5. The new frontier of education and science
1. The nature of synthetic intelligence
The unity of things lies beneath the surface; it depends on a balanced reaction between opposites.Heraclitus
The concept of synthetic intelligence originates in the synthetic logos of Heraclitus (sixth century BCE). According to the Ephesian philosopher, the synthetic logos is the underlying coherence and unity of things that escapes our perception. Physis loves to hide its complex unity of things (φὺσις κρὺπτεσθαι φιλεῖ) ⎯ its synthetic logos. Taken as a primitive principle, we formalize the synthetic unity of any two opposite things A, B as follows:
- A = B,
where the sign of equality = denotes unity, coherence, simultaneity and the copula is.
The multiplicity of things, which are simultaneously one thing, constitutes a complex whole or universe U , which we define as U = (A = B) or U = AB. Universe or a whole, then, is a multiplicity whose distinctparts A, B are united or conjoined without losing their distinction and individuality. The parts of the united multiplicity are therefore both different and united, such as:
2. U = (A = B) = (A ≠ B)(A = B),
where the sign of difference ≠ denotes opposition.
The above formula equally stipulates that different (opposite) parts A, B occupying different (opposite) positions in space exist simultaneously by virtue of being united. We call this coexistence. The common space of coexisting parts is ruled by the synthetic principle of equivalence, whose primitive form is the synthetic unity of opposites Heraclitus called synthetic logos. We consider synthetic logos both to be the founding principle of Nature qua Universe and the intellectual faculty for apprehending Nature’s synthetic unity of opposites. As an intellectual faculty, we assimilate synthetic logos with the divine nous (νοῦς), intelligence or mind, which is infinite, synthetic, and self-ruled (αὐτοκράτωρ).
The modern term nous is synthetic, a priori reason (Kant) considered as the intellectual faculty of intuitively thinking (or intellectually intuiting) the multiplicity of parts as unity ⎯ namely, as a unified whole ⎯ ruled by the principle of equivalence. According to this principle, all opposite parts A, B of the whole are equivalent regardless of their particularities. A unified and integrated whole is a community of beings having a synthetic intelligence or rationality whose outcome is dynamic stability and balance. If we situate this integrated whole on the societal level, we call it global society having among its members perpetual unity, peace, coherence, and justice.
2. Synthetic intelligence not manifest in our observable world
Because the underlying unity of things is not manifest to our finite analytic perception, we are led to conclude, by means of the analytic principle of contradiction, the impossibility of unifying in the sensible world the multiplicity’s opposite parts A, B. By “sensible world,” or the observable world, we mean the observable part of Nature — that is, Nature observed by our finite particular senses. As Aristotle astutely remarked in his Metaphysics Γ, 5 1010b 15–20, no sense tells us that the same thing is and is not at the same time.
This means that our finite particular perception is an all-or-nothing process by which we perceive at any time either the whole thing or nothing, either the whole predicate (determination) about the thing or no predicate at all. In other words, our finite particular senses perceive the opposite determinations of a given thing — for example, the determination A and the determination not-A (A′), which we call B,in a contradictory or conflicting way — that is, as an impossible unity and coexistence of opposites. We translate this observed analytic opposition between A and B into the analytic principle of contradiction according to which nothing is both A and B (A′):
3. (A = B)′,
where the sign of negation ′ (not) denotes impossibility, contradiction, falsity.
If the synthetic unity of opposites in the same thing is qualified by the analytic principle of contradiction as an impossibility or a contradiction, then equally the complex whole or universe ruled by synthetic logos qua synthetic unity of opposites is equally an impossibility ⎯ a contradiction.
3. The decoherent functioning of the individual neuron at rest
What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
⎯ Werner Heisenberg
The analytic function of our finite particular senses ⎯ and hence of our finite neuronal brain ⎯ is currently confirmed by quantum physicists (for example, Roger Penrose, Max Tegmark and al.) who investigated the analytical and decoherent functioning of the individual neuron at rest. Similar to Aristotle with respect to the individual sense, they observed that no individual neuron fires and does not fire at the same time. In other words, the synthetic unity of opposites, which quantum physicists call the complex superposition of alternatives, is impossible for the individual neuron. It follows that any individual neuron at rest either fires or does not fire in conformity with the analytic principle of the excluded third. If A denotes the state of firing and B(A′) denotes the state of non-firing, we translate this univocal (one-sided) and selective behavior of the individual neuron into the following analytic principle of the excluded third, according to which everything is either A or B(A′):
4. A + B,
where the sign of addition + denotes the exclusive disjunction either/or.
Grounded in the above formula, we assert that every individual neuron is at any time either in the state of firing or in the state of non-firing.
Quantum physicists use the term decoherence to describe this univocal (one-sided) and selective functioning of the individual neuron. Decoherence disrupts the synthetic unity of opposites, which forms the complex whole or universe U = (A = B) to produce a simple sum of mutually exclusive (conflicting) parts that verify the analytic principle of the excluded third. If S denotes the sum or union of conflicting parts, then formula 4 becomes:
5. S = A + B.
This new formula defines the simple sum S as the addition or union of mutually exclusive parts A, B deprived of unity and logos. This simple sum S = A + B ruled by the analytic principle of the excluded third is clearly distinct from the complex whole U = (A = B) ruled by the synthetic equivalence principle and having unity and logos.
Now, when information from the external world reaches our finite neuronal brain,it has already passed through the neurons of our sensory organs — through the optical nerves, for example — which decohere and produce an observable world ruled by the analytic principles of contradiction and the excluded third. The decohering neurons of our sensory organs reduce the real, physical objectqua complex whole or universe U = (A = B) possessing at any time the totality of determinations A and B into a sensible or observable object qua simple sum S = A + B possessing at any time a unique determination ⎯ namely, either A or B.
It is clear from the above considerations that the analytic decohering neurons of our sensory organs force our brain to enter the observable world produced by them in which everything appears as a simple sum S of mutually exclusive determinations (alternatives, parts) in a state of permanent and unresolvable conflict. This impossible unity and coexistence of opposite determinations necessitates their successive existence according to the order of linear time such that at any time A is either prior to B or posterior to B, and B is either posterior to A or prior to A.
6. S = A < B + B < A.
The sum of parts S is therefore conditioned by linear time, which manifests either as positive temporal order where A is before B and B is after A or as negative order where B is before A and A is after B. Linear time, then, expresses the permanent and unresolvable conflict between opposite parts A, B of the observable object S generated by the analytic, decoherent functioning of our individual neurons.
On the societal level, this sum or union of mutually exclusive parts A, B defines a disintegrated societal whole ⎯ a broken (fragmented) society ⎯ which is in reality a simple sum S of conflicting parts in the Hobbesian state of war of all against all. Inevitably, over the course of time, this unbalanced state of unresolvable conflict increasingly exhausts society’s internal energy until it reaches, in conformity with the second law of thermodynamics, the state of maximum disorder and entropy we call thermodynamic death.
4. The question of the realization of a global society
So what we observe here is a conflicting gap between, on the one hand i) our infinite synthetic nous intellectually intuiting the world (or anything in the world) as a complex whole U having unity and logos, and on the other hand ii) our finite neuronal brain observing the world (or anything in the world) as a simple sum S deprived of unity and logos. Our finite neuronal brain at rest operates on the biological scale of the world at the temperate body (room) temperature of 300 Kelvins. However, we conjecture that our infinite synthetic nous operates on the quantum scale of the world, at the Planck scale, where energy and temperature are at the highest point and therefore its synthetic power is maximum.
Given the conflicting gap between these two parallel realities, our project to build a global society endowed with unity and justice among its parts in the observable world of biological experience is seriously impeded by the very decoherent neuronal structure of our finite brain. In fact, it is impossible to realize a truly global society in our observable world insofar as our brain operating uniquely at the biological scale decoheres.
Of course, we can construct a global society, that is, an indefinite approximation of the real global society. This approximation, whose unity is established by forcing the will of its members through external law and other types of coercion, would be an apparently global society. At threshold changes and acute crises, however, this forced unity regulating the apparently global society would break down, demonstrating that it was in reality an accidental and artificial unity dissimulating the impossibility of unity within the approximately global society.
5. The new frontier of education and science
One day the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together, and a little child will lead them.
⎯ Isaiah (11,6)
Given the disintegrating consequences of perceiving through our decohering neurons at rest, the relevant questions are these: Can we close the conflicting gap between our infinite nous operating at the Planck scale and our finite brain operating at the temperate biological scale of 300 Kelvins, thereby exchange their properties?Can we elevate our decoherent brain to the highest energy and temperature of the quantum level, where it would acquire the maximum unifying properties of our coherent nous, while operating in the stable and temperate biological world of neuronal experience at room temperature? Or, conversely, can we downgrade our coherent nous to the temperate energy and temperature of the biological neuronal level, where it would unify opposites and build complex wholes in the neuronally produced observable world?
If the observable conflicting gap between our infinite coherent nous and our finite decoherent brain is the accidental consequence of our finite neuronal brain perceiving decoherently, then we will inevitably succeed in closing it and permuting their properties despite their maximum difference and distance. In this sense, our infinite nous is nothing but our brain elevated to the Planck scale of energy and temperature, which we can just as easily call the infinite synthetic brain operating in both realities ⎯ the extreme Planck reality of maximum or infinite energy and temperature ⎯ and the temperate biological reality of 300 Kelvins.
We call the knowledge for obtaining an ideal brain by naturally unifying the above two isolated realities natural engineering of the infinite synthetic brain. The term implies the maximum development of our synthetic intelligence and constitutes the new and ultimate frontier of education and science. Only if we obtain access to our infinite synthetic brain will we have the power to construct dynamically stable, complex wholes and therefore accomplish the highest dream of humanity: the construction of a real global society ⎯ a beautiful and just society endowed with perpetual unity, coherence, and peace.Plato called this beautiful society Kallipolis and St Augustine the City of God.
1 The articles Physis, Polis, Kai Paideia in the Era of Globalization by Viviana Yaccuzzi Polisena and the Future of Education and Science: The Development of Synthetic Intelligence as a Means to Realize a Global Society in Perpetual Peace and Justice by Ion Soteropoulos were presented at the 30th International Conference of Philosophy (20-26, 2018) at the Island of Samos, Greece.