In the last part of this series I listed some of the ways that a digital mind could be better than a human mind. In this part, I describe some ways to figure out how a Mind works.
There are at least 3 ways to gather clues about how a Mind works:
Observe how it works through various experiments. You can perform the experiements on other people or on yourself; one of the benefits of experimenting on yourself is that you can listen/watch some of the internal workings of your mind.
Probe a brain and observe its inner workings. Technology for doing this is rapidly evolving, and it's easy to imagine a future scanner that could make a very high-resolution movie of a brain and its activity in realtime. Correlating such movies with the stimuli and responses that caused the brain activity would allow us to gain a lot of knowledge of how the bits and pieces work and interact with each other.
Postulate that a Mind is a general concept that is not limited to biological brains but instead is an emergent property of a complex system. For example, the Mind of a country emerges from the interactions between its citizens, geography, infrastructure, history, culture and other countries. Similarly, the Mind of a company emerges from the interactions between its employees, infrastructure, customers, competitors and the marketplace.
I believe that the best way to understand a Mind is to gather clues from all three approaches. Personally, I feel that their relative importance is 20%, 30%, 50% and so that's how I'm dividing up my A/I research time.
The next few parts of this series will list some of the insights from each approach.