22 July, 2009

News: Reverse Engineering the Human Brain

As many of you know, TED is a remarkable online and physical resource for discovering innovations from technology and science to activism and lawmaking. Their speakers and scholars are on the cutting edge, and I can't help but draw parallels between what they present, and visions of the future introduced in science fiction novels.

Henry Markram recently and boldly claimed that the human brain will be reverse engineered within the next ten years. Dr. Markram has been working for the last five years to achieve this in rodents and has made significant discoveries (imagine how happy animal rights groups will be when we no longer need to preform cruel experiments on animals). The ethical considerations of animal testing aside, I could not help but think back to the numerous science fiction books I have read where Artificial Intelligence is born after functionally modeling the human brain in a computer environment, thereby allowing the brain to process and understand information at supercomputer speeds. While Dr. Markram generally avoids this science fictiony subject, he is more than adventurous in speculating on the future applications of this revolutionary technology. Enjoy!


ediFanoB said...

Thanks for the TED link. Didn't know this site before.

As much as I like cyberpunk books and films like Matrix as much I'm scared when I read headlines like "Reverse Engineering the Human Brain". Of course mankind discovered and invented a lot of useful stuff BUT partially used them against human beings. Anyway time will tell. Hopefully we will always keep in mind and use the "Three Laws of Robotics" written by Isaac Asimov:

" 1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law."