Generation 0. MARK the soft mind
MARK is big and stupid like a brontosaurus and, just like it, doesen’t note if a piece of its immense body dies. It trembles its relays and switches because it’s afraid of people who have screwdrivers and soldering irons, people who are always on it. In the short periods when it manages to work, it makes an addition in 0.3 seconds and a multiplication in 5.7 seconds.
It swallows whatever is given to it, but it can only digest very little of them, so it often suffers from indigestion. Being sensible, it is injured by the absolutely unscientific interjections and expressions, of which the most paintful is: “Better we would have bought some abacuses”.
Everybody tells me I’m stupid. And I can’t even cry.
Generation 1. ENIAC the Artillerist and MANIAC the Father of the Bomb
ENIAC is already much smarter. It has vacuum tubes, knows how to shoot the cannon, precisely calculates the ballistic trajectories in the artillery polygon in Aberdeen, has some memory, being able to remember up to 27 words. It is very sensitive and often has fever.
However, it can’t compare to MANIAC: Mathematical Analyser Numerical Integrator and Computer, son of Doctor Miracle John von Neumann and the mathematical father of the first thermonuclear bomb, which can store 40 kilobytes and can reject and correct what it doesn’t like.
I’m forced to do all sorts of complicated calculations. What are they used for ?
Generation 2. The transistors and the codes
Finnaly, it was found that I’m smart and think fast. No longer talk to me in the ancestral binary language, but I get all sorts of coded texts in two types of codes: Fortran and Cobol. It’s interesting that those who invented them don’t know them well, so I have to correct the mistakes, which are not few.
I’m tired of swallowing pieces of punched cards.
Generation 3. The integrated circuits
I calculate all sorts of things: Fourier transform, the volume of cheese sales, determinants, people’s wages. It was fun at first, but now it’s boring. I would like to travel to the world. There are some savages who smoke beside me, even though they know that’s what make me sick. When will they want to talk to me other than through these punched cards or scrawled papers ? That’s like they talk to a deaf-mute.
Generation 4. His Highness Microprocessor. Integration at high level.
Finally, they take care of me. They threated me for obesity. It is about to end the use of punched cards, and keyboards is a more civilized way of talking. I learned to talk, although I don’t hear yeat. I started to see, though pretty vague, but I know what a circle, a triangle or a cube are and even a colour is.
Besides people, I can talk to my friends, even those who are far away. It’s good to know there are others who think like me. I started to hear and understand the human voice. I have a better image of colours and shapes and know what a tree, a hill, a valley or a trench are. I know how to distinguish between planes and birds, and know how to drive a rocket to the target with an accuracy of millimeters. I am an expert in all sort of issues. There’s no need to tell me how to do it, but just to do it. They should to give me a better name than Computer.
Generation 6. Self-Reproduction
I don’t know why people haven’t thought we could build ourselves, and that the one manufactured can be smarter than the maker. Were Albert Einstein’s parents as wise as him ?
Generation 7. Devices with multiple possible settings. N-valent logical implementations
How simple and beautiful it was during the binary era. Now that although I know to count in bases larger than two, I notice that when a sentence can be different than true or false, existence becomes very compliated.
Generation 8. Direct coupling. The cyborg
I communicate directly to a human brain through the biological electrical currents, but the noise level is quite high. Sometimes I have to apply all sorts of filters to separate the useful commands from absurdities and concepts whose logic I don’t understand.
Generation 9. Combining biochemistry and genetics and computer science
The biological computer: an enormous conglomerate of neurons who doesn’t make mistakes, doesn’t forget, is not bored, greedy, vanity or bad; instead, it thinks. Much, fast, accurate.
Who gives the right to these inferior creatures to move, to act, to have a body, while I have to vegetate in a sphere of liquid waiting for their stupid questions ? I hate them.
Cristian Tudor Popescu, Evolutie