INSIDER reader Kenneth Polcak submitted a "Question of the Week" to his fellow design engineer pros:

IBM has recently developed prototypes of energy-efficient computer chips that emulate the synapses, neurons, and learning functions of the human brain. IBM's Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project uses advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry to create computers that could function without set programming and could "learn through experiences, find correlations, create hypotheses, and remember - and learn from - the outcomes." Such a system could, for example, monitor the world's waters via a network of sensors analyzing temperature, water pressure, or wave heights, and use that information to predict or detect tsunamis.

Many believe this development is the next logical step in the technological progression of computer evolution, while others view this as a dangerous step with unknown or unintended consequences. What do you think?

Are "thinking" or "learning" computers simply a next logical step in computer evolution?

Send us your thoughts, and vote in our weekly poll.

What other technology questions do you want to debate with your peers? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we can share opinions in our weekly INSIDER newsletters.

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