Computers Versus Brains

Why are so many conversations about computes and brains figured assome epic battle, like T-Rex versus triceratops, "Computers versusBrains," in a very nice science blog by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang thatnonetheless falls into the science fiction trap of configuring therelationship as agonistic rather than complementary. Can't we all justget along? Here's my response to their piece which you can read intoday's NY Times at


I admire the work of Aamodt and Wang very much, yet wonder, even inthis piece, if there isn?t some science fiction narrative formula atwork in the very title ?Computers vs. Brains.? It is as if T-Rex isstill battling triceratops. It is not a death struggle of twocompetitor species. Human brains created computers. And, hey, can?t weall get along? I can use my brain to help out my Mac tell the cat fromthe dog as long as my trusty Mac will let me search and retrieve allthe world?s knowledge on line, perform instantaneous calculations, andso forth. In other words, the binaristic structure of the argumentreduces the capacity (and the model) of both computers and brains. I amconvinced that the next generation of AI will be as collaborative andinteractive as the Internet, HCI 3.0 may get rid of ?versus?altogether. Computers [heart] Brains, and vice versa.



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