Computers remain mysterious entities to me. They do sometimes seem to have a mind of their own and sometimes the ‘ghost in the machine’ even conspires against me! To be sure, computer ‘viruses’ can cause these machines to behave strangely but will computers take over the world? Will they be able to continually and improvingly rebuild themselves to the point of technological singularity? I hope not! However, I don’t think these labour-saving-devices ever will have world domination because, regardless of the size or shape of the robot, the ‘ghost in the machine’ is not real but artificial! Whereas computers have AI (Artificial Intelligence), humans have real intelligence. What’s difference? Well, it’s all in the mind! A computer may resemble a brain but that is as far as the resemblance goes. Whereas a human has a mind of his/her own, a computer only reflects the mind of whoever programmed it. It has no mind of its own. Therefore it doesn’t have the will or desire to dominate the world or the office! Computers need humans to press their buttons!
Is our brain an organic computer and if so is there ‘a ghost in the machine’? If by ‘ghost in the machine' we mean mind then we do, sort of… The mind does not inhabit the human body. Unlike a computer which is mindless to start with the human mind is simply an aspect of what we are by design. It is the mind not the brain that does the thinking. However, as part of what we are the mind uses the brain to think just as we use our legs to walk or our lips and tongues to talk. Brain activity may mean that the mind is thinking, however it does not mean that a human cannot think unless he/she has a brain! Pull the plug on a computer and it is out of action. Pull the plug on a human and he/she continues to think even when departed from the body!
Of course this is where Christianity parts ways with the philosophies of Materialism which believe that when a person is ‘brain-dead’ that person has ceased to exist! However, God has no body or brain yet He thinks. And in His revelatory Word we see lots of evidence of people who have died bodily but are still living and thinking in the Intermediate State (Matthew 22:32; Revelation 6:9-11). Angels have no bodies yet they think! However, just as there is no ghost or spirit inhabiting a computer, neither does our spirit inhabit our body. Humans have been designed by God each one as a soul-spirit with a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Just as computers are subject to computer viruses causing them to malfunction so the human race has been affected by sin causing a darkening to our thinking and an estate of misery and death (Romans 5:12; 6:23; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Upon conversion the Christian begins to undergo a process of mind-renewal as the Holy Spirit continues to work with His Word and applying it to the Christian’s heart (Romans 12:2).
Computers merely reflect their programmers. Thus they do not possess self-awareness. Neither do animals which are more sophisticated that any computer will ever be! Some computers, like some animals, may seem to some to be self-aware. However, this is only in the eye of the beholder. Like a bird attacking its own reflection so fallen mankind attacks the God in whose image we are made! Computers won't take over the world. God will!