To Err is Human
Q.1. To what extent do computers resemble human beings?
Or How does Thomas distinguish the reasoning of each?1999,2002, 2005
Or Discuss the similarities and dissimilarities between computer and human beings
Or Do you think that computer share weaknesses of human beings?
Computer is an extension or developed form of human brain. Computers resemble human beings in the sense that they possess the faculty of committing errors or making mistakes. Just like human brains computers can think and act clearly. Some computers also write verses which are obscure. They can think, add, subtract, multiply and divide. They can do everything; but they lack one human faculty consciousness. Like human brains, computers are based on committing errors. As a matter of fact, committing errors is the secret of the progress of human beings as well as of computers. Many choices or options lie before us and we have to choose between the right and the wrong. Then in the course of life we learn by “trial and error” and not by “trial and rightness.” Computers function by the same principle. Some employee of a company, who feeds the computer commits an error, but afterwards the error is rectified. This is a constant process.
Anyhow, there is some difference between human reasoning and that of computers. Computers cannot think, dream, decide and act freely as they are always fed by human beings. They don’t have consciousness. Hence they can’t act on their own. Human beings or human brain, on the other hand, can act, dream, decide and think freely. 215
- 2. Discuss the importance of making mistakes?
Or We learn from errors and trials.2002
Or What is the thesis/main idea of the essay?
Or what are the advantages of being fallible? How human progress is linked with it?
Or What is gained in the exposition by the comparison with computers?
Or Do you think that progress of mankind is linked with the committing of mistakes? Or what is the thesis of the Essay?
Or What consequences of the human kind of reasoning does Thomas explore?
All the progress made by man down the ages is because of fallibility or the faculty of making mistakes. Animals have not made any progress in the world because they have neither consciousness nor make mistakes. Human beings progress depends on the process of “trial and error” not on “trial and Tightness”. By following this process we can distinguish the right from the wrong. Sometimes there are ten or twenty different choices, but only one is wrong. We can call this process “exploration”. It depends on fallibility. Had there been only one centre in human brain, mankind would never have made such tremendous progress.
Computers also commit errors like human beings rather because of human beings; because they are fed or operated by human beings. Often wrong bills or data are issued. “Somebody makes a mistake somewhere”, then this mistake is rectified. Unlimited wrong options are must for progress both for human beings and computers. After every mistake we try to reform ourselves. This is the secret of progress, hence success. That is why the writer says, “What is needed, for progress to be made, is the move based on error.” Hence Fallibility is the key to progress. 210
Q.3. Does Thomas explicitly say that non-human beings or things cannot possess the human faculty of reasoning?
The other creatures or non-human beings do not possess DNA sequences which are necessary for making mistakes. They don’t have consciousness and reasoning. They can’t think, act, behave, quarrel and think like human beings. They, therefore, don’t have the freedom of choice between right and wrong. For instance, cats and fish never make mistakes, but dogs occasionally do so by mimicking their masters. Like human beings, animals can’t make an open and free choice. Human beings had a wide choice. Most often we have ten or even more choices out of which only one is wrong. This is the key to our progress in life.
There is a difference between mechanism of human brain and that of other creatures. Non-human creatures have only one centre or mechanism; whereas human beings have a complex brain which has a large number of cells. This complex mechanism and fallibility distinguish human beings from other animals or non-human creatures.