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The Essence of IT


									The Essence of IT

     Prof Isaak
     Dec. 2003
          Bits are everything
 “Everything” can be represented in bits
  numbers, text, audio, video, smell, …
 In most cases with the ability to reproduce
  the original thing
 This is clearly the case with all concepts that
  can be expressed in language or pictures.
 For physical objects, the technology does
  not (yet) exist. [For DNA based life forms…]
Computers perform simple tasks
 Formulas:
  – Mathematics
  – String manipulation
 Which can be applied to any bit stream
 Computers can apply decision making criteria:
  IF criteria THEN do operation(s)
 Computers can iterate
  DO 100 times, or DO until robot reaches wall
   The Limitations of Computers
Complexity – millions of logic circuits
  the human brain has about 1 Trillion neural
[Single chip processors won’t reach this level of
  complexity until circa 2030]
Speed – millions of times faster than humans for
  functions both can perform
Programming – Computers are now being
  programmed to dynamically (and randomly)
  change their programs, and evaluate the results to
  determine which variations to retain.
               Future Impact
 What can a computer do in 2020?
 What limitations prevent a computer from
  doing XYZ???
  – conversing intelligently with humans
  – Creating patentable devices
  – Presenting plausible virtual reality avatars
  – Engaging more effectively in business
    transactions than humans
  – Replacing the job you currently do
             Faux Limitations
 Cost – double performance for relative dollar every
  18 months
 Speed – (also doubles 18 months)
 Complexity (also doubles 18 months)

What are the real limitations?
Which are a matter of “faith” vs physical law
Will we know when assumed limits are reached, or
       TransHuman Event Horizon
 Vernor Vinge:
  “The coming technological singularity”
 Develop “awake” computers (super-intelligent)
 Networks may “wake up”
 Biological improvement of Human intellect
 Human augmentation with computer techology
 Reverse engineering of human brain (2029?) [Ray
 Critiques:
            Ray Kurzweil Analysis
 Human Brain = 100 Billion (1011) neurons * 1000 (103)
  Connections/Neuron * 200 (2 * 102) Calculations Per Second Per
  Connection = 2 * 1016 Calculations Per Second
 Human Race = 10 Billion (1010) Human Brains = 2 * 1026
  Calculations Per Second
 We achieve one Human Brain capability (2 * 1016 cps) for $1,000
  around the year 2023.
 We achieve one Human Brain capability (2 * 1016 cps) for one cent
  around the year 2037.
 We achieve one Human Race capability (2 * 1026 cps) for $1,000
  around the year 2049.
 We achieve one Human Race capability (2 * 1026 cps) for one cent
  around the year 2059.

           Is this Academic?
 (What did you expect from a University?)
 Consider the less dramatic, short term
  – What will we be able to do with computers by
    2005, 2010, 2015…
  – Virtual Reality – how will this impact your
    business, your job?
  – Etc.
 Ray

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