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

By George Dvorsky | io9.com

Thereís 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 itís not possible, others argue about the best way to do it, and still others have already begun working on it.



Image: io9.com


Regardless, itís 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 ó the idea that our brains are a kind of computer ó 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 brainís important functions by emulating it on a computer. Itís anyoneís 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, itís 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), theyíre 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 thereís something mystical or vital about human cognition youíre probably not going to put too much credence into these two approaches.

Or, if you believe that thereís something inherently unique about intelligence that canít be translated into the digital realm, youíve got your work cut out for you to explain what that is exactly ó keeping in mind that any informational process is computational, including those brought about by electrical and chemical reactions. Minds are what brains do, so itís 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 donít 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 theyíre intricately intertwined. Consequently, itís 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 didnít 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. Itíll simply be a matter of identifying and developing the requisite algorithms sufficient for the emergence of the traits theyíre 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, Nanobotís & 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

Galaxy Poll: 86 per cent of Australians want childhood vaccination to be compulsory?
2015-04-17 23:33
Australians want Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make childhood vaccination compulsory and close loopholes that allow vaccine refusers to put all children at risk. An exclusive national Galaxy poll commissioned by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed overwhelming support to ensure every child is vaccinated. The highest support for compulsory jabs is in South Australia, where 90 per cent support the call. The poll ...
Eye in the sky: Local police now using drones to spy on citizens
2015-04-17 22:09
The Harris County Precinct 1 Constable's Office is doing something that no other agency in Harris County is believed to have done yet: Use drones to help fight crime. It's an eye in the sky for law enforcement, without giving up the element of surprise. "It could absolutely save lives," says Constable Alan Rosen. Rosen says the agency's two new $1,200 drones, which ...
New Zealander of the Year: refuse vaccines, lose money
2015-04-17 22:47
Following in the footsteps of Australia, 2014 New Zealander of the Year, Dr. Lance O’Sullivan, wants to punish people who don’t get vaccinated. The New Zealand Herald (4/15) reports: “A leading New Zealand doctor has called on the Government to follow Australia’s example to cut child welfare payments to families who do not vaccinate their children, saying the policy would help protect ...
Iris Scanner Identifies a Person 40 Feet Away
2015-04-17 22:20
Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology. For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet. Like ...
Yes, You Can Catch Insanity
2015-04-17 22:29
One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies. Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain ...
More News »