Most of us, at one time or another, have had the thought (or maybe the fear?) that our computers and devices are a little too...humanlike for their own good. In fact, computers taking over and crossing that fine line between man and machine has been the subject of books and movies for ages, long before computers were anywhere near as sophisticated as they are now. However, while there are people who fear computers being more humanlike, there are also people and companies that want them to be more humanlike, and IBM is among them.
More specifically, what IBM wants to do is to make its computers and devices more friendly, more efficient, and more personable. To prove that and to safeguard the idea, its recently filed for a slew of patents proposing these ideas and its plans to make them happen.
Patent filing from IBM is certainly not unusual. In fact, last year, it was given more patents than any other United States company, and it’s been topping the patent lists for the past two decades and then some. However, this is definitely the first time its patents have sought to make more man-like machines.
If you don’t think that’s scary, just consider another patent that is designed to help computers “learn” through their interactions with real people. There’s also one that will help computers better understand emotion. That’s definitely science fiction territory!
Researchers from IBM, however, promise they’re not up to anything scary. They simply want to push the envelope when it comes to how humans and computers interact and to make them better able to work together. They swear they’re not trying to create computers that can take over mankind or anything of the sort.
In fact, many of their inventions have been created with the intent of helping mankind. One IBM employee, for example, recently designed a program that stores information in order to help those with Alzheimer’s disease as they slowly lose their memories and abilities. The computer program would be able to help “bring them back” in some ways and perhaps keep the disease and its effects at bay for longer. And, if a program like that was coupled with other, newer patents, it could potentially serve as a caretaker for Alzheimer’s patients. Others could benefit as well from similar technologies, and that- people benefiting from its inventions- is what IBM says its all about.
While it’s natural to be a little frightened and taken aback by new technologies, people have always felt that way, and so far, we’re still here and still in charge, so these IBM developments are not really anything to fear, but instead, something to celebrate!