A team at Tübingen University in Germany programmed a computer to read a certain amount each day and learn new words and commands. When the researchers let a computer “read” only so much, its performance on cognitive tests resembled that of a young adult.
But if the same computer was exposed to the experiences we might encounter over a lifetime – with reading simulated over decades – its performance now looked like that of an older adult, Ramscar said. Often it was slower, but not because its processing capacity had declined. Rather, increased “experience” had caused the computer’s database to grow, giving it more data to process – which takes time.