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By GeorgiosJuly 24, 2023In AI

Military Funds Revolutionary Brain-Chip Computer

Scientists at Monash University have achieved a groundbreaking technological feat by creating the “DishBrain” – an incredible semi-biological computer chip integrated with over 800,000 lab-grown human and mouse brain cells. This cybernetic fusion of biological components and electronic circuitry has demonstrated remarkable learning capabilities and attracted significant interest from the defense community.

Understanding How the DishBrain Works

The core of the DishBrain is a micro-electrode array that can both monitor activity in the brain cells and electrically stimulate them. Leveraging this functionality, the researchers developed a version of Pong where the brain cells controlled the paddle movement by responding to an electrical stimulus representing the ball’s position.

When the paddle successfully hit the ball, the neurons received a predictable positive stimulus. But missing the ball resulted in unpredictable stimulation, which the cells learned to avoid within just 5 minutes of gameplay. This simple decision-making and adaptation indicated a primitive form of sentience emerging from the interaction of living neurons and electronics.

Military Funding to Advance AI Capabilities

The Australian Department of Defense has recognized the DishBrain’s potential to revolutionize artificial intelligence, providing over $400,000 in funding for further development. Integrating living components with AI could enable advanced systems that learn and adapt in real-time. Autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity programs, and other defense applications could become incredibly sophisticated by replicating human cognitive processes.

However, many experts have also raised ethical concerns about fusing brain matter with technology. As the DishBrain exhibits signs of learning and sentience, debates arise regarding the rights and treatment of such semi-biological entities. Additional dilemmas involve data privacy, security, and the potential misuse of brain-derived data.

The Path Ahead for Brain-Chip Technology

To balance innovation with ethics, collaborative efforts between scientists, policymakers, and the public are necessary. Transparent guidelines and communication can build trust in this paradigm-shifting technology.

The fusion of silicon and carbon-based intelligence promises to transform fields from medicine to robotics. But we must proactively address the profound moral implications of manipulating brain tissue within machines. With responsible oversight and innovation, brain-computer integration could usher in an era of transformative discoveries that ultimately benefit humanity.

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Georgios is speaking at NectText 2023 by MIT
Georgios at the cover of MIT Sloan magazine

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