Debunking the Memristor Brain 2.0 Metaphors?
UPDATE: (April 2010) Science has spoken: two years after this post was written, a paper in Nano Letters will “[demonstrate] that this system is capable of a memory and learning process called spike timing dependent plasticity.” The memristor brain proof-of-concept awaits the slow approach from paper to prototype fabrication.
From todays HP Lab announcement about memristors:
As for the human brain-like characteristics, memristor technology could one day lead to computer systems that can remember and associate patterns in a way similar to how people do. This could be used to substantially improve facial recognition technology or to provide more complex biometric recognition systems that could more effectively restrict access to personal information. These same pattern-matching capabilities could enable appliances that learn from experience and computers that can make decisions.
Aside from science fiction, this kind of prototyping forward-speak tends to say, “buzz!”, but in general, relative to the pop culture marketing-speak, the scientific realities are relatively limited until proven. It merely adds to the efficiency of the platform certain types of code will run upon. The effects of mimicking brain function, in terms of the human use of ambient personalities, will still exist primarily within the social sphere, or on the Searles conundrum, or the Eliza effect, in which human, social engineering principles will dominate.
Till some future point, we will have to bite our nails, wait, and see how the research pans out.