The artificially intelligent human

The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe’s unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose. – Jacques Monod

With the help of a brain that possesses more neurons than any other species on earth, humans have broken free from the shackles of evolution and emerged into a new world; a world in which they are free to dream, to build and to destroy.

Whilst all other species remain chained to the ruthless and unforgiving mechanics of natural selection; humans today operate with seemingly no limits in their potential. This fact alone leads us to believe in some human ‘speciality’; that we are somehow unique beings; blessed with a conscience that operates freely from the constraints and mechanics of science. But is this really so? Do we really fundamentally differ from animals, or even computers? And along with this question are others, more pertinent to life as we experience it:

I believe that many of these questions can be explained by the theory of human artificial intelligence; which is explained next.


Man is but an intelligent learning-machine.

The theory of human artificial intelligence (HAI) is the supposition that, despite the vast differences in biological makeup, humans are not much different to computers and other animals in the way they learn and understand the world around them.

It arises from the fact that all decision-making systems, whether it be animals or smart computers, operate according to the same principles. They make decisions based on the data they have gathered from the environment, as well as what they have been innately programmed to do (via genes for animals, and preset configurations for computers). This is the basic construct of artificial intelligence (AI):

Decision = a function of(Data from environment + Innate characteristics)

Given the assumption that the human brain is of no exception to this rule (we have gathered no evidence to suggest otherwise), we are lead to hypothesise that humans are also artificially intelligent (in contrast to metaphysically intelligent, which would mean that one is able to make decisions free from the data one has gathered, or how one has been innately programmed).

This, if true, would have the following implications:

Given these implications, I believe that the evidence of  the artificially intelligent human is in great abundance in our observations of human behaviour and history. I will delve into specific examples later in this article.

Computer vs Human Intelligence 

A commonly expressed sentiment against the HAI theory is that current AI computers can be perceived to be simplistic and rudimentary compared to the human mind. This is simply constrained by the volume and richness of data we can collect, as well as the complexity of our machine learning algorithms. There is ample evidence that computers are gradually converging to replicate the capabilities of the human brain:

How do humans learn to identify birds? Would we be able to identify a bird without having seen countless birds through childhood, and having reaffirmed that the object we see to be a “bird” by what we read in children’s books, and what we are told by our parents and teachers?

Everything we learn in life follows the same machine-learning pattern, whether it be in naming objects we see, or forming an identity around who we are as individuals.

Emotions and Gut feeling

Another commonly expressed sentiment is that emotions are supposedly irrational, indeterministic and uniquely human.

It has been shown through countless studies that emotions are evolutionary chemicals in the brain that are triggered by certain events – e.g. getting threatened, attacked or becoming sexually stimulated. Any computer can be programmed to ‘experience’ emotions  in response to given stimuli, and to act accordingly to these emotions. It is our lack of a perfect model of the human brain and its intricacies (the difficulty of tracing back the release of emotional chemicals to their causes) that causes us to believe that emotions are incomprehensibly perplexing.

Similarly, gut feeling is simply a product of subconscious brain activity. When one is greeted with a seemingly familiar face but are unable to pinpoint why, one’s brain has patches of information and memory which it has been able to glean subconsciously, but the conscious part of the brain is unable to frame the full story of who this person is. I hold a strong suspicion that this is also the cause of the ‘Deja vu’ effect, as well the array of other feelings of intuition that we may experience in our lives.


The concept of the artificially intelligent human, though a largely empirical theory, is profoundly effective in explaining human history and behaviour. In these examples, I focus on three key areas; moral ignorance, cultural imitation and general human imagination and behaviour.


Culture shrouds morality; we are only as moral as we are taught to be.

Moral ignorance arises through the absorption of beliefs that are prevalent during a specific era of time. Because people in these eras do not have access to alternate data to inform them otherwise, they are helpless to accepting what they are able to glean from their surroundings. All to often, this information is dangerous or severely misplaced, a seen in the following examples.

I do not wish to suggest that any of these acts are to be condoned, but merely that – if you feed an artificially intelligent human with immoral values and emotionally charged rhetoric, which isn’t counterbalanced by an opposing and stronger force, then by logic, unless guided by one’s own innate humanity and intuition, he or she shall commit immoral acts.

In other words, if one is not instilled with morals as a child, or one does not hold an innate response to the suffering of other humans, then one cannot fashion the empathy required to stand against such barbarities. Thus, there seems no other viable explanation as to the moral ignorance witnessed in the examples above other than human artificial intelligence.

This leaves one wondering; what are beliefs that we hold today, as a result of ignorance and misinformation, that will be laughed upon by our descendents in a few centuries time?


Even today, we are a palpable reflection of the cultures to which we are exposed. As a consequence, what we consider to be normal social behaviour, and how our beliefs are shaped tends to vary significantly across communities, countries and cultures:

*this doesn’t suggest that Islam is unanimously a violent religion; there are many different interpretations of Islam; the majority of which are pro-peace and against suffering. I also don’t intend to infer that religion in itself is necessarily problematic. Considering we have no evidence to prove or disprove religion; atheism and theism are theoretically equal in their validity. 

**this does not suggest that such activities are not enjoyable – just that they are easily replaced by alternatives, depending on what the prevailing cultural traditions are.


In additional to cultural and moral imitation, human artificial intelligence is also demonstrated in our observed day to day psychological tendencies, as in the following examples.


It would do great injustice to the ingenious force of nature to suggest that we can fully replicate the capabilities of the human brain any time in the near future. Human biology is abundant with engineering wonders, whether they be the brain’s neural circuity or the incredibly fascinating proton micro-turbines which power our cells. But what is also apparent is that the fundamental way in which we learn and operate seems no different to computers and other animals; we are essentially an aggregate of all the data we have gathered to date, as well as the behaviours dictated by our genes.

If we were to place two generic machine-learning robots in opposite sides of the globe (e.g. USA and Japan), we would witness the same cultural differences embedded in these robots that we see in human beings. These generic learning machines would learn different accents, different values and will develop different opinions and traditions. No two robots, even dwelling in the same culture or country will be the same either, because the complexity and vastness of their environment and their daily micro-interactions will mean that they will gather vastly different data to each other. The Japanese robot’s worldview and opinions may change from its peers simply by befriending foreigners, being exposed to foreign television, or travelling outside of Japan.

It is but data that shapes our world view and perspectives, and this leaves us with a particularly interesting conundrum; who am I?

Who am I?

A man’s identity is one of an infinite number of parallels.

We have a tendency to invest egotistical ownership in our background and beliefs, notwithdstanding the fact that all of these characteristics are largely the consequence of the data we have collected. These investments in ego and identity are seen in everything ranging from patriotism (e.g. “I am proud of my country and heritage”) to more granular beliefs brought on by personal experiences (such as a particular taste in music or activity).

The conundrum that arises from this is that we do not choose our background and beliefs from all the possible options that exist in the world, but simply from the options presented to us from the data we collect.

If what differentiates us from the humans across the pond is simply a matter of data and little else, then there are an infinite number of parallel combinations of one’s background and beliefs, and how the question “who am I?” could be answered. As artificially intelligent humans, we are just as prone to being militants of war, waging a fanatical war amidst the arab springs, to being first-world citizens shouting and clutching our phones in the London Metal Exchange.

This leaves us with the open question; should we identify ourself by, or attribute any sense of self worth to, the limited data set that we have collected?

Other practical implications

The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book. – Samuel Johnson

Aside from the identity conundrum just discussed, there are other, more practical implications that arise from human artificial intelligence.

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