Tag Archives: Computer

The empty brain


In Our Own Image, Author: George Zarkadakis.
The Computer and the Brain, Author: John von Neumann.
How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed, Author: Ray Kurzweil.
Remembering, Author: Frederic Bartlett.
The Future of the Brain, Author: Steven Rose.

By Robert Epstein – Here is what we are not born with: information, data, rules, software, knowledge, lexicons, representations, algorithms, programs, models, memories, images, processors, subroutines, encoders, decoders, symbols, or buffers – design elements that allow digital computers to behave somewhat intelligently.

Not only are we not born with such things, we also don’t develop them – ever.

We don’t store words or the rules that tell us how to manipulate them. We don’t create representations of visual stimuli, store them in a short-term memory buffer, and then transfer the representation into a long-term memory device. We don’t retrieve information or images or words from memory registers. Computers do all of these things, but organisms do not.

Computers, quite literally, process information – numbers, letters, words, formulas, images. The information first has to be encoded into a format computers can use, which means patterns of ones and zeros (‘bits’) organized into small chunks (‘bytes’).

Computers really do operate on symbolic representations of the world. They really store and retrieve. They really process. They really have physical memories. They really are guided in everything they do, without exception, by algorithms.

Humans, on the other hand, do not – never did, never will.

Given this reality, why do so many scientists talk about our mental life as if we were computers? more> https://goo.gl/MkaP9H


The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic


Principia Mathematica, Authors: Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell.
The Ego and the Id, Author: Sigmund Freud.

By Amanda Gefter – Their building block was the proposition—the simplest possible statement, either true or false. From there, they employed the fundamental operations of logic, like the conjunction (“and”), disjunction (“or”), and negation (“not”), to link propositions into increasingly complicated networks. From these simple propositions, they derived the full complexity of modern mathematics.

Which got Warren McCulloch thinking about neurons. He knew that each of the brain’s nerve cells only fires after a minimum threshold has been reached: Enough of its neighboring nerve cells must send signals across the neuron’s synapses before it will fire off its own electrical spike. It occurred to McCulloch that this set-up was binary—either the neuron fires or it doesn’t.

A neuron’s signal, he realized, is a proposition, and neurons seemed to work like logic gates, taking in multiple inputs and producing a single output. By varying a neuron’s firing threshold, it could be made to perform “and,” “or,” and “not” functions. more> http://goo.gl/ywv7iQ

Buying our way out of the IPO era

By Jill Priluck – Dell was so small that the IPO wasn’t mentioned in the New York Times. At around $12 million, or $23 million in 2013 dollars, the book value of Dell’s common stock likely would have been too low to entice a modern-day Goldman Sachs, one of its lead underwriters. But Dell’s IPO was a winner. In two months, its stock price jumped from 19 cents to $8.50 per share. By the end of the year, it had made $159 million in sales.

Last week, Dell announced a stunning $24.4 billion leveraged buyout. If the plan manages to survive, it will allow Dell to reboot his ailing company free from the public glare. The deal is the largest of its kind since 2008, but it’s also notable because it marks the waning of the public company era. more> http://tinyurl.com/aqymycj

ENIAC, world’s first digital computer, turns 66


English: ENIAC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania G...

Image @Wikipedia

By Michael Cooney – Introduced to the world on Feb. 14, 1946, the ENIAC — Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer — was developed by the University of Pennsylvania’s John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert under a 1943 contract with the U.S. Army. It was the world’s first large-scale electronic general-purpose digital computer, and its development was the birth of large computing systems that dominated the industry for years to come. Here we take a quick look at its development and history. more> http://is.gd/obAJol