Sunday, March 6, 2011

Time Machine :: Human Camera :: Watson

Time Machine

I'm trying to restore my Apple Time Machine - after a hard disk upgrade my time machine backup has choked on the extra large data set.  It gets quite complicated but in the end, the machine can not reconcile that the new data is just a continuation of the old data and it should just piece it all together in one continuous flow of information.  At last the machine breaks down.  It can not see the forest for the trees.  It has no big picture overview of the scene.

This same day my father-in-law sends me this YouTube video of the "Human Camera"

Beautiful Minds: Stephen Wiltshire 



Watch the video and be awe struck at what a human mind can do. This is a power and skill we all have - but very few have ever nurtured this ability. Stephen can connect both the detail and the big picture and flow all that data into the information to recreate the image.  Many artist can do this same feat, they have practiced endless hours to master the skills.
Here's one that I went to school with:  Mark Stephenson Portraiture and Paintings.

Watson

Just recently IBM's Watson computer bested a human on Jeopardy (quiz show).  Take a look at Watson's technical specs - do you think you will have that kind of power in your pocket in 30 years?  In 1980 did you think you would have a cell phone and a search engine (Google) in your pocket (see Cell Phone time line) with video (FaceTime) calling?

The Meta Problem?

But why - oh why - do we still compare the human mind to a computer?  Compare what one of the best humans can do in their domain (Stephen Wiltshire) to what a computer can do in their domain (Watson).  Which is solving the harder problem?  Would Watson pass the Turing Test?  Can a human prove that it is not a machine - in other words does the subject have the power of patten matching at a high level - CAPTCHA?
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