About Raj

A Robot and A Rishi

Robot:Survey of Artificial Intelligence and its ability to replace human thinking and feeling.
Rishi:A very brief exposition of Indian spiritual discoveries.

A Robot and A Rishi:
A Critique of Computers


So what do a Robot and a Rishi have in common? As far as I can see, they both attempt to make life easier for man. However, their attempts lie at two opposite ends of human concern!

Western endeavor is to produce a clone of man using physical technology. This attempt may never succeed as suggested by some of the scientists. However, people like Penrose feel that it will be possible sometime in the future. For the moment, let us assume that it will be successful: the Robot which may evolve will be in the image of a man. The present-day man, in large part, still has not advanced far from his caveman days, and self-interest and expediency are the guiding principles of his life. Such a man has wreaked havoc in nature and in relationship with other human beings, to the effect that his entire existence is increasingly threatened. Can we expect any better from his brainchild, the Robot? And will the Robot start measuring man by its own standards and come to the conclusion that man does not have the speed of manipulation of a computer and so must be declared inferior?

The endeavor of Rishis, on the other hand, starts where the western quest wants to end-namely, with the existence of the mind. The Rishis set their aim to go beyond the mind, and their attempts have led them to dizzy heights of achievement. This direction at least has the potential for bringing about a man who is not propelled by his primitive instincts. A question which still begs an answer is how could this happen on a much larger scale? For the present there are no clear guidelines or indications. One continued insight is that surrender of the mind is a major ingredient. A more obscure answer is that spiritual attainment is not an end of the road, but a pathless journey, and what we see and conclude about the quality of our life, will change along the way.


  1. What Computers Still Can't Do : A Critique of Artificial Reason by Dreyfus.
  2. Shadows of the Mind : A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness - Roger Penrose.
  3. The Emperor's New Mind : Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics - Roger Penrose.
  4. The First and Last Freedom - J. Krishnamurti.
  5. The Mystique of Enlightenment - U.G. Krishnamurti.

Final editing of this article was done by Dr. Juri Vilms of California. He can be reached at:juri@ix.netcom.com

Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998 Dr. Raj Mehta. All rights reserved.