- Dr. Feynman, What's a Computer? # 24 March 2014
We will expose what a computer really is.
One of the miseries of life is that everybody names things a little bit wrong. And so it makes everything a little harder to understand in the world than it would be if it were named differently. A computer does not primarily compute in the sense of doing arithmetic. Strange. Although they call them computers that’s not what they primarily do. They primarily are filing systems.
We try to make these things work as efficiently as we can with the materials that we have. Materials are different than nerves and so on. If we would like to make something that runs rapidly over the ground, and we could watch a cheetah running, we could try to make a machine that runs like a cheetah. But it’s easier to make a machine with wheels.
If you want to make an intelligent machine you’re gonna get all kinds of crazy ways of avoiding labor, of saying don’t pay any attention to the problem, of sneakily evolving some kind of psychological distortion where you always do the same thing and don’t worry about anything else — and so on so I think that we are getting close to intelligent machines, but they’re showing the necessary weaknesses of intelligence.