Friday, March 11, 2005

Humans - So simple, yet so complex.

Have you ever wondered what a complex mechanism the human body is, and how many facets it has? Well, I'm sure you have. Everyone has asked themselves this question sometime or the other, and has felt the hopelessness within due to the inability to answer it. One of my friends did notice something similar to what I experienced today. I was just doting upon one of our subjects in college - Computer Graphics [CG], and the different kinds of techniques and algorithms used to render 3D graphics on a 2D monitor. The complexity of these techniques is such that it would be impossible to study them without an external aid such as that of mathematics. The approach used is to convert a situation into a mathemtical model, and then apply some transformations to that model or set of equations obtained thereof, to get the final result in the form of equations or numbers, which are then interpreted accordingly, and displayed on screen.

Let us take a simple example such as filling a polygon or a figure having a random shape and orientation in space. This task is quite complicated for computer to perfrom, and during the course of the running algorithm, it has to perform various checks, and handle the situations accordingly. If on the other hand, you look at humas, we will be able to tell or at least imaging exactly what the shape will look like after filling has taken place. Testimony to that is that small children are first taught to do such filling operations on sketched out figures, and they are able to do so without much difficulty and little or no help.

However, the other side of the coin has somethinh entirely different to say. Consider the task of multiplying 1000 - 3 digit numbers together. It is a task solved within a fraction of a second by a computer, where as a human may take a few minutes at the least to perform the same operation!

So, the question that arises here is why are there such differences between seemingly smilar tasks and why humans are able to solve some very quickly and others not so quickly? And why do computers behave in a similar way? Also, if computers were designed to solve computationally intensive problems fast, why do they fail on some accounts? This question will probably be answered if we probe deeper into the birth of computers and really understand the basic thinking behind the forefathers of the computer.

Another question that arises because of the above line of reasonaing is: Will computers be able to solve the problems in the near future which they can not presently, and which humans solve with relative ease? A similar question can be framed for humans too. There are arguments both way. For example, we can argue that since the first computer was invented, they have come a long way, and can now perform tasks that seemed impossible at that time. In short, computers have evolved. However, huans have been on the face of planet earth for sooooo many years now, and they too have evolved, and this process is an on going one, and nobody know if and when it will end. I strongly believe that evolution [at least for humans] is a non ending process, and the moment the human race stops evolving, it will be doomed, simply because it will not be able to cope with the environmental changes taking place around it. So, the basic factor guiding evolution is probably the environment in which the humans live and thrive. So, does the environment for computers change similarly? The environment is guided solely by humans, and their environment changescontinuously, even without their knowing about it, so it should be quite evident that the environment for computers changes too, and that too at quite a rapid pace.

So, can computers 'evolve'? I don't think they can do so automatically! At least not now. Who knows what the future holds. There have been various novel and probably not so successful ideas and concepts such as AI [Artificial Intelligence], which I believe have been no close to failure. The best they could do is program a computer to beat the Chess Crand Master. That probably does not constitute AI as far as I am concerned. It is more of an exercise in super computing, and combinatorial logic. However, arrogant it may seem, it is probably the naked truth.

So, humans rule once more!
All Hail God

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