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CES: Intel claims processors will outsmart human brains within a decade

07 Jan 2014
Intel emotionally smart processor CES

LAS VEGAS: Computer microprocessors that are capable of reading and reacting to human emotions will become a reality within the next 12 years, according to Intel's senior vice president Mooly Eden.

Eden said current innovation levels within the technology industry mean that within the next decade microprocessors will have more transistors than the human brain has neurons, during a press keynote at CES in Las Vegas.

"The human brain has 100 billion neurons, it's a complicated machine. But in 12 years we will have more transistors in our chips than we have neurons in our brain," he said.

Eden added that the processors will also have a very different focus to today's processors and will use the extra power to do more than simple calculations. "We are on the verge of a major revolution that will change the way we interact with computers forever," he said.

"A large part of our brain is used for processing our senses. In contrast most of the processing power in a chip is used for calculations; that's going to change. We're narrowing the gap between what we can do with our computer devices and what the human brain can do. Soon our computers will be able to read and react to our emotions."

Eden's comments come just after Intel unveiled its new RealSense 3D camera. The camera is designed to be embedded into laptops, PCs and tablets and will let them capture and stream images and video in 3D. Intel claims the camera is the first step in a campaign to change the way people interact with machines.

Eden said he expects the RealSense camera and future advanced chips to be a small step in a wider shift within the computer industry. "Today, we're surrounded by computer devices – PCs, laptops, tablets or smartphones. But all these devices are part of the past and the present. The question is what does the future hold and where are we going," he said.

"I believe it will be a world of devices. Devices we'll always have with us, devices on the cloud. But they won't be devices we carry with us, they'll be on us, we'll wear them. But it won't stop there. Soon they'll be in us, it's not a matter of if but when. Soon we'll open car doors with our fingers and have devices in us that are connected to our brain."

Intel president Renee James made a similar prediction at the McAfee Focus event in 2013. James warned that chip companies will have to improve and rethink their existing security practices to ensure the forecast wave of implanted devices are safe from hackers.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

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