Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent
May, 22nd 2011

brainOn several occasions during his decades as an IBM executive, former CEO Thomas J. Watson Jr. went out of his way to differentiate between human brains and computers. The goal of IBM, he said, was to make machines that could serve as tools for humans, not replace them. By taking on many of the more routine tasks that people were saddled with, he said, machines would free humans up to do more fulfilling creative work.

Today’s computers are “smarter” than those of the mid-20th century, when Watson was busy trying to calm people’s fears about the onslaught of electronic brains.  But even with the achievements and potential of Watson, the Jeopardy-playing computer,  IBM is pushing the borders of machine capability with the goal of augmenting human thought, not replacing human brains with machines.

Still it’s intriguing to compare the two, and for scientists, nature offers models for next-generation computer design. At the conference IBM Research Colloquia – Zurich last week, Prof. Karlheinz Meier of  Heidelberg University spoke about neuromorphic computers during his presentation on Brain Inspired Computing. A key aspect of neuromorphic computing is understanding how the brain works and attempting to mimic some of its functions in silicon.

For me, the most intriguing moment during Meier’s presentation was when an audience member asked him a question that got to the heart of the man vs. machine debate. Essentially, he asked: Why copy nature? Why not aim to do better?

Question: “This may be a philosophical question. If you look at the properties of neurons and synapses and so on, do you see these wonderful devices or would it be possible to conceive that the brain evolved out of very simple cells, which represented a limited technology, and this was the best nature could do with what was available. If so, is it possible to invent other sorts of devices which could produce a better brain?

Meier: “Absolutely. That is a very valid question. We are today trying to copy what evolution has produced. It may not be the best thing. There may be more efficient solutions. That’s something we have to work with.”

One newsy element of the Zurich colloquium was the official launch of of a new $90 million Nanotechnology Center at IBM’s research laboratory in Zurich. The center is a joint venture of IBM and ETH Zurich, a premier European science and technology university. Meier said that the center, with it’s large collection of state-of-the-art nanotechnology tools, will be a valuable resource for scientists like him. “With this kind of facility and the tools and a rapid design cycle, we can try out all of these things,” he said.

In that building, where physics, biology, chemistry, and material science meet, the question of whether or not machines can be made that think may finally be resolved.

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October 18, 2016
6:57 am

It is amazing to note how technology has improved the years. The idea of artificial intelligence is quite fascinating. One can’t help but notice that the world of science is full of wonders.

Posted by:
August 31, 2016
8:30 am

This whole idea of artificial intelligence is quite interesting. We are all optimistic that the advancement in technology will result to improved quality of life.

Posted by:
August 31, 2016
8:25 am

I have enjoyed reading this article.

Posted by: Mary
June 26, 2016
3:17 pm

Computer Is jst a machine

Posted by: Jskid
June 26, 2016
3:16 pm

How cn a computer think?

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September 13, 2015
4:53 pm

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Posted by: ciuguruz gog
June 3, 2015
6:04 am

“People vs machines” is a top issue in such market as translations. However, I am sure that machines will never replace human work. As someone of you said: “Computer is just a source to make our task easy and a helping hand in our task”

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September 27, 2014
6:10 pm

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Posted by: Moorpark Discount Locksmith
May 22, 2013
1:35 am

I am totally agree with you its not a thinking machine. Computer is just a source to make our task easy and a helping hand in our task. It has no ability to think like human being it just a machine.

Posted by: MacBook LCD Replacem
December 13, 2012
1:02 pm

Computer is not a thinking machine. U comminicate wit it 2 get back d reply or answer from it cus it is not a humanbeing.

Posted by: Adelakun S Adebayo
November 9, 2012
5:10 am

Is computer a thinking machine

Posted by: Sarah
April 22, 2012
4:34 am

I agree – computers are just computers.

Posted by: PC Repair Coventry
April 22, 2012
4:33 am

I agree with the dentist – computers are just computers.

Posted by: PC Repair Coventry
August 3, 2011
8:30 am

i think its a thinking machine.

Posted by: Computer Repair Coventry
June 10, 2011
9:49 am

is a computer a thinking machine?

Posted by: Amu williams joseph
June 6, 2011
3:13 pm

The free and educated universal, multi national and multi cultural Human MIND, can not be created beyond nature.
Yet, our WISDOM can be shared with the proposed Electronic BRAIN we can create beyond the limitations of existing science; but we need 1 special standard Lexical CODE to convey language, as it reached air.

Please note, a picture or video can be honest = viewed and captured by all international people – and the same is for a phone conversation; but if the language is not English, there is no capture nor understanding nor communicating – among brains or minds.

Posted by: Amnon Mike Cohen
May 28, 2011
7:01 am

I think, its a machine.

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