The promise, or specter — depending on your philosophical bent — of artificial intelligence has spellbound science fiction readers for generations. A machine that thinks like a human is both a thrilling and terrifying concept.
Today, forms of mechanical intelligence surround us daily, from vending machines to smartphones to supercomputers. Computers now routinely beat humans at games of chess, backgammon and checkers, are superior at driving a car, performing mathematical calculations or retrieving vast quantities of data.
However, humans still have the edge at things like recognizing hand-drawn characters or numbers, translation into different languages, experimental learning, the relevancy of information, conceptual thinking and understanding complex speech. Computers and organic brains work entirely differently, with computers running on a series of binary switches, while brains work on a quadrillion of interconnected biochemical neural synapses. Most importantly, human brains are remarkably energy efficient, consuming a small fraction of the energy that electronic brains do.
Now, scientists in South Korea have announced they have developed artificial synapses that are far more energy efficient, rivalling biological synapses. Tae-Woo Lee is a professor at the Pohang University of Science and Technology, who developed the new technology.
Tae-Woo Lee joined Monday 8 O’Clock Buzz host Brian Standing to speak about the breakthrough and its implications.