Science: Homo ex Machina

Computing machines have grown so efficient that the worst drag on their performance is the fallible human brain. Last week Engineering Consultant Stuart Luman Seaton told a Manhattan convention of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers that computing machines probably make less than one mistake in transferring 10²° (100 billion billion) digits. Humans make one mistake in transferring only 200 digits. So the machine's accurate figuring often goes for nothing because it must depend for care and feeding on error-prone humans.

One way to get more efficiency out of human custodians, says Seaton, is by "tricks and dodges" such as printing numbers...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!