Monday, February 14, 2011

Computers vs. Humans

How would the computer evolve in future? How would the human mind expand with the help of easily accessible information tools that will become more ubiquitous? Will computer ever be able to replace human beings in every facets of intellectual realm?

The increasingly faster rate that the progress in computing science is evolving, is simply breathtaking. It seems the days of Intel 80386 and 80486 and even the very first Pentium processors and Microsoft Windows 95 operating system are so antiquated. Modern world it seems cannot not have enough of more technologies, embedded in every way possible, in cell phone, tablet, mounted in wall, in gaming systems, and some even can be put into clothing. In an instant I can pull up three thousand years old Egyptian history while the protesters were chanting to depose their dictator in 21st century. Going to grocery store is not the same anymore. One can scan the bar code of a food through cell phone, and here comes all the tidbits of the delicious looking ice cream, its nutritional values or lack of it becomes apparent in a second. Then when the time to check out, one does not need to go through any register counter manned by human beings. Now the self check out counters are replacing the old ways of checking out.

I am eager to see what will be the outcome in the Jeopardy game between computer that can process human language and past Jeopardy champions. Would it be similar like Garry Kasparov's chess match against the Deep Blue in 1996 and 1997 when in their second set of matches, the world champion lost the game to that era's super computer?

Today's computer, software and hardware are much more complex and improved than the time of Deep Blue. And the consequences from the ever evolving computer's artificial intelligence have far reaching impact. John Markoff's article in The New York Times comments that "The repercussions of such technology are unknown, but it is possible, for example, to envision systems that replace not only human experts, but hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs throughout the economy and around the globe."

When one door closes, in most cases, another opens. Perhaps, the advancement in computing technologies will surely eliminate certain classification of today's jobs, but that may also bring human beings to next level of knowledge maturity, tackling and solving much more complex problems than we can even imagine today. I like the concluding quotation of John Markoff's article that says, “The essence of being human involves asking questions, not answering them." All the answering parts can be done by the super duper computers, and augmented human mind can expand and soar more toward understanding the very core essence of our collective and personal existence in this finite and mortal world while at the same time resolving the pains and sufferings of people, some in democracy, and some in dictatorship or plutarchy (oligarchy + plutocracy) with the help of friendly computers.

Link to John Markoff's article in The New York Times from which the above comment was inspired is: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/science/15essay.html

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