Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Digital Vs. Analog

It's common wisdom that digital computers have taken over from analog ones... (Who even knows what a vacuum tube is these days?).

Or...have they. MIT researchers have come up with a chip that can accurately simulate a neural synapse. Of course, it's analog, because WE are analog computers. (Well, with a few more things going on we don't understand yet, some of which may well be beyond science).

The significance of this is not 'We can now make an artificial intelligence'. Instead, the most likely use of these chips will be to replace damaged parts of the brain after traumatic injury or in individuals born with brain damage.

Of course, as the chips may turn out to be faster than the natural version, they might also be used to enhance mental capabilities or as an interface between the analog world and the digital.

Cool stuff, if a little scary.