In an article for The European, George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral (coming from Pantheon in March 2012), breaks down the difference between information and meaning, the meaning of life, and (gulp!) whether computers can ever truly replace humans:
The European: That brings us back to the indeterminacy and complexity of the human mind. Can computers ever replace that?
Dyson: It could be. In, say, the 15th century, there was the archaic view that the human mind exists on one side of the spectrum and the mind of God on the other side, with nothing in between except maybe a few angels. But that is a very strange idea, since every other hierarchy in nature consists of many different layers. It think it is much more likely that there are others layers of mind, although they might not look like a desktop computer. People are already walking around—effectively participating in a vast distributed computation—doing what their iPhones tell them. And we’re generally quite happy with that domination.