Friday, November 20, 2009

The Breadth of Intelligence - Raw and Cooked

I've previously posted about Nim Chimpsky and his fate. The same issues of intelligence on language-enabled gorillas is once again coming to the forefront.

A Gorilla named Koko adopts a kitten for a pet. This video is extremely moving and raises many questions about intelligence.



On another end of the spectrum, IBM announced significant progress toward creating a computer system that simulates and emulates the brain’s abilities for sensation, perception, action, interaction and cognition, while rivaling the brain’s low power and energy consumption and compact size.
Scientists, at IBM Research - Almaden, in collaboration with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, have performed the first near real-time cortical simulation of the brain that exceeds the scale of a cat cortex and contains 1 billion spiking neurons and 10 trillion individual learning synapses.

Additionally, in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, IBM scientists have developed an algorithm that exploits the Blue Gene® supercomputing architecture in order to noninvasively measure and map the connections between all cortical and sub-cortical locations within the human brain using magnetic resonance diffusion weighted imaging. Mapping the wiring diagram of the brain is crucial to untangling its vast communication network and understanding how it represents and processes information.

These advancements will provide a unique workbench for exploring the computational dynamics of the brain, and stand to move the team closer to its goal of building a compact, low-power synaptronic chip using nanotechnology and advances in phase change memory and magnetic tunnel junctions. The team’s work stands to break the mold of conventional von Neumann computing, in order to meet the system requirements of the instrumented and interconnected world of tomorrow.

As the amount of digital data that we create continues to grow massively and the world becomes more instrumented and interconnected, there is a need for new kinds of computing systems – imbued with a new intelligence that can spot hard-to-find patterns in vastly varied kinds of data, both digital and sensory; analyze and integrate information real-time in a context-dependent way; and deal with the ambiguity found in complex, real-world environments.


In short, the technological singularity is precisely advancing as predicted by Ray Kurzweil. A computer intelligence is now as smart as a cat.

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