It’s just a matter of time before they send a cyborg back in time looking for Sarah Conner.

A new breakthrough in computing, in the form of a new kind of computer chip set to be released next year is upon us. This new computing approach will allow for the automation of certain computer tasks that now require programming from a human. The technology is based on the human nervous system and allows computers to absorb new information while completing tasks and adjust what they do based off of external stimuli.

Via The New York Times:

The new computing approach, already in use by some large technology companies, is based on the biological nervous system, specifically on how neurons react to stimuli and connect with other neurons to interpret information. It allows computers to absorb new information while carrying out a task, and adjust what they do based on the changing signals.

In coming years, the approach will make possible a new generation of artificial intelligence systems that will perform some functions that humans do with ease: see, speak, listen, navigate, manipulate and control. That can hold enormous consequences for tasks like facial and speech recognition, navigation and planning, which are still in elementary stages and rely heavily on human programming.

Kwabena Boahen holding a biologically inspired processor - image via Erin Lubin/The New York Times

Kwabena Boahen holding a biologically inspired processor – image via Erin Lubin/The New York Times

Designers say the computing style can clear the way for robots that can safely walk and drive in the physical world, though a thinking or conscious computer, a staple of science fiction, is still far off on the digital horizon.

“We’re moving from engineering computing systems to something that has many of the characteristics of biological computing,” said Larry Smarr, an astrophysicist who directs the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology, one of many research centers devoted to developing these new kinds of computer circuits.

Conventional computers are limited by what they have been programmed to do. Computer vision systems, for example, only “recognize” objects that can be identified by the statistics-oriented algorithms programmed into them. An algorithm is like a recipe, a set of step-by-step instructions to perform a calculation. Read More Here…