Computers and Study of the Brain, in ’64

Posted on July 30, 2019


Quote from MIT Technology Review – 1964
I was curious to look at what the MIT review was writing about in October 1964, however MIT’s archive does not have that copy, but it does have November’s and in there was a discussion on computers and the brain.
Here is a quote that struck me,  from an article called Computers and the study of the brain”
Screenshot 2019-07-30 at 16.54.31
Those who prefer that their approach be known under the label of “artificial intelligence” emphasize that while engineers do their share of studying nature, they rarely choose to imitate nature slavishly in the solution of a particular problem. By concentrating upon a limited set of objectives, cognitive technologists may discover novel, short-cut solutions to problems that now seem forbidding and in the process may help us view human cognitive behavior in novel ways.
Some scientists and engineers are particularly con- cerned with man-machine interactions. Their substan- tive problems range from command and control to the programing of teaching machines. Their proximity to, or symbiotic relationship with, computers enables them to distill a certain wisdom regarding the ways in which computers and brains differ or can be made to match.
It is interesting, that even back in ’64 when computers were very simple, that the study of how they can interact with people, work like the brain (in symbol processing etc)
I like the fact that “Artificial Intelligence” was having to focus on a “limited set objectives”, that must have been very limited because computer back then were c. 10,000 slower than your mobile phone is today.
Here we are 55 years later (am I really that old) and we are not much further along, because our AI solutions are still very much limited to specific problems. Hopefully not for much longer.
So there you have it, back in ’64 AI and cognitive technologies were being developed, just like now, ‘cept we can perform image recognition, place and understand objects in 3D, and classify the contents of the video stream, locally on our phones, but honestly not a lot more.
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