Will More Speed and Information Make Intelligent Systems Smarter?

As computer technology adapts to fit into the modern age, the hope of many is that at some point computers will be able to aggregate so much information that they will start to exhibit properties that are in the same class as human intellect. Adding more information to the pile, increasing memory capacity, and higher processing speeds, though being a perfect combination for producing more efficient databases, by no means brings computer processing closer to being a substitute for human intellect.

As things stand, simple hand held calculators can often solve many math problems far quicker than human intellect. The speed advantage of a set of computer chips over the human brain, when it comes to executing an algorithm to rapidly reach a solution, simply gives the calculator the ability to engage the problem and rip through it faster. Unfortunately, the calculator is unaware that it is even carrying out the complex steps of a mathematics problem. In other words, to program a calculator or a computer with an algorithm, which it blindly executes to reach a solution, requires no intellect on the part of the calculator or computer whatsoever. The intellect comes from the programmer who outlines the algorithmic path that the calculator or computer is required to take to reach a solution it does not even begin to understand.

The Human Element

What makes humans different from mere calculators and computers is that we approach problems, not so much with the goal to rip through an algorithm at top speed, but rather with an inherent desire to understand what we are doing when solving a problem. Computer chips, on the other hand, harbor no sense of desire in this respect. Even if they are programmed to simulate such a desire, the program itself is little more than a simulation of the real thing. In this respect, looks can be deceiving to the untrained eye.

Computer

The Data Pile

The other side of this misconception about intellect is that more information makes computers more intelligent. Today computers can pass and hold more information in their memory buffers to juggle than is even possible for a human to keep up with. Yet, if intellect is born purely out of the size of the information pile, this begs the question of at which point does the number of bits a computer stores reach a point where adding one more bit makes the computer transition from being non-intelligent to having intellect? Unfortunately, there is no such magic value. Computers seem to be more intelligent in certain engagements because the programmers programming them to behave as such are themselves learning to program computers in more intelligent ways to get more human like simulated responses. From a logical standpoint, although memory and information are two necessary conditions that must be present for a computer to have the potential to harbor intellect, such conditions are not logically sufficient enough to bring the computer beyond the simulation state in order to give rise to genuine intellect.

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Ajay is Tech blogger. He contributes to the Blogging, Gadgets, Social Media and Tech News section on TechFrill.