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After DigitalComputation as Done by Brains and Machines$
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James A. Anderson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199357789

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199357789.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 October 2021

The Past of the Future of Computation

The Past of the Future of Computation

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Past of the Future of Computation
After Digital

James A. Anderson

Oxford University Press

Hand axes, language, and computers are tools that increase our ability to deal with the world. Computing is a cognitive tool and comes in several kinds: digital, analog, and brain-like. An analog telephone connects two telephones with a wire. Talking causes a current to flow on the wire. In a digital telephone the voltage is converted into groups of ones or zeros and sent at high speed from one telephone to the other. An analog telephone requires one simple step. A digital telephone requires several million discrete steps per second. Digital telephones work because the hardware has gotten much faster. Yet brains constructed of slow devices and using a few watts of power are competitive for many cognitive tasks. The important question is not why machines are becoming so smart but why humans are still so good. Artificial intelligence is missing something important probably based on hardware differences.

Keywords:   telephones, cell phones, wired telephones, parallel, serial, modes of computation, Moore’s Law

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