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Daily Inspiration — Human Memory is not a BIT like a Computer's

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There is a popular and active school of futurism that regards human intelligence and machine intelligence as different realizations of the same thing. Because the hardware is different, computers are good at doing straightforward things rapidly, while brains are good at doing holistic tasks rapidly. The human brain can do everything a computer can do, but it is slow and inefficient at computing thousands of digits of pi, or sorting information in exact temporal sequence. The speculation is that computers can do everything a brain can do, though they are still slow and inefficient at recognizing a human face in shadow or extracting meaning from speech.

Is it true that computing machines are not essentially different from brains, and that they will eventually (soon?) be able to excel at "real-world intelligence"?

Computers use indexing. Humans have content-addressable storage.

How exactly does the human brain enable us to perform recollections that are baffling from a technological perspective? Neuroscientists and psychologists haven't yet been able to help the techies much. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that there is little awareness of the interesting features of human acquisition and recall, even among researchers. If we are ever going to understand human memory, more people need to think about what is distinctive about it.

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Charles Darwin had a vast amount of knowledge about biology and geology, but it was his reading of Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population -- with its dire image of humans struggling with each other due to overpopulation -- that finally enabled him to conceive of natural selection.

Read Yohan J. John at 3Quarks Daily

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Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org. Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical modeling (more...)
 

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