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Human Limits

Page history last edited by Richard Karpinski 14 years, 10 months ago

Limitations to human intelligence


We have little experience with non-biological intelligences which approach or exceed human ones, so we are prone to make major mistakes while contemplating them. A key feature of human brain function, well established by cognitive science, is that we have only a singular focus of attention.


Very few of even our best application developers consciously attend to this vital fact. Jef Raskin's book, "The Humane Interface" explains in some detail why modes get in our way and should be eliminated as much as possible from our software. This implies that train of thought breakers like modal dialog boxes should be banned.


But computers these days are forcing us to handle multiple compute engines operating in parallel. This is causing developers considerable difficulty, since programming parallel processors is so hard. While it used to affect only supercomputer programmers, nowadays most new computer cpu chips have multiple cores.


On the other hand, this also implies that the super-human machine intelligences we are discussing will NOT be limited to a single focus of attention. Perhaps we should start thinking of them as societies of mechanical minds. A well managed society of that sort can teach itself, by trial and evaluation, to avoid getting stuck in local minima, by encouraging some fraction of the separate calculating engines to pursue both slightly and majorly less likely avenues toward a desired goal set. That doesn't guarantee success, but it sure gives such a system a better chance than an individual, unitary, focus of attention would allow.


Don't worry. Be happy.


The death of the path of increasing speed of uni-processors is forcing us into building systems better able to surpass the limitations that create major problems for human intelligence.


This was a comment to http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/23354/page1

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