Home > AI, Artificial Intelligence > Where the Rubber Hits the Road: ISA =/= Microarchitecture Gap

Where the Rubber Hits the Road: ISA =/= Microarchitecture Gap


This is a depiction of the inflection point between computer hardware (tangible microarchitecture objects) and software (intangible instruction set architecture concepts). While the image above joins objects to concepts, the reality is that there is an infinitely wide gap between the two, bridged only be the aesthetic-participatory/sensory-motor capacities of the conscious experience we call a computer engineer.

The connection and communication described by the text and image are not referring to a physical process but a figurative, metaphorical relation that exists in our conscious experience of understanding. The ISA isn’t physically ‘implemented’ by the hardware, it is the conscious sensory-motive capacity of the programmer/engineer that marries their own cognitive sense-making with their motive power to move their physical body that creates and implements the ISA. The ISA has no physical connection to hardware. We produce the ISA machine code in our imagination/understanding, and there it stays. Anything we do to a computer comes from brain > hand > device actions that carry no motive intent or encoding at all. It is purely motor events set into motion from outside of physics.

This is why I suggest that regardless of how sophisticated the software we write for Simulated Intelligence systems, genuine awareness and intelligence will not arise – only reflections and recombinations of the physical effects of our own intelligence-driven actions. AI is a useful mirage.

The hardware we use as computing devices doesn’t have that breadth of awareness to do what the programmer or user can do. Any sensory capacity motivating the hardware is very primitive and limited to immediate detection and response on the subatomic scale. Anything we do to a computer is still just atoms jiggling for reasons that ‘they’ have no ability to understand.

  1. May 13, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    Safe to say that therefore, no possibility of agency without at least some perceptual apparatus?
    Perhaps though, AI systems and devices offer us a provocative, powerful and much needed reflective mirroring.

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