In what is simply the most top-down example of delusion possible, IBM has snookered the Advanced Research Projects Agency DARPA of the Pentagon to pony up cash for another absurd ‘breakthrough’. In IBM unveils chips that mimic the human brain we learn of IBM‘s newest make believe.
“IBM has unveiled a new experimental computer chip that it says mimics the human brain in that it perceives, acts and even thinks.
It terms the machines built with these chips “cognitive computers”, claiming that they are able to learn through experience, find patterns, generate ideas and understand the outcomes.”
The focus should be on IBM‘s admission that this chip ‘mimics’ the human brain.
Dictionary.com’s second defition of ‘mimic’ hits the nail on the head:
to imitate in a servile or unthinking way
Imitation is not thinking.
To imitate is to “to follow or endeavor to follow as a model or example.”
A number of years ago the science of Artificial Intelligence split into top down and bottom up fields.
Christian Hubert explains it this way:
Attempts to create artificial intelligence (AI) have been characterized by two different approaches: top down and bottom up.
for top down AI, the material substrate of the brain is irrelevant, and so are the patterns of neurons firing, etc. Instead, strong AI researchers of the top down bent try to construct “rules of thought” through representation in symbols and and rules to combine symbol strings into new, cognitively meaningful ones. Newell and Simon’s GPS (generalized problem solver) epitomized the top-down approach of the 1960’s. (During this time the paradigm of the computer was the centralized unit accessible only through the “priesthood” of computer programmers.)
Bottom up research believes that the “general architecture” of the brain does matter. For neurophysiologists and computer connectionists the characteristic features of the brain that are important for AI are: large numbers of simple processors, operating in massive parallelism, that are unprogrammed and adaptable.
Simply put, if anything is made that does not work from the structure of the thing attempting to be imitated, then it is nothing but artificial. It certainly is not thinking. Under the logic of IBM and DARPA, one could build a soapbox derby car and call it an advance in mimicing a Rolls Royce.
Back to IBM:
IBM states that the chips, while certainly not biological, are inspired by the architecture of the human brain in their design. Digital silicon circuits make up what it terms the “neurosynaptic core”.
The scientists have built two working prototype designs. Both cores contain 256 neurons, one with 262,144 programmable synapses and the other with 65,536 learning synapses. The team has successfully demonstrated simple applications like navigation, machine vision, pattern recognition, associative memory and classification.
Question: what does IBM define as neuron as? A switch of course. There is nothing else a chip could do. Neurons are not switches. Imagine the neuron as a switch. On is transmitting. Off is not transmitting. Gee, ya think? No it isn’t thinking to have off mean nothing. The human brain is not a binary computer, yet IBM thinks it is, or perhaps we should say, needs it to be in order to keep the DARPA money flowing.
Just another waste of tax payer cash and a cool headline or two for human ignorance. Top-Down reverse engineering is like leading from behind.