When I first read about so-called "Artificial Intelligence", I wondered how anyone could ever imagine that one day, it might take into account all the extraordinary facets of human neurology. Yes, computers ARE faster than we are at spitting out conclusions, coming up with hard-wired outcomes based on a given set of circumstances. Those of us who played around with AND, OR, NAND, NOR and other logic "gates" as youngsters interested in electronics, remember well how computers started, and that they are indeed, just glorified (because they are massively extended) arrays of electrical switches connected together, not much more than that. They impress us to bits (or bytes) because, of course, they can flick their multiple combinations of logical switches at phenomenal speeds, but yes, under all that binary pizzazz and apparent magic, they are just doing logical things in a logical way, but doing them VERY fast. Even the concept of so-called "fuzzy logic" is simply a series of strict calculations done on either side of a given parameter, to make it look "soft" or "fuzzy", to ensure that one strand of hair or a single eyelash out of place, won't obstruct the intended functioning of your phone's facial recognition system or fingerprint reader. Calculations are made in all sorts of directions, to allow "fuzziness" but ultimately, behind it all, yes ma'am, it's just zeroes and ones.
There are unusual and very original things that human brains do, however, that are not quite so predictable, and which have fascinated me for years. One of them is a thing called "synesthesia", the joining of two or more perceptions (of often very different natures) so that they relate to each other, enriching the creative, perceptive, constructive experience in a person. Many of us know this peculiar thing, without necessarily being able to pin a name on it, taking it in stride when it happens, without much attention. Having read about it years ago, I am happy to have a word for this weird feeling which turns up from time to time, in unexpected places. It's always comforting to pin a label on something bizarre.
As you may or may not have read elsewhere on this website, I participate in a small academic-style life-drawing group here. We meet a few times a month, and draw from a live model. Nothing particularly unusual, in an art-friendly city such as this one, with its share of medieval buildings and other ancient urban finery. Last night though, one swoopy part of one of the model's shoulders said "vanilla" somewhere in my head, so strongly that I could almost taste it. I was tempted to point to that part on my drawing and show it to the artist working silently next to me, "You see this? That's vanilla." At best, he would have imagined a friendly metaphor, or just a mental association maybe, but it was a lot more than that. At worst, he might have voted me out at our next assembly. I didn't say anything, though, and just continued working, glimpsing elsewhere, to the model's knee or hands or neck, the word and flavour weren't there. When I returned to the shoulder bit, however, "vanilla!" again. Strange thing.
I am very curious as to HOW any sort of "artificial intelligence" could come up with that vanilla moment.