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Next: Life principles for computation Up: ReAL Previous: The missing element

Living computation: The present

Thus has the evolution of manufactured computing systems to the present been backward to the evolution of natural computing systems such as the brain. The brain appeared only recently in the scope of the history of life on earth--and is no great shakes as a general-purpose algorithmic computing device--but from the beginning it has been richly interconnected to a body possessing sensory-motor apparatus that beggars anything we are currently able to manufacture at any price. The body has an extensive array of active and passive defense mechanisms, and the brain has extensive hardware support for threat assessment, triage, extrapolation, and rapid response.

The living computation perspective predicts that we are nearing childhood's end for computers, that current designs--still steeped in their innocent, safe, and externally-protected origins--will give way to designs possessing significant kinesthetic senses, defense and security at many levels, and with rich and persistently paranoid internal models representing the body and the stance of the body within the larger computational and physical environment.1

Manufactured computers began as `pure mind designs' but were not thereby excused from the demands of existing in the physical world. With the rise of networked computing, and the rise of computers intended to survive in consumer environments and without the benefit of an expert human system administrator, the `IOU: A body' notes issued fifty years ago and more are now rapidly coming due.


... environment.1
I would have said this prediction was too obvious to be worth making, except that so much computer research, development, and deployment continues to ignore even the rudiments of robust system design.

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Next: Life principles for computation Up: ReAL Previous: The missing element Mon Dec 31 13:57:25 MST 2001