. And the computer can always be fed with new memory, because new discoveries are being made every day. The computer can be plugged into the main computer of the university, so without your even bothering, every new discovery concerning your subject is immediately fed into your computer. It waits there, you enquire, and the computer tells you.
You can have a multidimensional computer which has all kinds of memory, or a one-dimensional computer which has only history – the whole history of mankind. Now, you cannot have the whole history of mankind. Do you know on what date Socrates was married to Xanthippe? The computer can tell you immediately. That unfortunate date… I have always suspected that Socrates accepted the poison so easily because of his wife, because life was so torturous – death cannot be worse than that.
How much can you memorize? Your memory has a limitation. But the computer can memorize almost unlimitedly. And there are many more possibilities: one computer can join together with another computer and manage to figure out new inventions, new medicines, new ways of health, new ways of living. Computers should not be taken as monsters.
Anando, it is a great blessing. And what man’s intellect has done is very small. Once the computer takes over, so much can be done that there will be no need for anybody to be hungry, no need for anybody to be poor; no need for anybody to be a thief, no need for anybody to be a judge, because these all belong to the same profession – judges and thieves, criminals and law makers. There is no need for anybody to be poor and no need for anybody to be rich. Everybody can be affluent.
But perhaps no government will allow this to happen. No religion will allow this to happen, because it will go against their scriptures, it will go against their doctrines. Hindus believe that you have to suffer because in your past life you committed evil acts. Nobody knows about past lives. They cannot accept an invention which can remove misery, poverty, sickness, because then what will happen to the theory of reincarnation, and rewards and punishments of good and bad deeds? The whole doctrine of Hinduism will be simply meaningless.
If the computer can make your life as long as you want, if a computer can manage for you always to be young – no need for old age unless you want – then who cares about… So many people will be affected. The medical profession will be affected, pharmacies will be affected, people who are living on your sickness will be affected.
A young man came from the university with the degree of M.D. His old father was waiting for him, because he was tired, working his whole life. Three of his sons were studying at medical college – if at least one comes back, he can take his place and support the other two. And the young man immediately said, “You need not be worried. You rest and relax, I will take care.”
And the third day he approached his father and said, “Dad, the woman you have been treating for thirty years I have cured.”
The father said, “You idiot! That is the woman who has paid for your education and was paying for your two other brothers. I was keeping her in this condition. She was so rich she could afford to be sick. She was not poor.”
To be rich and to be sick is very dangerous. To be poor and to be sick is not very dangerous. You will be cured very soon, because you cannot pay much. On the contrary, you may ask the doctor, “What about the medicine, what about the food you have prescribed? I don’t have any money.” The doctor will think, “It is better to cure him and get rid of him.” But when a rich man is sick, then it becomes professionally a very strange dilemma in the mind of the physician: to cure him or to have him linger on – because the more he lingers on, the more money you get. If you cure him, you don’t get that money.
But if computers can manage, then many professions will be affected. And these will be the professions that prevent it; they will make a thousand and one excuses: God never created a computer, computers are dangerous because they will take all intelligence away from you. What are you doing with your intelligence? – being miserable, being jealous? At least computers will not be jealous and will not be miserable. What are you doing with your intelligence? Destructiveness, all kinds of wars, all kinds of violence.
Computers can give you a complete holiday for your whole life. You can relax. You will have to learn how to relax, because you have all become workaholics. For thousands of years, work, work, work hard! Computers will go against your whole conditioning about work. Laziness will become for the first time a spiritual quality: Blessed are the laziest, for theirs is the kingdom of this planet. And in their laziness, if they want, they can make beautiful gardens. It is just out of joy, for no purpose. They can paint, not to sell, but just to rejoice in the colours, the mixing of colours, the dance of colours. They can play music, not for any monetary reason, not as a business, but simply as a playful joy.
What man has dreamt of in paradise, life can really become here on this planet. There is no need to go that far. And nobody knows the way and nobody has ever gone there. And those who have gone have not even dropped a card: “We have arrived!” Such miserly people – just a Christmas card… But paradise has to be created; there is no paradise in existence. It has to come out of man’s awareness, consciousness.
The computer is also part of man’s creativity. There is no need to become a competitor; you are the master. And for the first time the computer and you are separate. That’s what all the teachings of the mystics have been telling you, that your mind and you are separate. But it is difficult because the mind is inside your head and your consciousness is so close to it, so thousands of mystics have been teaching, but nobody listens. The distance is not very much. But with computers, the distance will be very clear; there will be no need for any mystic to tell you.
Everybody has his own computer in his pocket and knows that it is separate. And one is free from thinking – the computer is doing it. You want to think something, tell the computer. If your old habit of chattering arises tell the computer, “Chatter,” and it will chatter. But you can be for the first time what the buddhas have been saying: just aware, silent, peaceful, a pool of consciousness.
A computer cannot be aware. A computer can be intellectual, a computer can be knowledgeable; a computer can be so knowledgeable that it can contain all the information of all the libraries in the whole world – a single computer that you can keep in your pocket.
It will relieve millions of people from memorizing unnecessary things. It will keep millions of people from teaching and torturing students. Examinations and all kinds of stupid things will disappear. The computer can be one of the greatest phenomena that has ever happened.
Anando, it can become the quantum leap. It can break away from the past and all conditionings of the past.
Osho, Hari Om Tat Sat, Ch 24, Q 1