IBM gets DARPA cognitive computing contract (The blog subject came from this article)The world is trying to recreate the brain. Is this a good thing? I think it is a good thing. I don't know where it will end up. I may, in the end, feel like working on this kind of research was a mistake. If things end up in a Terminator kind of world, that would be bad.
I would like to understand why human brains take so little power and yet can dwarf my laptop in terms of flexible processing capabilities when my laptop heats the entire room when taxed. I think there are other models for processing that will yield very efficient results. Many of the biggest advances in industry are the result of someone taking the processes or procedures from one industry and adapting them to another. Can we take some of the manufacturing floor processes and procedures and port them over to help us understand and manage our email flow? Seems like a good idea to me.
If humans can create a brain that is simple and yet able to learn and efficiently carry out some tasks, that should give us more insight into the workings of our brains. More insight will lead to better understanding and improved ability to repair. I believe it will also give us some new computing models. Massively parallel influence based models. I think people will be surprised by a few things. 1. The brain's inputs and outputs are simpler than we currently expect. 2. The processing model is massively parallel. 3. The brain and input devices (eyes, ears, ...) are not as all seeing and all computing as we think they are. One example that I created during a discussion with someone near and dear, was that of peripheral vision and analyzing objects. People think that they constantly understand and can see everything around them. You know that there is a white van over there and think you know just what it looks like. It even feels sharp in your vision while you are looking somewhere else. Stop. Pay keep your vision firmly focused on one spot. Pay attention to the van. Can you really see it? Are the lines sharp? I think we are excellent parallel processing and filtering machines. We glance around quickly, stop on the van for a millisecond or two. Determine that it is a white van and move on. This object is now tagged. We have not really looked at it for a while. There are tons of details that we could have seen if we spent serious time looking at it. In the background, we are scanning objects that we are tracking. Have they changed? Try having a conversation in a parking lot. Pay attention to where your eyes go. I found that mine keep hopping from object to object making sure that they are still there, have not changed, and trying to decide if there is more to look at.
Evolving the entire human brain would be interesting. I think we would gain valuable insights. These days, I think I would just take small improvements. There are many logical actions, based on the context, that computers can safely take for us. Why aren't they? So much of our lives goes through the computers and it feels like we have to baby them through step by step. There has to be a better way. If computers were not just gophers that were sent to do specific tasks manually, and instead actually took appropriate actions based upon your wishes, I think world productivity would increase.