In order to build better computers, engineers will need to better understand how the brain works. In turn, this will allow us to build better, smarter computers that have some (or all) of the characteristics found in the human brain.
These visionaries describe themselves as neuromorphic engineers. Their goal, according to Karlheinz Meier, a physicist at the University of Heidelberg who is one of their leaders, is to design a computer that has some -- and preferably all -- of three characteristics that brains have and computers do not. These are: low power consumption (human brains use about 20 watts, whereas the supercomputers currently used to try to simulate them need megawatts); fault tolerance (losing just one transistor can wreck a microprocessor, but brains lose neurons all the time); and a lack of need to be programmed (brains learn and change spontaneously as they interact with the world, instead of following the fixed paths and branches of a predetermined algorithm).
To achieve these goals, however, neuromorphic engineers will have to make the computer-brain analogy real. And since no one knows how brains actually work, they may have to solve that problem for themselves, as well. This means filling in the gaps in neuroscientists' understanding of the organ. In particular, it means building artificial brain cells and connecting them up in various ways, to try to mimic what happens naturally in the brain.
|Lack of Sleep Kills Brain Cells|
|Temporo-Parietal Junction: the Part of the Brain that Decides What Goes Viral on Social Media|
|U.S. Court Rules Human Genes Cannot Be Patented, Artificial DNA Can|
|Time is Real, Immortality is Next and We All Live 80 Milliseconds in the Past|
|The Economist's Modest Proposal: Talking to Our Alien Neighbours Using a Neutrino Based Communication Network|
|“Self-driving trucks will begin hauling mail between USPS facilities.”|
|“For the first time in the history of life, we can affect the future of our evolution.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|Recycled Vacuum Lamps|
|U.S.S. Enterprise Owner's Manual|
|“A deep fake sex video emerges in a Google search of your name.”|
|“A driverless electric truck began daily freight deliveries on a public road.”|
|“The company is losing billions, has essentially no underlying value, and its business could be hammered overnight.”|
|Naked Preacher Lady [NSFW]|
|“A new residential building under construction will feature a flying car skyport on the roof.”|
|“We are undergoing the greatest economic transformation in our history, and we are dealing with it by pretending nothing is happening.”|