Monday, September 22, 2008

Knowlege - Or Something Like It

I was recently speaking to a group about the change in understanding & knowledge between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the Middle Ages, the church was the source of all ultimate truth. By the end of the Renaissance (or at least by the Enlightenment) science was thought to have taken the church's place; people had come to believe that if it wasn't quantifiable, visible, measurable (aka physical and tangible), then it wasn't truth.

I was reminded of this today when I came across the bold claims that by 2023 "it will only take a $1,000 computer to exceed the capabilities of the human brain." and "that by 2049" a $1,000 computer will exceed the computational capabilities of the human race." I don't doubt the ability of a computer to make superior computations. But that's very different from the ability to think, reason, make moral judgments, etc. (Go rent the 1983 movie War Games for a story about how well computers can make life & death decisions - G.I.G.O. ;~)

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