Human Brain Project

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The complexity of the brain is something that I will never understand. I am very intrigued as to how scientists are trying to recreate the human mind inside a supercomputer. This is under the Human Brain Project, which uses supercomputers to mimic tangle of neurons and synapses that power our thoughts.  The hope of those involved is to develop solutions to attacking conditions such as depression, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.



Since 2005, the Switzerland based Blue Brain Project has been attempting to feed a computer with vast quantities of data and algorithms which was produced from studying tiny slivers of rodent gray matter. Recently, they have announced a significant advancement by being able to use their simulator to accurately predict the location of synapses in the neocortex. This effectively mapped out the complex electrical brain circuitry through which thoughts travel. The man behind this is Henry Markram, a South African-born Neuroscientists. He stated, "The breakthrough would have taken decades, if not centuries to chart using a real neocortex. It was proof their concept, dubbed brain in a box by Nature magazine, would work."


From these developments, both sides are joining forces to create the Human Brain Project with hope for a funding of $1.3 billion of European Commission over the span of the next 10 years. It is predicted that they are a decade away from producing a synthetic mind.  This mind would be able to talk and interact in the same way as we do.


Many other scientists are saying they are destined to fail but the team continues to shrug off those negative comments.  This thought relates to our discussions in class because scientists love to criticize the work of others scientists. This can be seen directly with Professor Read's paper that he has been trying to get published as other members of the science community have critiqued his findings. Constructive criticism can be beneficial to scientists because it allows them to enhance their ideas and present them in a better fashion to the public. It is up to them, as the experts, to disprove any false nature of the research because it can have immense implications on society.

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Does this mean that the scientists have the possibility of creating human-like robots, with thoughts, emotions, and feelings? This for some reason makes me think of those sci-fi horror movies in which the computer becomes too smart for its own good, begins to question why it should take orders, and consequently takes over the world (okay maybe that's a little far-fetched, but you get my point). I find it fascinating that we may be able to create a synthetic mind. Computers are generally seen as lifeless, emotionless machines. What would this be defined as?

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