The 20th century has known several revolutionarychanges in science and technology. Started at the turn of thecentury by tremendous theoretical developments in Physics (quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity) and the continuing withthe development of electronics, (a technical area of great scientificalsubtlety) the scientific and technical revolution is now in fullswing. It is envisaged that this scientific and technical revolutionwill bring about a new industrial revolution (the second in thehistory of mankind) since the applications of microelectronicsand artificial intelligence are indeed tremendous.
The scientific and technological knowledgegained by the human society during this century has transformedthis very society, has led to a better understanding of the realitiesof the material world and of the social life. It is expected thatin the future new frontiers of knowledge will be conquered inthe field of biology. We have been using artificial force forseveral centuries, now we are starting to use artificial intelligence,we have just began working into the nature of biological world.
The powerful impact of knowledge acting incorrelation with social movements has brought about new and importantphilosophical questions. We do not have yet definite answersto most of these problems. And we do not find them either in physics,nor in biology, nor anywhere else. And most of the fundamentalquestions are still open, physics and biology are still full of queries. To think about them requires a cognitive framework, andthis is usually provided by a philosophical conception. I believethat there are no reasons for the profound, consistent scientistto depart from the materialistic philosophy and to accept an idealisticor a dual point of view. However, certain aspects of the idealisticphilosophy, that are reflecting aspects of the material worldcannot be neglected by science nor by philosophy. These aspectsmust be considered and interpreted. Also, if a materialistic philosophyis, in a way, merging with some idealistic philosophies, thiscannot be considered today as incompatible with a coherent thinking.
The advent of artificial intelligence raiseson a new level the question of man. Nature contains the possibilityof producing intelligence, this is proved to be an informationalproperty of an informational structure. And if information isas important as it appears in this second half of the 20th century,then it is to be expected that this notion will influence our scientifical and philosophical vision of the surrounding world.Philosophically, we ask ourselves if the laws of Nature and hencethe quantum world are not also sustained by mere profound information. And then, whether such information is not generated by an intelligenceof the types Nature itself is producing, i.e. material but eithernatural or artificial (today we still consider the human intelligenceas natural and the electronic intelligence as artificial). Oneof the aspects under debate around the concept of human beingis that of the difference between artificial and natural intelligence,between the man as a being and the man as an automaton.
Both the man viewed as a human being and theman viewed as an automaton are material devices and it is noteasy to give the former a superiority over the latter. In manyinstances the equality of the two is stated. But what are thescientifical and philosophical reasons for giving the man a separatestatus ? (And in principle we should ask this about all the materialdevices from the class of the man, since there is no reason toconsider this class to be closed: the future biological revolutionmay present new material devices belonging to this class). I thinkthat we are not far away from the moment in which the materialworld will start to open up in front of us.
But we could also be rather modest and tothink that we shell never have complete access to the deep secretsof Nature. And whatever the devices we might invent, they willnot be reached, either directly or indirectly. Or we could thinkthat knowledge is an infinite process, i.e. the Nature containsan infinity of secrets, and hence we shell never reach the absolutetruth. And even further, since the history of knowledge is rathershort, it is to be guessed that we shall be quite far from the"big adventures" that in its finite duration the humanspecies might encounter. But philosophically we can tackle thequestion of knowledge in a different way too. Without runningto the infinity, knowledge can tackle, uncover, a determined numberof finite layers of matter, but having such an intrinsic plasticitythat it leaves an infinite field of possibilities.
How should we understand the thesis aboutthe unexhaustive nature of the electron ? In looking indefinitelyfor its properties, for an infinite series of more and more elementaryparticles inside it ? Or, in a larger sense, in looking for aninfinite potential of deep informations of the existence, andhence of an infinity of possibilities in which matter can presentitself ? The depth of the material world could be the under layerof an infinite potentiality for the matter to present itself.