# # A setback for AI?
APLawrence.com -  Resources for Unix and Linux Systems, Bloggers and the self-employed

A setback for AI?

I've removed advertising from most of this site and will eventually clean up the few pages where it remains.

While not terribly expensive to maintain, this does cost me something. If I don't get enough donations to cover that expense, I will be shutting the site down in early 2020.

If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.

Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© December 2007 Anthony Lawrence

I don't think anyone ever thought AI was going to be easy. Even if you did think of individual brain cells as very simple devices, a human brain has some hundred billion of the little critters. Worse (for AI researchers, not for us) are the connections between cells: each human brain cell connects to a thousand or so other brain cells. Those connections make modeling a human brain pretty daunting. This paper estimates that you'd need to start with "about twenty million billion calculations per second, give or take a couple of orders of magnitude."

From that guesstimate, it might seem that all you'd need is to map the neural connections (get the mechanical organization down pat) and pack in enough electronics to match, and poof, there's your AI brain. Getting to that point is more than difficult now, but Moore's law will help us out and we should be able to do that in a decade or two. So watch out: those bionic brains may be kicking us around before mid-century!

Well, no, I don't think so. A few days ago the science sites reported a new study of rat's brain cells that indicates a lot of power in individual cells. This study was concerned with the sensation of touch, but earlier studies have shown individual cells apparently understanding "two-ness" and even being able to recognize faces. That's a long, long way from the sort of simple on-off decision making role that we envisioned years ago.

Here's a little clip from that "recognizing faces" study:

He noted that in one participant, one brain cell responded both to Aniston and to Lisa Kudrow, her co-star on the TV hit ''Friends.''

So we are not talking about just wiring up a hundred billion logic gates. This is a hundred billion things each with a tremendous amount of individual computing power. Can we even begin to approach that level of complexity and power in a few decades? Probably not..

We will get there. Brains are just machines, there's no magic that drives them. The task may even be a little less difficult than it looks now, and advances in electronics and AI software may point to shortcuts we can take - nothing says that biological brain organization is the most efficient or most simple way to solve the given problem. But it does seem plain that we aren't "close" in any sense. Super intelligent electronic "brains" aren't likely in our near future.

If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.

Got something to add? Send me email.

(OLDER)    <- More Stuff -> (NEWER)    (NEWEST)   

Printer Friendly Version

-> A setback for AI?

Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Digital Sharing Crash Course

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Take Control of High Sierra

Photos for Mac: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Pages

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Printer Friendly Version

Have you tried Searching this site?

This is a Unix/Linux resource website. It contains technical articles about Unix, Linux and general computing related subjects, opinion, news, help files, how-to's, tutorials and more.

Contact us

Printer Friendly Version

The camel has evolved to be relatively self-sufficient. (On the other hand, the camel has not evolved to smell good. Neither has Perl.) (Larry Wall)

Linux posts

Troubleshooting posts

This post tagged:


Unix/Linux Consultants

Skills Tests

Unix/Linux Book Reviews

My Unix/Linux Troubleshooting Book

This site runs on Linode