Intel is looking to expand beyond its traditional semiconductor business and develop computers that can learn about their user. o that end, the company is said to be making a significant investment in research that could yield devices that mimic the human brain by 2014 or 2015.
Intel's Collaborative Research Institute for Computational Intelligence will work in coordination with the Technion in Haifa and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Researchers are said to be collaborating to develop small, wearable computers that observe and learn from user behavior on a daily basis.
The most illustrative example given by Intel representatives involves a user forgetting where she left her keys, only to be reminded by the device. In the weeks following, the device would be able to remind the user to grab her keys before leaving the house.
Intel representatives cite exponential progression in the number of transistors that can fit onto a single chip, noting that in 10 years that number will exceed the number of neurons in the human brain. Trends like this lead Intel to believe that the next few years will see reasonable facsimiles of human senses appearing in computers, with wearable devices like those described above appearing by 2014 or 2015.
Hints of this technology have already appeared in some Intel projects. Last year, the company partnered with Adidas to produce interactive displays (see video below) that can tell whether a shopper is male or female, adult or child, and tailor the displayed products to target that shopper.