The Matrix might come true in the near future.
If we assume that human mind is not really designed to serve as an unfailing memory bank, but rather as an instrument for processing information, then we can see that the role a computer might play in increasing this role of mind is considerable. If computer programs can be devised that allow us to think more creatively, use the information stored by the computer to enable us to focus on the „big picture“, then we are paving the way for profound changes in the way we do our work. Computers have the potential to perform such miracles.
There are many ways the computer is starting to fit into these types of applications. Some systems of this type are called „Decision support systems“. Sometimes they are based on concepts referred to as „artificial intelligence“. Some remarkable discoveries have been made about what computers can do. A new branch of that field, called neural networks, offers a way that computer programs can „learm“ in much the same way the human brain learns from trial and error. These programs are starting to do some very interesting and unexpected things. One person, now retired from NASA, is making a comfortable living using neural nets to program horse race betting. They offer some promise in programs to recognise Chinese and Japanese characters scanned into a computer. They are being used in medical decision systems, some of them with remarkable results. Other forms of programming computers are also arisingm and you will hear some of these things in the year ahead.