Big Picture Science – Living Computers

by Gary Niederhoff on December 8, 2014


Big Picture Science – Living Computers

It’s the most dramatic technical development of recent times: Teams of people working for decades to produce a slow-motion revolution we call computing. As these devices become increasingly powerful, we recall that a pioneer from the nineteenth century – Ada Lovelace, a mathematician and Lord Byron’s daughter – said they would never surpass human ability. Was she right?

We consider the near-term future of computing as the Internet of Things is poised to link everything together, and biologists adopt the techniques of information science to program living cells.

Plus: What’s your favorite sci-fi computer?

Listen to individual segments here:
Part 1: Walter Isaacson / The Innovators
Part 2: Christopher Voigt / Programming Living Cells
Part 3: Andre & Andy / Iconic A.I.
Part 4: John Barrett / Internet of Things

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar David Harper February 24, 2015 at 1:22 am

Calling it a slow motion revolution depends on your frame of reference. Given your typical astronomical point of view, the 60ish years of computing’s evolution is an eyeblink. You claim that the Holocene is giving way to the Anthropocene; your argument is convincing. But what I think you are omitting from the discussion is how computing will evolve, and how quickly it will supplant the Anthropocene. What shall we call it, and so give it a conceptual framework?

There is also a revolution happening in the physics, chemistry and biological sciences (largely due to computing). All four sciences are being mingled and cross breed. It seems obvious that these Anthropocene technologies are pressing the Universe’s evolution into an age of cyber intelligence, which will make human intelligence obsolete.

So shall we call it the Cyberocene, maybe Intellocene or i-ocene?

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