The memristors may finally be letting us see into the future when super computers can already think for themselves and learn new things like a human brain.
For so long, scientists have been experimenting with various materials in the hopes that they will somehow develop an electronic component that can be used as an artificial brain. Can you imagine the possibilities of having a computer that will think and act exactly like the human brain?
Dr. Andy Thomas, a professor at the Bielefeld University’s Department of Physics, is now studying the promise that memristors– electronic microcomponents than can imitate natural nerves—can bring. A year ago, Thomas and his team were already able to prove the promise of these microcomponents when they produced one that was capable of learning.
Today, Thomas is using the components as the blueprint to create an artificial brain. If successful, he would be able to manufacture a computer that would no longer need programming and regular updates.
These components are made of fine nanolayers that can connect with electric circuits. Memristors are often considered to be the electronic equivalent of synapses, which as you well know, are the bridges used by nerve cells or neurons to contact each other.
Synapses are dependent on earlier impulses. This means that if Thomas’ experiment is really what it say it is, then they can be able to learn and develop from past functions and commands.
Using Thomas’ components to create an artificial brain for computers will allow it to think for themselves and learn from the past. The possibility then for robots or machine-controlled devices went up a notch higher. If Thomas’ artificial brain proved to be successful, then a host of supercomputers and other systems can be created to make life a lot easier.
Aside from being energy-saving and more efficient, Thomas’ invention can also predictably lower the cost and the maintenance of the system.
However, there is a big predicament that Thomas and his team must face. There is, of course, a concern about how much information an artificial brain can understand and whether we, the users, can tell if the brain is already making erroneous decisions.
Plus, are we really ready to have a computer that will no longer depend on our commands? Can we already accept that computers can start functioning without us?
Thomas may be right in creating something that we have been waiting for so long. The ability of computers to think for themselves may be at the touch of our fingers already. However, is this something that society actually needs? Is this something that will benefit us in the long run? Having computers that will almost have the same functions as the human brain might actually mean less jobs and a machine-dependent society.
Thomas’ vision for the memristors is something that we only see in the movies, but perhaps, with this new development, there is much hope that we might live to see an artificial brain. Now, the only question would be how responsible can we be to use this kind of technology.