The New Book
Part 1: Chapter 1
Hilbert Space

Chapter 1

Hilbert Space

Unrealized hopes

In the 1980's, when applications for computer technology were becoming ubiquitous in almost every scientific and business domain and computer memories and speeds were doubling every eighteen months, imaginations ran wild. The computer seemed to have unlimited potential, even the potential to become more intelligent than human beings.

The logic for this optimism seemed flawless. Information theory was telling us that any element, function, process or rule could be represented by a string of binary data. Strings of binary code could represent sound, text or pictures and provide the means to store, categorize, sort, select and combine them. It seems that the era of Artificial Intelligence was just around the corner.

Within twenty years, that dream had died. Despite billions of dollars allocated to research into Artificial Intelligence, nobody ever came up with any computer system that came even close to emulating the scope and versatility of the human brain.

It was a perplexing puzzle, because advancing technology was creating computer memories that were matching the capacity of the human brain. Computer processing speeds were far exceeding the processing speeds of neurons. Computers were more reliable: silicon memories were permanent structures that virtually never failed, yet neurons are fragile cells, continuously prone to dying.

By the turn of the millennium it became patently obvious that the secret of the brain's intelligence lay not in the hardware but in the organizational strategy. Moreover, this organizational strategy was outside of the concepts that were being employed in any human technology.