Intel: Human and computer intelligence will merge in 40 years

At Intel Corp., just passing its 40th anniversary and with myriad chips in its historical roster, a top company exec looks 40 years into the future to a time when human intelligence and machine intelligence have begun to merge.

Justin Rattner, CTO and a senior fellow at Intel, told Computerworld that perhaps as early as 2012 we’ll see the lines between human and machine intelligence begin to blur. Nanoscale chips or machines will move through our bodies, fixing deteriorating organs or unclogging arteries. Sensors will float around our internal systems monitoring our blood sugar levels and heart rates, and alerting doctors to potential health problems.

Virtual worlds will become increasingly realistic, while robots will develop enough intelligence and human-like characteristics that they’ll become companions, not merely vacuum cleaners and toys.

Most aspects of our lives, in fact, will be very different as we close in on the year 2050. Computing will be less about launching applications and more about living lives in which computers are inextricably woven into our daily activities.

“What we think of as a computer and what we think of as IT, in general, is likely to change,” said Rattner, who has been at Intel for 35 of the company’s 40 years. “The intelligent systems will move from being information systems to intelligent systems that will carry out a whole variety of tasks that we just won’t think of as computing tasks…. The technology will find its way into so many things we do, and we won’t even think about it. The explicit way we’ve done computing in the past will be there, but it will be a very small subset of what we’ll be doing.”


How can you predict that the merger will happen in 40 years, while also saying it will start in 2012.

If it starts in 2012, I’d say we’re going to get ‘there’ one helluva lot quicker than 40 years.

3 thoughts on “Intel: Human and computer intelligence will merge in 40 years

  1. Josh

    How do nano/micro robots that fix our arteries and monitor blood sugar blur lines between human and machine intelligence?

  2. Chris

    That particular use of machine intelligence will not so much blend human and machine identity. Much as more advanced and intelligent prosthetics (and the prosthetic enhancers that healthy wealthy people may be using in the near future) have blurred what part of a person is human, and what is machine, the presence of machine and machine intelligence throughout the entire body will cause questions what is human and machine.
    True merging of human and machine intelligences won’t occur until attempts are made to directly modify the brain with technology. The earliest precursor to this merging, and the first events that will cause people not versed in cognitive science to question the uniqueness and isolation of an individual human mind will be advanced AIs that are able to pass the Turing Test, which is likely to happen in the next 5 to 10 years, and AIs that will be able to do much much more.

  3. tumaru

    I agree with the idea but first the lines between man and machine must be fully drawn and not just in a man vs machine way because I don’t believe that a hyper intelligent computer will see killing or enslaving all humans as a worthwhile endeavour because it would be a bad investment.

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