Friday, 21 March 2008

Cognocomputer Science

(from Daadi)

I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.

– Tim Berners-Lee, 1999

Two areas have seen the most massive growth in recent years. The internet is the headline one. Everyone knows about that. Less well known is cognitive neuroscience.

I think these two juggernauts will collide soon because if Tim Berners-Lee's vision of Semantic Web (or Web 3.0 as some dub it) is to come true the next generation of computer scientists are going to need to be trained in cognitive (neuro)science as well.

This is because if the Internet is to assuage the pressure on, and extend the power of, our mental faculties by replacing, and enhancing, their functions, it makes sense that the functions be known.

And right now the best people to ask about how the brain and mind operates are the cognitive neuroscientists. They have their computer already built and are trying to work out how it operates. Computer scientists, the architects of the future Internet, are trying to build something that does something like the mind. They should talk to each other more.

More than this though it will pay to be expert in both. The mind will give insights to better computer systems as it is backwards engineered. Cognocomputer scientists will be needed in a Semantic Web future.

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