hallelujah, it’s raining brains
August 13, 2008 5 Comments
Good news, everybody! Scientists have figured out how to build living brains:
Because the brain is living tissue, it must be housed in a special temperature-controlled unit — it communicates with its “body” via a Bluetooth radio link.
… From the very start, the neurons get busy. “Within about 24 hours, they start sending out feelers to each other and making connections,” said Warwick. “Within a week we get some spontaneous firings and brain-like activity” similar to what happens in a normal rat — or human — brain, he added.
These built-from-scratch brains are independent:
The robot has no additional control from a human or computer.
and unique, too.
… “It’s quite funny — you get differences between the brains,” said Warwick. “This one is a bit boisterous and active, while we know another is not going to do what we want it to.”
Funny is one way to describe it…
since we could build big ones to make something smarter than we are:
much of the difference between rodent and human intelligence, speculates Warwick, could be attributed to quantity not quality.
Rats brains are composed of about one million neurons, the specialised cells that relay information across the brain via chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Humans have 100 billion.
What mad scientist could resist a challenge like that?
It will be awhile before human brain cells are cobbled together in enzyme baths and attached to electrodes, but the ethical dilemma of whether to use human cells actually might not matter at all. If it is only a matter of quantity…
update: In the meantime, here’s a video about the brains attached to robots: