Humanity may have hit the pinnacle of evolution

Our brain sizes may have hit the limits of evolution? Professor Brian Cox may well disagree
Our brain sizes may have hit the limits of evolution? Professor Brian Cox may well disagree

Like our current generation of PC tech, humans may well have hit the peak of their current evolutionary cycle, according to new research from Cambridge University, which suggests that our brains may have hit their maximum capacity for intelligence.

The news follows claims from an Nvidia VP back in May 2010 that Moore's law - that trend for computing performance to double approximately every two years - was also dead, likening dual, quad- and hex-core multi-core chips to "trying to build an airplane by putting wings on a train."

Simon Laughlin, professor of neurobiology at Cambridge University, said: "We have demonstrated that brains must consume energy to function and that these requirements are sufficiently demanding to limit our performance and determine design."

While Ed Bullmore, professor of psychiatry at Cambridge, agrees, noting: "You pay a price for intelligence. Becoming smarter means improving connections between different brain areas but this runs into tight limits on energy, along with space for the wiring."

Limits of humanity

Prof Laughlin added: "The fact that brains both expand and contract during evolution shows that the optimum balance changes with circumstances."

What does all of this latest thinking in neurobiology and psychiatry mean for tech? Nvidia VP Bill Dally thinks that "parallel computing can resurrect Moore's Law and provide a platform for future economic growth and commercial innovation. The challenge is for the computing industry to drop practices that have been in use for decades and adapt to this new platform."

So might we still see Artifially Intelligent (AI) machines overtake humanity soon, as Raymond Kurzweil and his many followers have already been predicting for some time?

Via The Sun

Adam Hartley