Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Human Brain Simulations by 2018

Nine years seems optimistic to me, but Dharmendra Modha's one of those guys you have to take seriously. He's leading the DARPA funded SyNPASE team and the IMB Almaden Research Center. He's also the guy who a few years ago created a simulation of a rat's brain. It's also important to note that though a simulation would be incredible, its not necessarily AGI. Its fairly unclear to me what the outputs of the simulation would be, if any. I think this is purely for modelling purposes. None-the-less it would be an amazing feat that would seem to line up with Kurzwiel's predictions for AI breaking in the 2020's.

FTA: Although the brain is still not well understood, Modha said, "there is enough quantitative data for us to be able to begin putting together the pieces." He predicted that by 2018 computers will be able to simulate the workings of the human brain, a breakthrough that will provide researchers with unprecedented insight into how the complex organ operates.

And the same article also provides a little shout out to BMI/BCI: In addition to boosting computer performance, enhanced understanding of the brain will enable people to communicate directly with machines, whether they are robots or mechanized prosthetic limbs. Primates have already proved that such brain-machine interfaces are possible, Miguel Nicolelis, co-director of Duke University Medical Center's Center for Neuroengineering, said during the conference. The researcher and his colleagues last year successfully implanted electrodes in the brain of a monkey in North Carolina that enabled him to control a robot on a treadmill in Kyoto, Japan.

Nicolelis and his team have developed a microchip they expect will allow human brains to communicate with robots using only brain signals and enables the bots to return messages directly to the brain, without the use of sight or touch. Nicolelis said that he hopes the technology will be sophisticated enough to implant into a human brain by 2012 and enable a completely quadriplegic patient to walk again.

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