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The Technological Singularity: When could reality become like the Terminator?

Why Computers having 0.01% of the brain’s intelligence is concerning

Human speech recognition has finally become a possibility in the 21st century. This is a big deal. Now our smartphones can listen to human commands and provide an appropriate response, even if the commands are given in various different accents. Computers now have the equivalent intelligence of a two-year-old. In order to currently simulate one second of human brain activity, it takes the fourth-fastest computer in the world 40 minutes.

The Advent of True Artificial Intelligence

I’m going to start by bursting your bubble first. It’s going to feel like the first time when someone told you Santa Claus didn’t exist (sorry to all the kids reading this). Siri is not artificial intelligence. Neither is Google Glass. No software that we have on the planet is “artificial intelligence” because software cannot learn on its own. It has to be programmed by a human.

Whoever invents or discovers artificial intelligence first will have a huge technological advantage. We have all had software that doesn’t do what you want it to do. What if you can simply “tell” it to behave a certain way and it would comply? That would be artificial intelligence. Once our computers can dissect each and every element of our language and change the way they behave based on our directions, only then will computers approach true artificial intelligence.

How far away are we?

I’m going to use some oversimplified assumptions to find out how long it will take for computers to get to the power of the human brain. Going by the previous estimate that the computational time to real time is 40 minutes to 1 second, a computer would need to be 2400 times faster in order to simulate the human brain. If Moore’s Law allows computer power to double every two years, and assuming we don’t reach the limit anytime soon, we can turn this into an equation in the form of:


Solving for t gives a value of around 23 years, so definitely within most of our lifetimes. Sca-ree.

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