What's in a name?

Are computers thinking machines? In English, not really. After all, by name they compute, they calculate. And though we tell children to think when we try and teach them to do basic arithmetic, not much real thinking is involved in finding the answers to basic arithmetic problems - machines can do the job without having to sharpen a pencil to a stub before finding the answer. In Hebrew a computer is a machshev, and the root of the word is the basis for both computing and thinking. That being the case, we can more or less choose in which direction we'd like the computer to develop. Those afraid that machines will become more intelligent than we are (not that difficult a task) can relegate the computer to the task of number crunching. Those who've given up on the problem solving capabilities of humans can believe that machines that truly think can hope that they'll do so better than we have.

Go to: Really a part of me.