Traditional computers often seem brilliant and simpleminded at the same time. On the one hand, they can perform billions of high-precision numerical operations per second with perfect repeatability. On the other hand, they fail catastrophically when their inputs are incomplete or ambiguous. These strengths and weaknesses flow from their mathematical foundations in deductive logic and deterministic functions. Navia Systems is working to change all this, by building the world’s first natively probabilistic computers, designed from the ground up to handle ambiguity, make good guesses, and learn from their experience. Instead of logic and determinism, Navia’s hardware and software are grounded in probability distributions and stochastic simulators, generalizing the mathematics of traditional computing to the probabilistic setting. The result is a technology as suited to making judgements in the presence of uncertainty as traditional computing technology is to large-scale record keeping.
Is a new, more prosperous age beyond a technological Singularity on the horizon? Or does human civilization now face an inevitable decline? This video by futurist Christopher Barnatt discusses the great debate at the heart of future studies.