New Report Estimates the Potential Value of the SP Theory of Intelligence to be At Least $190 Billion Each Year

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Potential benefits of the SP theory of intelligence, described in a new report from, include more flexibility and adaptability in computers, less cost and fewer bugs in software, more efficient transmission of information, and less use of energy.

The theory has been designed to simplify and integrate ideas about computing and about the way people learn and think.

A new paper, published in the journal "Information," describes the potential benefits and applications of the "SP theory of intelligence," developed by Dr Gerry Wolff of

“The theory has been designed to simplify and integrate ideas about computing and about the way people learn and think,” said Dr Wolff. “The benefits of that simplification and integration can be seen in a first version of the SP machine, based on the theory.”

In much the same way that people can learn for themselves from what they see and hear, there is potential for computers to create their own programs. Like people, a self-programming computer would have the flexibility to adapt to new situations. And with automatic or semi-automatic programming of computers, there would be less cost and fewer opportunities for errors to creep in.

With the SP system, there is potential for big cuts in the amount of information that needs to sent to transmit moving pictures to TVs, computers, or smart phones. If each TV or other device has a store of rules and patterns—a “grammar”—for the kinds of things that will be shown, then a video may be transmitted as a very compact “encoding” in terms of those rules and patterns.

“As this paper went to press, it was becoming clear that there is great potential with the SP system to cut down on the amount of energy that computers use,” said Dr Wolff. “Our brains do many things that are beyond what present-day computers can do but with relatively tiny amounts of energy. At least part of the reason appears to be compression of information—something that is central in the way the SP system works. Watch this space!”

The SP system has potential in several other areas, including the processing of natural languages, pattern recognition, several kinds of reasoning, as a versatile model for intelligent databases, in medical diagnosis, in the management and analysis of big data, in the compression of information, and in the seamless integration of diverse structures and functions.

If, as a conservative estimate, all the benefits and applications of the SP system were to add 5% to the value of annual worldwide IT investments—expected to be $3.8 trillion in 2014—they would be worth $190 billion each year, and increasing with the continuing growth of IT.

The new paper may be downloaded via “The SP theory of intelligence: benefits and applications” (PDF, J G Wolff, Information, 5 (1), 1-27, 2014. doi:10.3390/info5010001, A companion paper that describes the SP theory itself may be downloaded via “The SP theory of intelligence: an overview” (J G Wolff, Information, 4 (3), 283-341, 2013, doi:10.3390/info4030283,

More information about the SP theory and the SP machine may be found on, founded by Dr. Gerry Wolff, conducts research on the SP theory, the SP machine, and related issues in computing and in human perception and thinking.

Contact: Dr Gerry Wolff PhD CEng,, Menai Bridge, UK. jgw(at)cognitionresearch(dot)co(dot)uk, +44 (0) 1248 712962, +44 (0) 7746 290775, Skype: gerry.wolff,

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