The future of computing power

In this article at Korea’s JoongAng Daily, the President of Lucent Technologies research division states that by 2060, computer CPUs will have the capacity of every human brain combined. That’s a pretty bold prediction, but perhaps not as farfetched as we might think. For those familiar with Ray Kurzweil (more here), the futurist, author, inventor, and AI expert you might recall he predicted in the 1990s that by 2019 the PC will have the processing power of one human brain. By 2029, 1,000 human brains.

Needless to say, computational capacity of big computing machines remains a salient issue, but rarely is it put into terms of human brain processing. One claim has the human brain capable of nearly 20-million-billion calculations per second. But who really knows how accurate that is.

One Response to “The future of computing power”

  1. /dev/null Says:

    Well, given that CPUs keep getting more powerful, and my brain doesn’t, a crossover point is simply a matter of time. What I wonder about is how we map out capability and capacity for the human brain…. important monikers in the HPC lexicon.

    We all know that old-school measures of intellect, such as playing chess, have been shown to be useless — they are relatively straightforward computational tasks. Similarly, for the brain, “capacity” is now dwarfed by Google’s library program where they continue to scan libraries and the planet’s knowledge base. No doubt computers will know more facts than any human, and because of this amazing feat, will be able to do cluster analysis and compute which authors influenced (or stole) style, and from whom, along with lots of other great data tricks.

    However, when it comes to “capability”, the brain is really good at decision making in the presence of inconclusive data.

    So while there may be more data in Google than in any human’s brain, and a blue-colored computer can play chess and calculate the weather, when will a computer have the ability to make better decisions than a small child, teenager, adult, or CEO…

    Where is the Richter Scale or Hurricane Scale for human capability computing, and will computers exceed our capability in 30 yrs, or 300 yrs?

    Until the software changes completely, comparing transitors and neurons is hopeless. We need the Richter decision-making scale for capability thinking… in effect, bio-obsolecense.

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