Wetware vs. Software

I have just smushed up against a brand new piece of computer jargon: wetware.  Also referred to as meatware, it is the living analog of software.  It is the biological processes involved in cognition.

Where, you may reasonably wonder, did I encounter this attractive term?  In a recent article in Wired that more or less announced the victory of machine intelligence over the human mind in the ancient game of Go.  I say more or less because unlike the victory of Deep Blue over Garry Kasparov in chess, the computer foisted a handicap on the professional human player.  Under these conditions, artificial intelligence has beat the human kind in six games.

What it took for a computer to achieve these victories over wetware was Monte Carlo software.  The same statistical analysis software that is used in so many everyday situations that involve decision making under uncertainty: risk analysis for such financial transactions, operations management in engineering, exploration and production in natural resources, and product strategies.

While the article made much of the power of artificial intelligence, it did not mention that simulations produced by Monte Carlo software requires keen wetware to produce good decision evaluation.  Nevertheless it went on to confidently predict that complete domination of Go by computer is close at hand.
Taking the jargon for machine substitution for humans a little further, suppose software does conquer wetware in the ancient game. Then what? Go-bots? 

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: