Que Sera Sera – Whatever will be, will be

“When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother what will I be? Will I be handsome? Will I be rich? Here’s what she said to me? Que Sera Sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see, Que Sera Sera.” ~ Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

When I was a very young child, my Grampy (Grandfather) used to sing this beautiful, upbeat and whimsical song to us, and for some reason, it stayed with me throughout my life. Now and again, it pops up in my mind.

The song goes through a cycle with a girl and her mother, then her sweetheart and children when she becomes a mother, creating and developing new minds, and the cycle continues.

I wonder now if my Grampy used to sing it because we asked so many questions as kids and had so many worries. I once asked my mother (since I can no longer ask him), “why did Grampy sing this to us?” She said he believed in the words wholeheartedly that “what will be will be,” a philosophy many of us today struggle to understand or have faith in. Perhaps those born and raised in WWII understand to a greater extent what faith is.

I found myself referring back to this song as I recently read the book, “How to Create a Mind” by Ray Kurzweil. Why I am not sure. But for some reason the two concepts created a link in my brain, two very obscure ideas fused together. How they were linked and why my brain chose to put them together, I don’t know — only my brain does. And the product of those two ideas colliding resulted in this blog.

In the book, Kurzweil talks about running experiments on the brain and recognizing the need to do experiments on different types of brains, from people who have suffered immense trauma, for instance, to better understand how they work.

I believe a better understanding of different types of brains may hold the key to the unknown, to the things we do not know about and to the gaps between the known and unknown in understanding this magnificent organ.

I also believe there are emerging differences in the millennial brain that could be interesting to investigate. And what about people who are experts in more than one area, particularly Technology and Music? Is there something we can learn from their makeup that can help us understand and fill in the gaps of human consciousness?

The current methodologies described in the book by Kurzweil work from the bottom-up to understand the human brain and artificial intelligence. But what if  we investigated it in another manner, and researched from those with a high-functioning perspective, those who have a high level of emotional awareness (albeit perhaps a short attention span)? Or investigate those who have a lot of ideas, not all necessarily good?

In the book Kurzweil describes the way the brain works as hierarchical. I believe that our brains work in more than one manner. Hierarchical, yes, but I also think they are more than capable of stepping across boundaries, thinking differently and thinking thoughts at multiple levels, all at once.

Why do I think this? Because I have seen this happen in the real world, when dealing with extremely complex problems and ideas. I have seen geniuses, in my opinion, in many fields make diverse connections. I’ve watched their faces light up when they joined up the dots across multiple concepts, and seen how fear crosses their brow when they think about how to explain it to the rest of the team.

None of us has just one train of thought happening at any one point in time. Many of us are capable of more than one, and many people juggle 20 or so concepts and deliver on all of them successfully, joining up ideas at many different levels. Sometimes the process happens over an hour, sometimes over weeks. Sometimes, for those who are extremely disruptive, connections happen in seconds, crossing many levels of hierarchical understanding and concepts.

The great conceptual thinkers who come up with new technologies are amazing to watch. Their energy, when they really get going, can captivate the whole room.

So as a result of what I have seen from the rare few in this world, my thoughts on the hierarchical structure of the brain do not necessarily agree with the findings from Kurzweil. Of course, I have no scientific evidence to support this — only observations — and perhaps I shall look into it further someday. I do not know the answers, but what will be will be.

In our world, where there is structure and order, there is also a need for disruption and chaos. Great thinkers excel in this area; they disrupt because they think differently, and they are often not aware of the disruption they can cause. Remember though that disruption is not necessarily a bad thing.

My thoughts led me to think, well what is this other thing that scientists know little about, this thing called “neuroplasticity?” In the book, Kurzweil talks about the color red and describes it to someone who is blind to the colour. The idea that red only exists for some people and, in the infrared spectrum, doesn’t even exist led me to wonder if neuroplasticity is perhaps only available at very small levels for some people if they become conscious and aware of it.

I began thinking of something similar to dark matter. Could the phenomenon such as that explain some of the spooky scenarios that can happen to us, instances when we know what someone else is thinking before they do, or when we ring each other at the same time? Can this help to explain EQ and ESP? Is this what we have been looking for?

How do people “know” things without a physical connection? (or at least one which we can see) How do we become intuitive? Could dark matter or something similar which we know litlle about explain why people are sensitive to emotions, to sounds, why after pregnancy I can no longer listen to base music, as my perception has been altered? My emotional senses seem to be heightened, and the ability to understand mindfulness, EQ and ESP is at a whole new level.

The ability to think about what we are thinking about grows with wisdom and age, when we open our minds to the idea that anything is possible. I believe that neuroplasticity grows as we are open to more and more ideas and ways of doing things — when we no longer think about what is wrong and right, but as we think about, well, what will be will be.

And that leads us to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Kurzweil talks about two forms of AI in the future. The first is when a super intelligent version of ourselves, say Sarah2.0, is created. We then have the ability to switch ourselves off at any point, so Sarah1.0 is no longer required. This to me is an extremely scary option, and Kurzweil agrees that most people will find this scary.

The other option is the slow upgrade, where Sarah1.0 is upgraded a little bit at a time with the Super Intelligent version so that we end up with Sarah2.0. Kurzweil says that Sarah2.0 versions are the same with either approach.

I would disagree and say that the second version, which has been upgraded over a year, has a story, has the wisdom and the experience of knowing what happened. This version has gone through the changes, felt the differences and is conscious of life before and after the upgrade. They can tell a story about becoming super intelligent.

This is understanding, this is cognition.

The words “Que Sera Sera” came from a movie called “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” But can you ever know too much? Does the world become scarier when we know too much?

Maybe we should go with the flow and let whatever will be, be. “Now I have children of my own, they ask their mother what will I be, will I be handsome, will I be rich. I tell them tenderly, Que Sera Sera!”


Sarah James was ANZ lead for Authentic Leadership in DXC and an advocate for DXC’s Women in Leadership and STEM. Prior to leaving DXC in September 2017, Sarah founded the Empowering Future Leaders blog and was its primary author. With over 15 years of experience in the world of IT, Sarah’s specialty is spatial information and includes integration on projects as diverse as mapping volcanoes in Hawaii to delivering high-tech police vehicles.

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Comments

  1. Alind Tiwari says:

    I agree with you Sarah and above article highlights a very good point that Obsessing Over AI Is the Wrong Way to Think About the Future. Of course, technology will always need moonshot ideas —they’re what makes humans great. But focusing too heavily on fully-formed artificial intelligence misses the great strides we’re making here and now with intelligence amplification that’s actually changing lives.

    I like the point you noted out about emotions because this is a very fundamental point we often do forget and one need to understand that human experience emotions evolves dramatically from birth to adulthood. Machines don’t mature emotionally, do not go through puberty nor undergo hormonal change based on their age, diet and environment. Artificial intelligence could learn from experience and mature intellectually, but not mature emotionally like a child becoming an adult. This is a vital difference that shouldn’t be underestimated.

    Que Sera Sera

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Braun says:

    This is a lot to think about, Sarah! I like “I believe a better understanding of different types of brains may hold the key to the unknown, to the things we do not know about and to the gaps between the known and unknown….” One step on this journey is research into the brains of people with autism as away to better understand autism and, as you suggest, people and the brain in general.

    Liked by 1 person

    • geosupergirl says:

      Totally agree Lisa. Loads to think about and this has been edited. Many many more things to think about. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  3. I think the change from 1.0 to 2.0 will be gradual. We are already augmenting our brains with Google so that we no longer have to remember, just know how to look things up and research. In the next 50 years, computers with more processing power than the human brain will cost under $1000. Population projections also will go through the roof, a city like Melbourne would be home to 50 million ‘souls’ but perhaps this will be 5 million people and 45 million sentient computers. Hopefully, they will run our household and we’ll be their ‘pet’. I think humans could adjust to this, we already have robotic vacuum cleaners that can clean better than a teenager can.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ken Gottry says:

    wow, thinking about thinking. Now that’s something to think about. My mind wandered as I read your blog because each paragraph offered something new for my mind to chew on in the background. I’m sure my brow was furrowed the entire time.

    I’ve always marveled at how the brain stores and retrieves information. Why is it that when I’m searching my gray matter for the name of a movie, my brain will spit back something that appears totally unrelated such as an ingredient in a recipe. What is it about those two items that causes the brain to retrieve them both when doing a single search? It feels like my brain knows more about what I want than my conscious self does.

    As for AI, the term has always baffled me. To me, artificial means man-made. So does that mean AI is any ole intelligence that man can make? Does that mean not all intelligence that humans possess but just some? Or does artificial imply simulated, again meaning that AI is limited by human intelligence?

    Machine learning is said to be a form of AI where computers can learn without being explicitly told. So is ML limited by the scope of human intelligence? Can a computer learn something that I didn’t know and would never know without the aid of the computer? If so, how will I be able to understand it? Will AI have to be accompanied by AT (Artificial Teaching).

    Boy, Sarah, you’ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks
    Ken

    Liked by 1 person

    • geosupergirl says:

      Thank you Ken! Wow I made you think, one of the wisest people I know. That is high praise indeed. Thank you very much. AI is I agree limited by human intelligence at some point it will be no longer limited. AT great idea. They will certainly be teaching us one day. Thinking is good but can sometimes hurt your brain if you think for too long.

      Like

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