Artificial brain '10 years away'
2009 07 24
By Jonathan Fildes | news.bbc.co.uk
Professor Markram said he would send a hologram to talk at TED in 10 years
Professor Markram talks with the BBC about the Blue Brain (Audio)
A detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years, a leading scientist has claimed.
Henry Markram, director of the Blue Brain Project, has already simulated elements of a rat brain.
He told the TED Global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses.
Around two billion people are thought to suffer some kind of brain impairment, he said.
"It is not impossible to build a human brain and we can do it in 10 years," he said.
"And if we do succeed, we will send a hologram to TED to talk."
The Blue Brain project was launched in 2005 and aims to reverse engineer the mammalian brain from laboratory data.
In particular, his team has focused on the neocortical column - repetitive units of the mammalian brain known as the neocortex.
"It's a new brain," he explained. "The mammals needed it because they had to cope with parenthood, social interactions complex cognitive functions.
"It was so successful an evolution from mouse to man it expanded about a thousand fold in terms of the numbers of units to produce this almost frightening organ."
And that evolution continues, he said. "It is evolving at an enormous speed."
Over the last 15 years, Professor Markram and his team have picked apart the structure of the neocortical column.
"It's a bit like going and cataloguing a bit of the rainforest - how many trees does it have, what shape are the trees, how many of each type of tree do we have, what is the position of the trees," he said.
"But it is a bit more than cataloguing because you have to describe and discover all the rules of communication, the rules of connectivity."
The project now has a software model of "tens of thousands" of neurons - each one of which is different - which has allowed them to digitally construct an artificial neocortical column.
Although each neuron is unique, the team has found the patterns of circuitry in different brains have common patterns.
"Even though your brain may be smaller, bigger, may have different morphologies of neurons - we do actually share the same fabric," he said.
"And we think this is species specific, which could explain why we can't communicate across species."
To make the model come alive, the team feeds the models and a few algorithms into a supercomputer.
"You need one laptop to do all the calculations for one neuron," he said. "So you need ten thousand laptops."
Instead, he uses an IBM Blue Gene machine with 10,000 processors.
Simulations have started to give the researchers clues about how the brain works.
For example, they can show the brain a picture - say, of a flower - and follow the electrical activity in the machine.
"You excite the system and it actually creates its own representation," he said.
Ultimately, the aim would be to extract that representation and project it so that researchers could see directly how a brain perceives the world.
But as well as advancing neuroscience and philosophy, the Blue Brain project has other practical applications.
For example, by pooling all the world's neuroscience data on animals - to create a "Noah's Ark", researchers may be able to build animal models.
"We cannot keep on doing animal experiments forever," said Professor Markram.
It may also give researchers new insights into diseases of the brain.
"There are two billion people on the planet affected by mental disorder," he told the audience.
The project may give insights into new treatments, he said.
The TED Global conference runs from 21 to 24 July in Oxford, UK.
Henry Markram - The Emergence of Intelligence in the Neocortical Microcircuit
The Blue Brain Project
Blue Brain Project
Artificial neural network
Aubrey de Grey, Artificial Intelligence, Singularity, Longevity and the Holy Grail
The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
The Creation of Smarter Than Human Intelligence
Robot Demonstrates Self Awareness
Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years
Patent sought on 'synthetic life'
Team develops DNA switch to interface living organisms with computers
Red Ice Radio - Kevin Warwick - Artificial Intelligence & The Rise of the Machines in 2020
Synthetic DNA on the Brink of Yielding New Life Forms
Red Ice Radio - John Lash - Artificial Technomania of the Archons
Brain Machine Interfaces
How Does The Brain Make Conscious Decisions?
Connect your Brain to the Internet?
'Brainbox' Computer Mimics Human Brain
Next-generation toys read brain waves
Reading This Will Change Your Brain
Neuroimaging Of Brain Shows Who Spoke To A Person And What Was Said
'We'll be able to upload our brains to a computer'
We are moving ever closer to the era of mind control
Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?
Building a Brain on a Silicon Chip
Henry Markram Lecture at IBM Research's Almaden Institute Conference on Cognitive Computing in 2006 (Video)
Henry Markram at TEDGlobal 2009: Running notes from Session 5
Latest News from our Front Page
6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine.
Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.”
Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia."
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
Georgia Guide Stone 2014 cube stone removal
2014 10 21
From: Youtube: Was it all just a gag? it seems the cube stone just happens to be made out of the same Elberton granite that the rest of this morbid monument is made from.
|More News » |