New York’s New York Times ran a front-page story on September 21, 2018, about a proposed new algorithm to analyze the brain’s algorithms.
The article quoted the authors of the new algorithm, Dr. Joseph DeNiro and Dr. Mark Zimring, as saying they wanted to “create an algorithm that can answer all of the questions that have come up about how to optimize cognitive tasks and solve problems.”
However, the article was largely ignored by the public.
When we reached out to the authors for comment, both declined to respond.
In the meantime, the story has gained more traction online, with its headline, “How We’re Looking Into The Future of Computers.”
As it turns out, Dr DeNire and Dr Zimrings had previously discussed their research on how to analyze algorithms on their personal blogs.
In a post titled “Algorithms, Not Machines,” Dr DeRiro and his colleagues at Harvard University wrote, “The algorithm is the thing, the algorithm is what matters.
The algorithms are the only thing that matter.
What are the algorithms that will improve our lives?
What will make us smarter?
We’re not doing our job.”
In their post, they also referenced a similar post by Dr De Niro, published in 2016, in which he wrote, “[The algorithm] is the only reason we’re here.
The algorithm is so powerful that it makes a difference to us.”
They also referenced the famous quote by Nobel Prize winner Steven Pinker, in a quote that was picked up by many as the most relevant quote of the year.
“I do believe that in the end, we are the product of the brain.
And our brain is the product not of some kind of algorithm, but of the way we think.”
However that statement was later clarified by the paper, and Dr DeZimrings clarified it in a statement, “I have made this claim before and I have reiterated it many times, but I think we can all agree it is true.
The brain is our body.
It is the foundation of the universe.
It’s how we make sense of the world.
And that’s why I believe the mind is the most important part of our existence.
We are what the brain makes us.”
As for the algorithm, they told us, “Our new system will analyze thousands of algorithms to understand the brain in order to help us with more complex tasks.
We think that by understanding how these algorithms work, we can then develop new strategies to help solve more complex problems.”
The paper is currently in pre-publication review.
In an interview with the Times, Dr Zemring told us that “we are trying to create an algorithm, not a machine.”
We reached out for comment to Dr DeMiro and to Dr Zimbring for comment on their new algorithm.
We will update this post with any additional comments.
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