Decades of Artificial Intelligence sitting on the bench might to be coming to an end. Two recent articles detail renewed research into neuron-based cognitive modeling which could lead to information processing technology that more closely mimics the way our brains function. This approach is not new, neural networks have been around since the 60s but research seemed to hit a brick wall, only offering limited benefits based on mathematical computation.
Why do we want computers that work like the brain? Well, one of the big advantages wetware has over its current binary counterpart is its ability to do complex pattern matching with relative ease. This ability is the foundation for vision, hearing, and some think understanding iteself, all areas where today’s computational techniques fall woefully short.
It’s good to know that big commercial organizations like IBM still have the commitment to invest in fundamental research. No doubt they’re looking to patent whatever methods come out of this work but at least they are contributing to the science. Others should follow their lead.