The origin of life and the future of computers

By John Hewitt on January 15, 2013 at 7:30 am

The evolution of computers, and the evolution of life, share the common constraint that in going forward beyond a certain level of complexity, advantage goes to that which can build on what is already in hand rather than redesigning from scratch. Life’s crowning achievement, the human brain, seeks to mold for itself the power and directness of the computing machine, while endowing the machine with its own economy of thought and movement. To predict the form their inevitable convergence eventually might take, we can look back now with greater understanding to the early drivers which shaped life, and reinvigorate these ideas to guide our construction.

Life is, in effect, a side reaction of an energy-harnessing reaction. It requires vast amounts of energy to go on.

Nick Lane, author of a new paper in the journal Cell, was speaking here about critical processes in the origin of life, though his words would also be an apt description of computing in general. His paper, basically, puts forth bold, new ideas for how proto-life forms originated in deep-sea hydrothermal vents by harnessing energy gradients. The strategies employed by life offer some insights into how we might build the ultimate processor of the future.

Read more: The origin of life and the future of computers | ExtremeTech.

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