The Wonders Man Has Made

By: Isaac Hake

Introduction

Countless books, reports, websites, and magazine articles have been written on the subject of “Can a computer version of the human brain be made?” If you are interested in the question of this being possible I encourage you to read on and discover things that you may not know.

Inside a computer there is a piece of hardware called a “printed circuit board” On that board there are dozens of little black “chips” with hundreds of thousands of small wires connecting them so that they can communicate. No one of those chips can do very much on its own. But working together they can complete an astonishing number of calculations in just seconds!

Obviously, it took generations of careful thought to create such a machine. If a computer is so amazing, our brains, which happened “by accident,” can’t be anywhere near as powerfully effective as the computers we have today. Right? If there aren’t already computers as good as the brain there will de soon. Right?

Well, no… The brain also has things very similar to “computer chips”. They are called neurons. They also have small “wires” connecting them together. Let’s compare the sum of perfectly organized wires in a computer to those of a human brain and see what happens:

Chips in a computer: Dozens. Possibly hundreds

Neurons in your brain: 100,000,000

Wires in a computer: 1,000,000 (At most)

“Wires” in the human brain: 20,000,000,000,000 Hmmm… That means that the brain 20,000-100,000 times more complex then your computer. That is a fairly decent difference if you ask me.

Computers aren’t as fast and efficient yet but computers in the future or even supercomputers we have today will be or are as fast and efficient as human brains!

Well, I don’t know about that. But I wouldn’t be too sure for a good few more years at least. Here’s why:

The fastest supercomputers in the world are complete slackers compared with the processing power of the human brain.

But that’s about to change.

The U.S Department of Energy announced Tuesday that IBM has won a $290 million contract to build two of the first computers capable of equaling the theoretical processing power of the human brain.

The combined processing power of the two computers will be half a quadrillion (500 trillion) calculations per second, more than 1.5 times the combined processing power of all 500 machines on the recently released Top 500 list of supercomputers.

“ASCI Purple,” slated to be completed in 2003, is expected to be the world’s first 100-teraflops supercomputer, capable of processing data almost three times faster than current supercomputers.

A human brain’s probable processing power is around 100 teraflops, roughly 100 trillion calculations per second, according to Hans Morvec, principal research scientist at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. This is based on factoring the capability of the brain’s 100 billion neurons, each with over 1,000 connections to other neurons, with each connection capable of performing about 200 calculations per second…

What you have just read is an article from Wired Magazine. Reading it sounds like it won’t be long till the brain will have to live with being second best, right? For decades men have prophesied that in the year in which we live right now there would be computers that were better than the human brain. Did it happen? No. Will it happen?

ASCI Purple, slated to be completed in 2003… Wired Magazine

Later:

ASCI Purple, which will be delivered to the DOE’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, Calif.) in stages between now and 2004… News Log

Later:

ASCI Purple, due to be running by the end of 2004… ZDNET

Later:

ASCI Purple will be delivered in stages between now and 2005… computerworld.com

Who knows when ASCI Purple will really come out?

If and when it does will it be as powerful as the human brain?

Well, listen to how the original article (Wired Magazine) continues:

…But human brains are still better than supercomputers in some respects.

ASCI Purple will have 50 terabytes (trillion bytes) of memory; Morvec estimates a brain to have a 100-terabyte capacity…

So, they have a ways to go. But they can get there. Maybe in a few years.

The world’s best, and most current hopes have only half as much memory as the brain.

Still think it will come? Well, maybe. But doubling the storage capacity might take a little while.

Do you still think that a computer with twice as much storage as your greatest hopes can be made with the next one-two years?

Perhaps one will be made. But if man achieved such a dream would the most daunting task be over with? Would it just take a few more “doubling my highest hopes” to create a man-made robot as fast and efficient as the human brain? Read on:

…Brains are portable; ASCI Purple will be the size of 197 refrigerator-size boxes covering 8,900 square feet (about the size of two basketball courts) and will weigh 197 tons. The average brain is 56 cubic inches and weighs 3.3 pounds…

Most people would say no. It will only be the opening for a slightly more daunting task. 394,000 pounds, in my mind, is an quite a bit compared to 3.3 pounds.

Are you sure that it is even possible for man to physically fit everything needed for a computer that makes 100,000,000,000,000 mathematical calculations every second into half the size of a human head?! It could be argued that, in time, this may be done. In time!

Surely, surely, if all that was completed, (we created a computer with twice as much storage as today’s biggest dream computer, and then reduced its size from two full-size basketball courts to less than half the size of a basketball without loosing any of it’s hard-earned speed…) Surely, then, at last, we would have achieved our goal and made the first man-made brain!

The answer: “No.” Read on:

The human brain is distinguished by its ability to think and create in addition to simply processing information quickly, said Wise Young, director of the Keck Neuroscience lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

That does represent a small problem, doesn’t it.

If you are into computer science, or even just computers in general, you know that the computer has no ability to reson. The slightest change in programming code will utterly confuse your computer. Does the computer even know it’s confused? No! It doesn’t know a single thing! It is an extremely advanced calculator. That is all. It does mathematical calculations; it must be fed exact information in order to function correctly. Even if generations were to sit down at the same computer until it could correctly reply to every single possible phrase, sentence, and word combination in the English language, would it know what it was doing when it responded? No! Could it teach a “young computer” how to do things? No! Could it become angry and plot? No! Would it have emotions? No! Would it know what it was? No! Would it in its chip of chips wish it had/were something else? No! Would it possess any creativity? No!

You can easily think of more examples of limitations.

Now make a computer think of some. (if you can)

Is it possible to create an equally fast, equally creative computer replica of the human brain with an equally large storage capacity the size of a cantaloupe? You answer that.

What I believe: I believe that the human brain was not simply an accident but a creation made by a supernatural Designer therefore making it impossible to be produced from scratch by man. I’m not arguing that computers will never compete with the human brain in any aspects at all. In fact, it is my belief that maybe, given lots time, a computer could/might be made as small as, with just as much storage space as, and as quick as the human brain.

What I do not believe:

I do not think there will ever be a time that any supercomputer will have

I. All four criteria for life:

A. To be able to reproduce

B. To be able to sense and respond to change

C. To contain deoxyribonucleic acid, (DNA)

D. To have a method by which it extracts energy from the surroundings and converts it into energy that sustains it.

II. The abilities of a person made in God’s image:

A. Creativity

B. Feelings

C. Reasoning

Though there have been great advancements in technology in the past few years I do not believe that a computer will ever be capable of replacing the human brain.

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