Will Europeans Fund $Billion Dollar Brain?

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Over at CNN, Barry Neild writes that the Human Brain Project has a billion-dollar plan to recreate the human mind inside a supercomputer. As reported here, the project recently announced a significant advancement when they were able to use their simulator to accurately predict the location of synapses in the neocortex, effectively mapping out the complex electrical brain circuitry through which thoughts travel.

Right now, we’re in a crisis in neuroscience,” said Sean Hill, a senior computational neuroscientist on the project. “There’s a lot of wonderful data being gathered but we don’t have a place where we can put those experimental results together and understand their implications. We are just beginning to appreciate how complex our brains are, far beyond any other device in the known universe. The benefit of having this facility is you have a place to integrate the data into a model where you can test predictions and start to learn principles of how the brain operates.”

If their current bid for €1 billion ($1.3 billion) of European Commission funding over the next 10 years is successful, project leader Henry Markram predicts that his team is just a decade away from producing a synthetic mind that could, in theory, talk and interact in the same way humans do. Read the Full Story.

In case you missed it, I wrote a scifi story a while back where such a machine gives the keynote at SC30. Read The Three Magi of Katrina.