A marriage of bio-medicine and computer technology could result in 21st century "bio-computers" that can both perform high-speed mathematical functions and duplicate the creative functions of the human brain, said a prominent author and co-founder of TRW Inc.
Dr. Simon Ramo, a Utah native, spoke Tuesday evening about a future technological society at the Friends of University of Utah Libraries annual banquet. He was also awarded a lifetime libraries membership. Ramo has just released his book, "The Business of Science: Winning and Losing in the High-Tech Age.""We should be able to find how to create the biological assembly of the same kinds of materials that make up the brain. It can perform the same functions of the brain such as recognize patterns and also multiply multi-digit numbers in a matter of seconds," Ramo said.
These bio-computers, which would duplicate the complex integration of brain cells, would also be able to learn and carry out creative functions. Ramo said the most important area in science today is information technology.
"This is exemplified by the computer revolution, because what is happening there is where we are extending man's intellectual capabilities," Ramo said. "That underlies the advances that are taking place and will take place in other fields."
He said libraries will play a part in this information explosion as they improve ways to manage and provide information. The need to retrieve and use information quickly will fuel this explosion.
For example, Ramo said, physicians of the future may tap an extensive data base to diagnose patients. Doctors would input symptoms and instantly have choices of treatment based on past medical experience.
As information exchange develops, a common language may one day link the world. That language could evolve through the use of simple computer sentences. But, Ramo warns of the social ramifications of future technology. For example, as medicine prolongs life, there will be an ever-increasing older population. And while technology advances, the political and social response will often control its direction, he said.
Dr. J. Boyer Jarvis and Dr. and Mrs. Aziz Atiya were also honored during the banquet with lifetime library memberships.