Comparisons like these are hard not to adore.
Take what some claim as the first computer, built some 2000 years ago by the Greeks…
Just what was it capable of?
Oh, you’d be surprised!
(PhysOrg.com) – It’s known as the Antikythera mechanism, a metal gear driven device found over a century ago on a sunken Roman ship, near the island of Antikythera, that for just as many years has had scientists analyzing, scratching their heads and offering suggestions as to its purpose.
Some have called the device the first analog computer; other’s the first mechanical computing device. Either way, the device very clearly demonstrates that the Greeks of 150 to 100 BCE knew far more about gears and calculating machines than had been thought possible just a decade or so ago.
After careful analysis with an x-ray tomography machine which allowed the device to be seen as a series of slices that could then be used to see all the way through the mechanism slice by slice (as is done with the same machine when analyzing organs inside a living human being) researchers, particularly Michael Wright, now of Imperial College, London, have come to believe they have almost a full understanding of what the machines was built to do; and that, was to calculate the position of celestial bodies.
Wright has even built (completed in 2006) what he believes to be an almost exact replica of the device.
If modern research is correct, the device worked by hand cranking a main dial to display a chosen date, causing the wheels and gears inside to display (via tabs on separate dials) the position of the sun, moon, and the five known planets at that time, for that date; a mechanical and technical feat that would not be seen again until the fourteenth century in Europe with precision clocks.
Also, some of the early research showed that the device actually used special gears to account for the elliptical shape of the moon’s orbit to account for what appeared to be a speed up and slow down as the moon moved around the Earth.
Now James Evans and his colleagues at the University of Puget Sound in Washington State, have shown that instead of trying to use the same kind of gear mechanism to account for the elliptical path the Earth takes around the sun, and subsequent apparent changes in speed, the inventor of the device may have taken a different tack, and that was to stretch or distort the zodiac on the dial face to change the width of the spaces on the face to make up for the slightly different amount of time that is represented as the hand moves around the face. [Read More]
And now contrast it to the new Predator object-tracking software that tracks, recognizes, amends and learns that has been created thanks to a brilliant young man, utilizing today’s technology.
Zdenek Kalal’s Predator object-tracking software is almost uncanny. Show anything to its all-seeing camera eye, and it will quickly learn to recognize it and then track it, whether it fades into the distance, hides amongst other similar objects or — in the case of faces turns sideways.
It really lives up to its name, reminding us of the Predator’s HUD-enhanced vision in the movie of the same name.
Kalal is a Ph.D. student at the University of Surrey in England, researching projects that make computers see. His Predator algorithm is both fast and powerful.
After telling it what to look for (by dragging a box over the onscreen image) the Predator gets to work. Within seconds it can recognize patterns, objects and faces and track them as they shrink, grow and rotate. When Kalal hides from the camera and holds up a sheet of paper with his photo among a patchwork of thumbnails, Predator picks his face out immediately.
Keep watching past the credits and you’ll see plenty of other uses, such as tracking individual animals for research, and chasing cars and people across multiple security cameras. It’s not hard to imagine more.
Remember the assassination of Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai last year? The Dubai authorities tracked the assassins — probably Israeli Mossad agents — across hours and hours of city-wide security footage. Predator would likely make that a lot easier. [Read More]
Easier or scarier? Hard to say which is the better descriptor.
Yep, these two?
Just within a ‘stones throw’, eh?
How far we’ve come – Breathtaking!
But even as amazing as the new advancements are…
A question comes to mind: Which of these two, do you think, will be the one more revered by future historians and which one will become the forgotten technological relic by our upcoming ancestors?
Yes, you know the answer.
Interesting how that works out, isn’t it?
Even as amazing as they are…
Today’s advancements cannot hold a candle to our past.