Or do we? I’ve observed that a lot of people exhibit what I call algorithmic thinking. They are poor listeners and even worse readers. They pick up on patterns in my words and spit out preprogrammed slogans, but if they had actually understood what I said they would realize the slogans do not apply or else that I am actually on their side. They categorize everything into small, finite, digital sets, such as “liberal” and “conservative” and are incapable of comprehending the rich, subtle, analog differences between people. They create rules (and laws) to live by that might make sense most of the time but they are incapable of reacting to novel situations. Some people seem inexplicably unaware of their own thinking process, not realizing how bad they are at multi-tasking, for example. Some people claim that the human mind is no more than a highly complex computer program and can theoretically be duplicated by computation. They say that while the Chinese man does not understand English, the room as a whole (including the man, the instructions, and the paper) does. How can they be so unaware of their own thinking? Anybody who was really a thinking person would understand that this is not true. These humans cannot pass a Turing test.
In my own experience there are times that I’m overtaxed, tired, or just lazy and rely on “rules of thumb” of how to respond to common, frequent situations. We all engage in some algorithmic thinking; we have to. The problem is that the programs tend to grow. Not to worry, I suspect the thinking part of our minds can never be fully extinguished and can grow back when needed, but my how far some have gone!