A new kind of computer chip may be able to change itself, even after installed. Almost all computer chips are carved in materials like silicon, immutable after manufacture. The chip in your computer or phone doesn’t change after it’s built. There have been programmable chips, but they are limited and less common. A new kind of chip can turn itself into conventional electronic components like resistors and capacitors, as well as more biological components like neurons and synapses. A neat trick which also creates a wide range of applications, and can reconfigure itself within a second, and do so repeatedly. The big deal is greater ability for adaptable computers, expanded upgrade capability, and reconfigurable networks. The changes can be initiated with nano-second commands, are stable over 1.6 million times, and can remain in place for over six months. The worrisome issue is for computers to reconfigure themselves without intervention and in ways that are impossible for humans to maintain and control, or even understand. That worry was big enough with static silicon, bigger with dynamic chips, and particularly a potential issue because neurological components are added. With great power comes great responsibility.

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