Why AI will fail, and why biology is to blame

David Smith
3 min readNov 1, 2020


Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

I love technology. It’s a great distraction from the daily life that I should be living. When I should be speaking to my real estate lawyer regarding the plot of land I dream of, I can play online snooker and not get that non-existent cue that I want. Instead of applying for those half dozen jobs people have sent me that I would be perfect at, I can scroll through the timelines of people that I don’t talk to. Instead of me calling a friend for a conversation, I can sit with my favorite video makers learning about things I could do in the life that I could have if technology was not such a distraction.

I learned some programming in school in the 90’s, I went to university in the 2000’s to learn some programming, went back to university in the 10’s to learn some more programming, and now I sit here with my computer monitor propped up on a stack of 5 python books I want to read but likely won’t. I am a professional hack when it comes to computers. No, not a hacker, a hack in that though I want to, I don’t and I can’t.

I have many ideas though. I sit and think of different ways to procrastinate. I wonder sometimes if I could write a little script to remind me of all the things I wish I would do. I think, perhaps I can program something that I just need to speak to and it would answer me like I was Ironman.

I would think about the chess engine I want to build, the CRM for an upcoming business I want to start on a piece of land I have yet to call my lawyer about.

It’s a complicated thing. You know, this life thing? It’s a noble idea that these piles of silicon and plastic and glass we use to be more productive actually make us more productive. I think that idea comes from biology.

“What the . . . ?” Yeah, I know. Random. However the analogy of bodies being really complicated computers is what makes us think we can recreate . . . life.

Let’s be truthful about it. The majority of you think that it’s a very complicated thing that no one could ever understand. Yet because computers are so complicated they are the only thing that can come close to understanding it, right? Artificial intelligence would be the ultimate mastery of our mutual existential dilemma.

Your body is understood as a really complicated machine, generally. You’ve heard this and statistically I bet you believe it also. Despite that overt or nagging belief in the supernatural you harbor, that body you drag around is a machine.

Fine. We will go with that.

Our faith that technology will better our life has almost already run it’s course. The enthusiasm we had in the 90’s regarding it is giving way to the reality of what is possible. We still are enthusiastic about one thing though. One thing that puts the sparkle back in our eyes when we lay in bed at night dreaming of silicon chips and object oriented programming.

Artificial intelligence. Note, it’s not called artificial life. Just intelligence. We already have that. Logic gates arranged in certain ways allow us to ask our phones a question and have it answer us. Intelligence.

We envision artificial intelligence as “living” when we think about it’s implications. Scary, exciting? However you view it there is one hard fact. At this time, without question and unequivocally no programmer anywhere can program that little spark behind your eyes looking out at the world with wonder and amazement. That spark cannot be housed in a phone case, on your desktop or in all the server farms in Nevada.

Interestingly, that view we have about how complicated biology is, the cells, the brain and chemical imbalances is how we see computers. Well, not me, but those non-techie folks I speak with all day to make a living. Computers have to get more complicated. The bill of goods we are being sold of artificial intelligence will go no where, just like biology went nowhere with it’s drugs.

Artificial health, artificial intelligence just ensure we are artificially living.



David Smith

Disgruntled uneducated intellectual and philosopher unimpressed with the current paradigm. A non-authoritative authority on the status quo & it’s inadequacies.