Can Computer Processors Beat the Human Mind in the Future?
This week, our Stump the Scientist was asked, “Can computer processors beat the human mind in the future?”
Here’s what Chief Scientist Jim Bray had to say! (See video below text)
This question would “stump all scientists” for a definitive answer, and that is why this subject is grist for many science fiction books and movies. The question allows legitimate speculation but no definite answers yet. One of the reasons for this uncertainty is that, while we know how our computers work, we don’t know exactly how the human brain computes or even how it stores information (memories). Therefore, we don’t know exactly what problem we are up against when we try to equal or beat the brain with computer processors. Some scientists believe that the brain is a “Turing machine”, meaning that it does function like a computer processor, while others believe that it contains elements, such as quantum components, that make it basically different.
If the former opinion is true, then computer processors should be able to compete completely when they get complex enough, predicted by some to be in 10 -20 years, and the question of a computer becoming conscious may arise. Then all our science-fiction stories of human-like robots might come true. If the latter opinions are true, computers as we now know them may never be the equals of brains or “conscious”; some other type of machine may be required. Already, for certain types of problems like playing chess, computers can beat the best humans. On the other hand, human brains still excel greatly at problems like pattern recognition, analysis of emotions, and creative thinking.