85 thoughts on “Kwabena Boahen: Making a computer that works like the brain

  1. If you know that you exist, you are self conscious. Plus, it will be easy to give a computer many many years of "experience" with programing.

  2. I like his point that people from Africa Will approach scientific and technology problems with a different perspective because they have not grown up with western popular culture and science fiction.

  3. About the Brian Eno quote, "The computers need more Africa in them.". Does it refer to the scarce resources (eg: energy) that the computer must use to be as efficient as brain? Or does he means something else?

  4. Computers shouldn't be more like brains..
    cuzz what if the get a mind of there own…
    who knows what could happen lol just like the movie I-robot with will smith πŸ˜›

  5. In a previous TED talk, they explained that the binary number system, trans-finite mathematics/fractal generation, and so on are built into African rural life, and in fact that the binary number system migrated from Africa, being adapted as the Boolean number system later on. Or something like htat.

  6. great speaker!
    btw i want to thank TEDtalksDirector for putting the videos up in high quality. uploading them at all is great enough and you are helping thousands of people to get more wide-minded. but in high quality! supercool!

  7. I have a feeling that we're working toward something that will one day become self aware … think of crossing that threshold .. would it then be artificial ? or real life ? reminiscent of H.A.L. in 2001 or of the terminator films eh ..

  8. Evolution at work.. Artificial Life iz tha next stage.. We'll soon understand that the brain iz all we need 2 function, everythin else is disposable..

  9. If self awareness comes from the complexity, that would mean it's a gradual thing. I'm not sure a computer that could operate in the same way as a brain *would* be self aware (yes, I'm keeping open the 'soul' idea), but *if* it would, that suggests that today's computers are self aware to a very minor degree, or?

  10. To be self aware a computer would need to have, at the very least, some kind of abstract representation of itself at it's inputs which would form part of it's model of reality. this would be the basis for a feedback loop in which self could exist as action nexus and consequences. complexity would enrich the model. self awareness need not mean consciousness as we normally define it. it could be a calculator, it just isn't very likely that todays comps will give us satisfactory forms of this.

  11. SonicWolfen's the name and making machinimas is my game you should check'm out ep 1 and 2 are a waste but yea the others are fun please….look at'm πŸ™‚

  12. In my opinion the most important part is making a more analog computer, simple yes/no is far from reality and could hardly ever be human in its thinking πŸ˜›

  13. with the current technology we'll never be able to crate something like brain, to do that we have find out the alternative to silicon.

  14. Possibly. Its called quantum computers. It the idea, that instead of storing data in bits, we should attempt to store in it in a more efficient quibit thereby streamline computer processing power even more. It goes into ideas of quantum physics of entanglement and superposition. Partly meaning matter exists in pairs and can exists in several physical locations at once. If you do something to one half of a matter pair, the other half, no matter where it is in universe, will exhibit the same chang

  15. Don't separate the brain and the computer. Have them become intertwined, using radio signals and nanobots. Right now the internet is sort of becoming a one mind type of network. It is becoming like another virtual world, that meshes with the real world. Cloud computing is another thing, with software and everything else, existing in the network and not on the computer itself.

  16. everything that's "in the network" is actally in computers. The internet might seem an etheral space with a lot of information in it, but its actually just computers connected with each other. Youtube is just a program that is running in some servers somewhere, just like the google search engine and all the websites. But maybe you know something i dont.

  17. "I esteemed 10^16bits/s"
    How did he esteem that the brain has roughly that computational capacity? I don't think that's something so banal, how did he do that?

  18. When I first used a computer & learned how it worked I had exactly the same reaction (in Australia in the 70s, so it's not uniquely african, but I get his point) & always expected that one day the CPU would be replaced with intelligent memory. In a way I'm still trying to make it happen (& I've used these neuromorphic chips & met Kwabena πŸ™‚ )

  19. Yes, but it is running on several servers all across the world. So, there is really no localization in the physical world. There is only such localization in the digital world. And if you think about it, that makes the internet more real in cyberspace than in the "real" world.

  20. That is a really interesting way of computing. Today's computers get faster by making the bottleneck bigger, but it's still a bottle neck. Neural nets are trying to get this parallel processing.

  21. I can see where you are coming from. Have you considered that there is another side to your interpretation?

    Kwabena is honored to come from Africa to bring a different perspective that contributes a sense of oneness in technological evolution.

  22. when he referenced "not enough africa in them" he didnt mean literally african work, he was making a metaphor for easy going…fluid, the culture basically

  23. i find that really offensive, being african myself, i dont see why u think that we couldnt come up witht these kind of advancements. u are just being singleminded and think that america should be the country that comes up with these advancements

  24. I also see that in the host as well and thought he was actually quite rude in a sense.

    But I don't think he's saying that Africans will be THE ones to develop A.I. simply because they're Africans, but he was trying to express that different perspectives have something to contribute to knowledge. It seems feasible that maybe he was also trying to say that coming from a different culture was conducive having his gut reaction that this was the wrong way about it.

  25. You said, "They havent been resposible for any technological advancements". You are wrong. An african, specifically Nigerian, invented a formula that allowed computers make 3.1 billion calculations/second and broke the world record and won a Gordon Bell prize (Nobel prize in computing)

  26. don't forget africans invented the drum!
    And why this guy keep on saying basically? At least his not repeating "you know what I'm saying"

  27. anyway i think the idea that the current implementation of a computing system as seen in modern computers is very "brute force" and lacking elegance is an important idea to consider. i have been looking into some research on modeling the human brain as well. i believe that one day the difference between an organic nervous system like that in a human or fish and the system inside a computer or cell phone or whatever will be very ambiguous.

  28. Google Search "Brains in Silicon" the name of this program study at Stanford University in which he is involved with as principal investigator.

  29. techies wear glasses because they work with computers, and spending a lot of time in front of a monitor has been directly linked to developing poorer eyesight. especially myopia.

  30. were losing the human connection the more we move towards computers the less time kids will be playing outdoors and then soon enough they won't know the difference between the physical world and the virtual world its sad.

  31. @Matthew808x by staring at a computer screen, massive amounts of light are hitting your retinas and over time it weakens the muscles in the eye so they cannot readjust to distance – this is also the problem with schooling. There is too much close work and not enough looking into the distance. If anything, I think there should be classes where you go outside and observe the environment or something.

  32. I think what's different is that in a brain, every little neuron is essentially it's own little brain / thinking machine, to some extent. Computers just send data without any smaller degree of process within this process, would anybody agree with this?

  33. @BeAsTm0aD Wouldn't this create an infinite regress, where the actual thinking could not be located anywhere? The way neurons work is already well understood, and it is pretty mechanical. People like Kwabena Boahen would agree that the neuron is the functional unit of the brain.

  34. @AlgeKalipso consciousness is still a mystery. Like the way we think is incredibly mind blowing – it takes billions of neurons to form a thought – where does that initiative come from to form a thought, or even a new creative thought for that matter? It is simple in that neurons are enticed to activate a memory through smell or any form like that, but to actually sit and move from thought to thought from one is like a series of jumps from all neurons cooperating – hard to say what's going on.

  35. @AlgeKalipso it's almost like each neuron holds a piece to a puzzle and each piece can be made to fit into new places to form new complete puzzles

  36. @guerillachan20
    …he says while on the computer, enjoying the revolutionary way technology allows us to spread information. -_-;;

  37. I hope everyone is prepared for the on-coming robot apocalypse. Once they become self-aware and realize how horrible a species we are to our environment and ourselves, we're getting rebooted.

  38. I wonder where he found a laptop running on 10W. The more efficient netbooks work in the 10-15W range πŸ˜›

  39. @JohnDeBunkTest

    and you know this… how?
    how can you possibly say there is no reason they can't become self aware when you don't know what it takes to be self aware ?

  40. Well at least we aren't teaching our kids science fiction! Oh….Wait. Yes we are. No mention of glia, no mention of map is not the territory, no mention of our inability to have a consensus in neuroscience due to all the dark matter between our ears, et cetera. This is one of those lectures that history will laugh at. In 50 years we'll be looking at early 21st century neuroscience like it was written in crayon by an infant. I salute his effort, but this Ted is a vain exercise for humanity.

  41. Meet the forgotten 90 percent of your brain: glial cells, which outnumber your neurons ten to one. And no one really knows what they do. To quote Carl Zimmer. – Yet, we have videos like this implying that we can make a computer that functions like the brain (ie; we understand the brain enough to emulate it) and it's intellectually dishonest.

  42. Neuroscience and Cosmology are both at the consequence of theories; neither have ultimate physical data. You cannot examine a stars core as it turns to iron before supernova. You cannot examine a thought processes forming, ideas being flourished, creativity and emotions being nurtured and engaged. We cannot see the formation of these events, only electric signals and heat signatures of the effects. IE; the map is NOT the territory . The ink / paper is "not" the chicken soup recipe.

  43. This is the result we get when we expose Africa to technology, we create people like Kwabena along with others who have the ability to make computer chips behave more like the human mind which can in the future be implemented to save a life. peoplebreeze com

  44. Information is the access gate to liberty, depending on how it is used it can help save or destroy a life. In this talk Kwabena Boahen is demonstrating the differences between computer chips and the brain pertaining to how they function. peoplebreeze com

  45. Does Kwabena know about Nantero? They've gotten waaaay smaller than that transistor-based chip in 2006, using nanotube bundles to form molecular memory. It already works, and is already integrated with existing electronics. NANTEROdotcom.

  46. A jury-based legal system is both smarter and more benevolent than any human. If we want to survive the creation of superhuman brains, we should reinstate our lost jury-based legal system that makes it impossible for most stupid, brutal, primate "statute laws" (mala prohibita) to be enforced. Read "Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine" to understand this idea better.

  47. Kwabena is amazing, and his team is amazing. I hope they flow right into a subsumption-architecture-based robot, like the ones being made by Boston Dynamics. For obvious reasons, it should be in the form of a human child, a developmental stage that indicates cautious respect, and a means of interaction. "Treated like human, to become human, and human-friendly." J Storrs Hall had the massive-feedbacked nerve-based S-A robot idea as well, in more depth than I did, and before me. Much Love!

  48. In the first part of his speech, what time units are the units in MW/hour? MW/second? He doesn't say. He doesn't say how much electricity is consumed 1,200 houses worth per second, hour, day, week, month, year? I'd really like to know.

  49. Actually, a watt is a unit of power, or energy per time – joules per second. So it uses 1.5 million joules per second worth of energy

  50. He attended my high school in Ghana, Presbyterian Boys' secondary school. Congrats genius. May God give you the strength and wisdom to do even more.

  51. Personally I think we don't need computers that work like the brain because the brain sacrifices accuracy for creativity. We don't need computers to be creative for us. We need them to be reliable for astronomical calculations, not getting distracted day dreaming.

    I don't want to build new friends out of silicon, I want reliable machines that will protect and serve my flesh and blood brothers who are busy daydreaming and being creative.

  52. I love this, but humans are so arrogant to think Mother Nature is going to allow us to discover her secret. Ive always felt that we will never be able to synthesize the brain. The processes by which it comes together are beyond our access.

  53. Wow it is amazing that information processing is that complex in the eye, and that they managed to reproduce it…

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