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Processors and the human brain.

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November 10, 2001 10:44:57 PM

I've been thinking about all the breakthroughs and innovations in computer technology lately, like IBM's new super computer, and the single molecule transistors at Bell Labs.
How long will it be, if ever, before we can build a computer as powerful as the human brain?
I'm not talking about 'human intelligence', just raw power.
Just how powerful is the human brain anyway?

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."

More about : processors human brain

November 10, 2001 11:05:39 PM

powerful... but not in a computer way
computers are great at lots of simple calculations... not so flash on abstract stuff.
i.e.
show the computer a picture of a woman. how the hell would u make a computer that could understand the concept of beauty?
or tell a computer to... imagine something.
or 'fall in love' for that matter.
our brain is a chemical soup... with hormones and stuff as flavouring.

try getting a computer to replicate that

OEMs selling "High End"PCs with integrated video will be forced into Q3tournaments using a TNT2M64!
November 10, 2001 11:07:43 PM

Well if you think about it, certain aspects of the computer have already surpassed average human capability. See computers are good with things such as "Yes, No" and "Black or White" but they have a problem with more abstract or fuzzy concepts. There is a form of Artificial Intelligence called Fuzzy Logic which attempts to create an AI that is less crisp logic, and more fuzzy logic.

The human brain also has one major advantage over computers. The human ability to be Self-Aware. This means we are aware of ourselves. This has also been imitated from certain Apes and I've heard Dolphins have too. Humans have been the only known species to demonstrate the highest know level of being Self-Aware, which is the ability to know that you will die, and to understand it as reality.

Also I could go into such things as our eyes, our nervous system, and other various brain functions that overpower the Computer. Think of your eyes. Think of the awesome resolution of the eye, and the bandwidth of the optic nerve. It's all based on chemical reactions, not electrical systems. Think of the bandwidth of the spinal cord, and the entire nervous system. Think of human consciousness, a self-aware thought within a massive network of billions of nuerons, it recieves sense data, which is compared to memory, which produces emotions which is yet more information for the consciousness to use to issue commands and orders to the body parts.

It's amazing, and I think Computers have a lot of catching up to do.

if(GetSystemMetrics(SM_PROCESSOR) != AMD_PROCESSOR)
{
SendMessage(hwnd,WM_CLOSE,0,0);
}
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November 10, 2001 11:24:46 PM

There is a reductionism theory that states that all thoughts and emotions can be broken down into biology, all biology can be broken down into chemistry, all chemistry can be broken down into physics, and all physics can be broken down into logic. Therefore thoughts and emotions can be replicated with a logic system such as a computer.
It is just a theory of course, but assuming it’s correct we will eventually have computers that can replicate the human brain, assuming we could build one powerful enough.

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
November 11, 2001 12:35:28 AM

the mathematician John von Neumann once calculated that the humab brain can store up to 280 Quintillion bits of memory (thats 280,000,000,000,000,000,000)!!! and many call that figure conservative. And some estimates of the brain's operation speed are around 100,000 teraflops! some also call that figure conservative. But this doesnt take into account emotion or anything - just bits of information.
November 11, 2001 1:00:19 AM

Cant turn the Brain into bits. Yes you can make computer fast as a Brain but the brain does so much it isnt funny.

Nice Nvidia and ATi users get a Cookie.... :smile: Yummy :smile:
November 11, 2001 1:09:20 AM

I’d appreciate it if you have any links to that information.

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 11, 2001 1:38:47 AM

then......computer will take over human..NOO!!haha..
November 11, 2001 2:18:14 AM

I once had a discussion with a programmer for two games I've played online over ICQ. The point of the discussion was more of a philisophical and Spiritual question, however it applies here.

If you created a machine where you matched every nueron in the brain with it's specific function, and you created a mechanical human with all of our inherit abilities, would that machine have a soul?

For this discussion, wouldn't we have to do that to get the same human result? Match every nueron, every function?

Perhaps when we have quantom computers, we could use them to represent nuerons and have a few billion of them setup to create a mechanical brain?

if(GetSystemMetrics(SM_PROCESSOR) != AMD_PROCESSOR)
{
SendMessage(hwnd,WM_CLOSE,0,0);
}
November 11, 2001 3:20:52 AM

I actually got the information in part from a book I read. It's called the Einstein Factor - Win Wenger PHD and Richard Poe. The rest of the information, I really don't remembe where I heard it.

Studies show that the human brain approaches 100 percent retention.
November 11, 2001 3:29:00 AM

Yeah, I did a search on John von Neumann and found the memory bit, but it's the 100,000 teraflops part that interests me most.

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
November 11, 2001 3:40:57 AM

I looked back in the book and interestingly found something that mentions close to the second half of what I had said. The book says in part "Estimates of the brain's speed of operation have ranged from 100 to 100,000 teraflops...", The Einstein Factor, Win Wenger and Richard Poe. But I know I've seen it (specifically around 100,000 teraflops) somewhere else too.

Studies show that the human brain approaches 100 percent retention.
November 11, 2001 3:49:43 AM

That's very interesting, because if IBM can build a 1 petaflop (1000 teraflop) super computer by 2005, as they are planning to do, then I wouldn't be surprised if there's a 100 petaflop super computer by 2015 (following Moore's law).

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
November 11, 2001 3:53:38 AM

After that its all up to the programmers (assuming someone doesn't write software that does the programming).

Studies show that the human brain approaches 100 percent retention.
November 11, 2001 4:08:45 AM

Well, we'd still have to work on the memory. That IBM super computer would have to have 35 terabytes of cache for <b>each</b> of it's million processors to equal 280 quintillion bits.

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
November 11, 2001 4:47:01 AM

Quote:
IBM can build a 1 gigaflop (1000 teraflop)


Mega<Giga<Tera<Peta
November 11, 2001 5:21:01 AM

With all due respect somerandomguy, the theory proprosed that we can replicate the human thought process ultimately through logic is itself unlikely. Logic is a fantastic thought process tool for getting at the nature of the workings of the universe but it is not a perfect or perhaps even accurate descriptive tool. Zeno's Paradox is a perfect example of this. For those of you who don't know the paradox states that logically for any object to move between two points it must first move half the distance between those two points. And then half the remaining distance, and then half that distance and so on. All statements are logical and true but if the statement were correct then no object could ever reach its destination there would always be half the distance to cover. We know for a fact that this is not true. So here we have just one breakdown in the power of logic. Of course I'm not saying we won't someday be able to create something that looks acts and behaves just like human. Just that logic may not be the train that gets us there. I'm probably getting too philisophical for this thread but... Oh well.
November 11, 2001 6:36:20 AM

I have to disagree with your statement. I think the way to replicate the brain would ultimately be through logic. Logic is also a fantastic thought process tool for building on the workings of the universe. The human brain is nothing more than a vast, extremely complex network of neurons (with some chemicals and hormones thrown in). We may have to employ the use of computers or software to build it for us but AI is inevitable and it will be done with some form of logic. Zeno's Paradox is nothing more than an example of logic that would be useless for the purpose, and therfore simply not used. I am interested to hear if you have any thoughts on how we will achieve AI if logic is not used.

Studies show that the human brain approaches 100 percent retention.
Anonymous
a b à CPUs
November 11, 2001 2:18:58 PM

"the theory proprosed that we can replicate the human thought process ultimately through logic is itself unlikely."

In the name of this discussion, I disagree. Inherent digitizing system error could be dealt with, or at least minimized to an acceptable level. Some error would be unavoidable given a manmade human simulation system (hardware/software/automated chemistry, sound, sight, feel IO /etc.), and at some level there is certainly error in all human/world interfaces too.

As to the paradox you mention: I don't really see how it applies here. Your paradox can be whisked away in a minute by looking at the newtonian mechanics of it. To make a long story short, your human body model is going to have a very hard time, ~infinity difficulty, following the path of halves.

I suggest that by far the biggest stumbling block to this fake human machine is understanding humans effectively. Creating the proper specification list for a human is the first and most important step of the design, but probably pretty much impossible using modern human theory. Besides, in order to give this thing a soul the software guys are going to have to write some serious code.
November 11, 2001 4:55:13 PM

I bet to differ. Neural conduction is based on electical conduction. Actually more on changing electrical fields. Consider the resting neuron. There is an electro-chemical gradient of chloride ions (negative charge) and potassium and sodium (positive charge) ions. So there is a potential difference of -75 mV across the cell membrane.
When an action potential crosses the synaptic cleft and stimulates the dendrites of our recipient neuron, a cyclic AMP cascade reaction causes the opening of ion channels allowing the ion concentraion gradient to run down and cause a local depolarisation. This changeing concentration of ions coupled with the changing E-field causes further depolaristions down the membrane causing depolariastions etc. until the action potential reaches a synapse, where an influx of chloride ions into the synpatic bulb causes neuro-transmitter vesicles to fuse with the synaptic membrane, realsesing neuro-transmittere (dopamine, seratonin, acetyl choline etc. ) into the synaptic cleft starting the process anew for another neurone.

So there is a transmission of potential difference as opposed to current (all though idealy the FET's have infinite input impedance).

Charlie

Woke up in Borneo one day, stuck in the pouch of a big marsupial, but the boat was made of marsipan!
November 11, 2001 10:59:50 PM

Quote:
Mega<Giga<Tera<Peta


Heh, just a typo. I meant to write Peta not Giga.

"Ignorance is bliss, but I tend to get screwed over."
!