How will we build an artificial human brain?
2012-05-02 0:00

By George Dvorsky | io9.com

There’s an ongoing debate among neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and even philosophers as to whether or not we could ever construct or reverse engineer the human brain. Some suggest it’s not possible, others argue about the best way to do it, and still others have already begun working on it.



Image: io9.com


Regardless, it’s fair to say that ongoing breakthroughs in brain science are steadily paving the way to the day when an artificial brain can be constructed from scratch. And if we assume that cognitive functionalism holds true as a theory — the idea that our brains are a kind of computer — there are two very promising approaches worth pursuing.

Interestingly, the two approaches come from two relatively different disciplines: cognitive science and neuroscience. One side wants to build a brain with code, while the other wants to recreate all the brain’s important functions by emulating it on a computer. It’s anyone’s guess at this point in time as to who will succeed and get there first, if either of them.

Before we take a deeper look into these two approaches, however, it’s worth reviewing what our friend Alan Turing had to say about brains.

The Church-Turing Hypothesis

Given that scientists are looking to model the human brain in digital substrate (i.e. a computer), they’re having to work in accordance to a rather fundamental assumption: computational functionalism. This goes back to the Church-Turing thesis which states that a Turing machine can emulate any other Turing machine. Essentially, this means that every physically computable function can be computed by a Turing machine. And if brain activity is regarded as a function that is physically computed by brains, then it should be possible to compute it on a Turing machine, namely a computer.

So, if you believe that there’s something mystical or vital about human cognition you’re probably not going to put too much credence into these two approaches.

Or, if you believe that there’s something inherently unique about intelligence that can’t be translated into the digital realm, you’ve got your work cut out for you to explain what that is exactly — keeping in mind that any informational process is computational, including those brought about by electrical and chemical reactions. Minds are what brains do, so it’s not too implausible to suggest that minds are what computers can do, too.

Rules-based artificial intelligence

One very promising strategy for building brains is the rules-based approach. The basic idea is that scientists don’t need to mimic the human brain in its entirety. Instead, they just have to figure out how the "software" parts of the brain work; they need to figure out the algorithms of intelligence and the ways that they’re intricately intertwined. Consequently, it’s this approach that excites the cognitive scientists.

Some computer theorists insist that the rules-based approach will get us to the brain-making finish line first. Ben Goertzel is one such theorist. His basic argument is that other approaches over-complicate and muddle the issue. He likens the approach to building airplanes: we didn’t have to reverse engineer the bird to learn how to fly.

Essentially, cognitive scientists like Goertzel are confident that the hard-coding of artificial general intelligence (AGI) is a more elegant and direct approach. It’ll simply be a matter of identifying and developing the requisite algorithms sufficient for the emergence of the traits they’re looking for in an AGI. They define intelligence in this context as the ability to detect patterns in the world, including in itself.

[...]


Read the full article at: io9.com



Video from: YouTube.com





Also tune into:

Jim Elvidge - The Singularity Will Not Occur, Programmed Reality & Infomania

Jim Elvidge - The Singularity, Nanobot’s & Reality Simulation

Kevin Warwick - Artificial Intelligence & The Rise of the Machines in 2020

Aaron Franz - The Philosophical Roots of Transhumanism

Marcia Schafer - Extraterrestrials, Artificial Intelligence & Cosmological Society








Related Articles


Latest News from our Front Page

The Unsafe Child: Less Outdoor Play is Causing More Harm than Good
2015-09-02 0:39
The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon ...
Rights group demand police need warrant to access data
2015-09-01 23:48
American citizens should be able to rest safe in the knowledge that no one has the right to pry into their digital records, where they have been and how long they stayed there. The Supreme Court has just received a brief from the Electronic Frontier Federation (EFF) stating that this should certainly be the case. However, in the case of Davis v. ...
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities
2015-09-01 23:33
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city [Milwaukee]. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year–after 86 homicides in all of 2014. More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ...
Bulgaria - Islamic State Terrorists Caught Crossing Into Europe Posing As Refugees
2015-09-01 23:47
Bulgarian authorities near the Gyueshevo border checkpoint detained the five men, aged between 20 and 24, late on Wednesday, Bulgarian broadcaster NOVA TV reported. The men were stopped by a border guard, who they attempted to bribe with a “wad of dollars.” However, they were searched and Islamic State propaganda, specific Jihadists prayers and decapitation videos were found on their phones. In ...
How This NY Mom Made the Case for Her Son’s Religious Vaccine Exemption
2015-09-01 22:27
An unidentified, Russian immigrant mother who practices the Russian Orthodox faith, has secured a religious vaccine exemption for her autistic son. New York has a bill on the table to eliminate religious exemption and to root out those who weren’t refusing vaccines on strictly devout, religious grounds. Yet, this woman’s plight goes back before talk of eliminating the exemption – two ...
More News »