A science fiction story I once read from a while told the story of a group of scientists who created a supercomputer that was more intelligent than human beings. A scientist could type a question into the supercomputer, which would instantaneously answer with the correct answer. One night, a scientist was working late in the lab alone. He typed the question “Is there a god?” into the supercomputer. Without hesitation, the supercomputer gave its disturbing reply: “There wasn’t a god, but there is one now.”
Computers have come a long way from back in the day when a single computer could easily take up the space of an entire room. Almost everyone has one, whether it be a laptop or a smart phone. They are so common, in fact, that even though you didn’t have access to the Internet just a relatively short time ago, you most likely take it for granted today. But will a computer ever be as smart, or even smarter than a human being?
It seems far fetched to think about. The human brain is so complex and amazing. Just think about the hundreds of thousands of things it is doing at this moment. Quick!! Think about your foot. I bet before I mentioned your foot, you weren’t consciously thinking about it. Yet your brain was completely aware of your foot, and everything that was going on with it. But the brain is in fact so amazing that it doesn’t bother you with all of its minute details. Only if you were to hurt your foot would the shooting pain would suddenly be very noticeable.
Now focus on the idea of a chair. How do you define a chair anyway? Something you sit on? Something with four legs and a seat? Technically then, couldn’t a table fit the definition of a chair? But that’s a table, not a chair, right? And don’t chairs come in all shapes and sizes, like bean bag chairs or those crazy ergonomic chairs? So when you see a chair, how does your brain recognize that you are looking at a chair? It utilizes something called top down processing. A computer could not do that. To program a computer to be able to recognize a chair, you’d have to plug in every possible definition of a chair into the thing, while your brain can do the work in half a second.
But think again. Computers can beat chess experts pretty easily nowadays. That is because in this case, the computer can utilize top down processing, while a human chess expert can only recognize simple patterns in the game. When you compete with a computer at chess, it enters the game with an entire tree of knowledge of every move that could be made, and every counter move. We like to think we are superior to computers, yet we have programmed computers to be able to recognize most of human speech. Think about how long it takes to teach a human baby to learn to talk, and all the work it entails. Now compare that with the amount of time it takes a computer to download some speech recognition software off of another computer. To be continued in the second article of this set, “Technological Singularity and Exponential Growth.
Mallory Megan works for Uk marriage visa Rapid Recovery Solution and writes articles on commercial Uk marriage visa collection agencies.