An interesting NYT article Some interesting excerpts: "Our colleague David Linden has compared the evolutionary history of the brain to the task of building a modern car by adding parts to a 1925 Model T that never stops running. As a result, brains differ from computers in many ways, from their highly efficient use of energy to their tremendous adaptability." "One striking feature of brain tissue is its compactness. In the brain’s wiring, space is at a premium, and is more tightly packed than even the most condensed computer architecture. One cubic centimeter of human brain tissue, which would fill a thimble, contains 50 million neurons; several hundred miles of axons, the wires over which neurons send signals; and close to a trillion (that’s a million million) synapses, the connections between neurons." "But unlike a computer, connections between neurons can form and break too, a process that continues throughout life and can store even more information because of the potential for creating new paths for activity. Although we’re forced to guess because the neural basis of memory isn’t understood at this level, let’s say that one movable synapse could store one byte (8 bits) of memory. That thimble would then contain 1,000 gigabytes (1 terabyte) of information. A thousand thimblefuls make up a whole brain, giving us a million gigabytes — a petabyte — of information. To put this in perspective, the entire archived contents of the Internet fill just three petabytes. To address this challenge, Kurzweil invokes Moore’s Law, the principle that for the last four decades, engineers have managed to double the capacity of chips (and hard drives) every year or two. If we imagine that the trend will continue, it’s possible to guess when a single computer the size of a brain could contain a petabyte. That would be about 2025 to 2030, just 15 or 20 years from now. This projection overlooks the dark, hot underbelly of Moore’s law: power consumption per chip, which has also exploded since 1985. By 2025, the memory of an artificial brain would use nearly a gigawatt of power, the amount currently consumed by all of Washington, D.C. So brute-force escalation of current computer technology would give us an artificial brain that is far too costly to operate. Compare this with your brain, which uses about 12 watts, an amount that supports not only memory but all your thought processes. This is less than the energy consumed by a typical refrigerator light, and half the typical needs of a laptop computer. Cutting power consumption by half while increasing computing power many times over is a pretty challenging design standard. As smart as we are, in this sense we are all dim bulbs."