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TOPIC: Will we ever… simulate the human brain?

Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 03:25 #1

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Will we ever… simulate the human brain?
A billion dollar project claims it will recreate the most complex organ in the human body in just 10 years. But detractors say it is impossible. Who is right?

(Copyright: Thinkstock)

For years, Henry Markram has claimed that he can simulate the human brain in a computer within a decade. On 23 January 2013, the European Commission told him to prove it. His ambitious Human Brain Project (HBP) won one of two ceiling-shattering grants from the EC to the tune of a billion euros, ending a two-year contest against several other grandiose projects. Can he now deliver? Is it even possible to build a computer simulation of the most powerful computer in the world – the 1.4-kg (3 lb) cluster of 86 billion neurons that sits inside our skulls?

The very idea has many neuroscientists in an uproar, and the HBP’s substantial budget, awarded at a tumultuous time for research funding, is not helping. The common refrain is that the brain is just too complicated to simulate, and our understanding of it is at too primordial a stage.

Then, there’s Markram’s strategy. Neuroscientists have built computer simulations of neurons since the 1950s, but the vast majority treat these cells as single abstract points. Markram says he wants to build the cells as they are – gloriously detailed branching networks, full of active genes and electrical activity. He wants to simulate them down to their ion channels – the molecular gates that allow neurons to build up a voltage by shuttling charged particles in and out of their membrane borders. He wants to represent the genes that switch on and off inside them. He wants to simulate the 3,000 or so synapses that allow neurons to communicate with their neighbours.

Erin McKiernan, who builds computer models of single neurons, is a fan of this bottom-up approach. “Really understanding what’s happening at a fundamental level and building up – I generally agree with that,” she says. “But I tend to disagree with the time frame. [Markram] said that in 10 years, we could have a fully simulated brain, but I don’t think that’ll happen.”

Even building McKiernan’s single-neuron models is a fiendishly complicated task. “For many neurons, we don’t understand well the complement of ion channels within them, how they work together to produce electrical activity, how they change over development or injury,” she says. “At the next level, we have even less knowledge about how these cells connect, or how they’re constantly reaching out, retracting or changing their strength.” It’s ignorance all the way down.

“For sure, what we have is a tiny, tiny fraction of what we need,” says Markram. Worse still, experimentally mapping out every molecule, cell and connection is completely unfeasible in terms of cost, technical requirements and motivation. But he argues that building a unified model is the only way to unite our knowledge, and to start filling in the gaps in a focused way. By putting it all together, we can use what we know to predict what we don’t, and to refine everything on the fly as new insights come in.

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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 06:31 #2

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I dont think they will, at least not for a very long time.
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

1365 = 1

1.1365 = 1,283,305,580,313,352
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 06:48 #3

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Until they know what the human brain actually is, I don't think it will be possible, even then probably not. It's like time travel, they'll never do it imo :chuckle:

What if our brains are receiver transmitters of information, like what if we're decoding the universe or something, our brains drink from the ether? :think: I don't know :chuckle:
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 06:57 #4

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irrepressible wrote:
Until they know what the human brain actually is, I don't think it will be possible, even then probably not. It's like time travel, they'll never do it imo :chuckle:

if they could, wouldnt we know about it. :think:

and great scott, perhaps they would have us in vats like in the matrix or something... point is we would be totally pwned perhaps. :think:


irrepressible wrote:
What if our brains are receiver transmitters of information, like what if we're decoding the universe or something, our brains drink from the ether? :think: I don't know :chuckle:

yep dunno... on one hand it can be described as simply a slab of meat containing chemicals and electrical signals... but theres something there, the unknown, that the mad scientists cant replicate. Not even close.
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

1365 = 1

1.1365 = 1,283,305,580,313,352
Last Edit: 11 Feb 2013 06:57 by novum.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 07:06 #5

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Yeah, we do have our limits as a species I suppose :chuckle: I mean attempting to make a copy of the human brain and everything it does is beyond us I think. Also, why? Why do it? "Look mum! I made a BRAAAIN!" :fresse: We're supposed to have other brains as well aren't we, in our intestines and things?
How are they going to connect their simulated brain to the infinite universe? :D I'm just throwing things out here, I don't have a clue :chuckle:
Last Edit: 11 Feb 2013 07:06 by irrepressible.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 07:15 #6

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They probably are only interested in connecting them to robot soldier bodies and worker bodies. :hahano:

Could end up cheaper than chinese and indian peasants for the globalists, if they could make a go of it and mass produce brainy robots. ( in the beginning they would use chinese and indian peasants to make them, then costs come down when the robots make the robots and dont need humans) :coffee:

They could even make actors, and the studios would make even more cash, i mean do you think they really like giving Johnny Depp 70 mill for wearing eyeshadow and dressing up as a pirate, when a smart robot would probably do it for a tin of oil or something.
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

1365 = 1

1.1365 = 1,283,305,580,313,352
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 07:20 #7

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It sounds so comedic and horrific at the same time :chuckle: They'll probably make them absurdly strong as well, then when they turn on their human masters, there'll be limbs everywhere :chuckle:

What if the Robot Keanu Reeves is a better actor? :hahano:

It could end up a Skynet situation, or less serious, a Blade Runner scenario.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 11 Feb 2013 07:23 #8

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irrepressible wrote:
It sounds so comedic and horrific at the same time :chuckle: They'll probably make them absurdly strong as well, then when they turn on their human masters, there'll be limbs everywhere :chuckle:

What if the Robot Keanu Reeves is a better actor? :hahano:

It could end up a Skynet situation, or less serious, a Blade Runner scenario.

tbh id help em and sell out if they just gave me a bicentennial man style robot servant... though id specify that i prefer it looks more like little miss in her prime (Embeth Davidtz) and less like robin williams.
I remember the good old days, when 90+ year olds in nursing homes lived forever. Darn this pesky virus.

1365 = 1

1.1365 = 1,283,305,580,313,352
Last Edit: 11 Feb 2013 07:27 by novum.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 12 Feb 2013 02:21 #9

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the brain is just a machine, imo its just a transmitter, a way to convert what the soul/spirit says/thinks/wants/needs into an electrical signal that the body/physical/3-dimensional us can understand. its a network of nerves, it operates the physical body, tells us when something should hurt, when you should be sad, when something feels good, when something is broke, tastes, sounds, smells, textures, feelings, etc... all of which our spirit feels through our body, so the body feel its because of the nerve endings that connect to the brain that transmit these signals to the invisible us that has the conscious and then "us" responds, and the brain transmits our responses into something the physical can understand. the subconscious operates on a much different level, one that isn't transmitted to the brain and sends out signals to the physical.

without artificial intelligence, a computer program or software basically pre-programmed with morals or feelings, a computer brain wont be possible. and even with AI it will never be the same as a living feeling breathing being...it is just a program. if somehow someday the computer software, AI, learned or gained a soul, conscious of its own, then it might be something more than just a machine, just a computer that has been pre-programmed with acceptable software.

anyway, just my thoughts... computer simulated brain or not, without the conscious/subconscious, which i believe is our true selves (the soul/spirit) it wont ever be more than a computer program. given, right now, most people only use what some 5-10% of their brain at any given time, a computer might be able to utilize 50%, 75%, 100% of it but its still not the same.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 12 Feb 2013 02:33 #10

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also... the brain is like a filing system... it works as a storage facility.... information gets filed in a filing cabinet up there, pictures, names, video replay of something that happened to us or was said to us... like the files on a computer or harddrive. perhaps when we die, how people say "i saw my life flash before my eyes" is the brain downloading everything we learned or saw, what we experienced, to our soul so that we remember forever afterwards. and if you believe in reincarnation, we carry with us a subconscious memory of our past lives because the brain of our "old self" downloaded all the information upon our death before, and accessing that subconscious memory from the file download before is all part of individual evolution and enlightenment...the more we are enlightened the easier it becomes to access the old downloads and remember who or what we were, what we learned and experienced... but if we can't remember, it still helps guide us in this life.

and that would also go towards playing into the brainwashing, being programmed to do things or say things, whether we remember it afterwards or not (mk-ultra, monarch, etc...)... our brain is just a computer, a filing system, it can be programmed and rewired to override the harddrive (or our conscious, our soul/spirit). or in the case of mass brainwashing via media, subliminal messages, etc... it is still just a matter of programming our computers/filing systems to operate so that our harddrives do not take over. some people break out of that programming because of experiences or because of an outside source helping to reprogram, again, our computers so that the blocks and wires that got crossed in the programming the first time around comes undone and allows the harddrive to take over again, like crashing and resetting a computer to manufacturer settings, a recovery disc inserted and it rewrites and wipes the pre-existing data and resets it to what it was before. or maybe our harddrive resets itself sometimes because it pulls from the previous lives, the previous downloads to our harddrive from the computer system and allows an auto-reset to happen.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 25 Feb 2013 18:19 #11

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"Will we ever… simulate the human brain?"

My God, I certainly hope not!!! :umm:

Natural organic ones are bad enough. :(
"The plastic face forced to portray, all the insides left cold and gray...."
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 25 Apr 2013 12:02 #12

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phemohilia wrote:
"Will we ever… simulate the human brain?"

My God, I certainly hope not!!! :umm:

We already do since at least >30 years.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network



Shocking?

Average joe lives in medieval age compared to what we have in store.
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Last Edit: 25 Apr 2013 12:05 by Oracle.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 25 Apr 2013 23:26 #13

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Oracle wrote:
phemohilia wrote:
"Will we ever… simulate the human brain?"

My God, I certainly hope not!!! :umm:

We already do since at least >30 years.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network



Shocking?

Average joe lives in medieval age compared to what we have in store.

Whilst we know what we need to do to create an analogue we're still a long way off. We can create something for specific tasks like driving a car or winning a quiz show but nowhere near creating something that is born and learns from it surroundings and creates a personality and decides what it wants to do.

To be honest I sort of hope we don't, not because I'm scared of skynet/terminator scenario but I reckon it would be pretty cruel to the neural network if it became aware like that. It would have always been created for our needs and would probably never be out equal. It would be interesting to do but a bit harsh if it's aware.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 26 Apr 2013 11:15 #14

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username wrote:
Oracle wrote:
phemohilia wrote:
"Will we ever… simulate the human brain?"

My God, I certainly hope not!!! :umm:

We already do since at least >30 years.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_neural_network



Shocking?

Average joe lives in medieval age compared to what we have in store.

Whilst we know what we need to do to create an analogue we're still a long way off. We can create something for specific tasks like driving a car or winning a quiz show but nowhere near creating something that is born and learns from it surroundings and creates a personality and decides what it wants to do.

To be honest I sort of hope we don't, not because I'm scared of skynet/terminator scenario but I reckon it would be pretty cruel to the neural network if it became aware like that. It would have always been created for our needs and would probably never be out equal. It would be interesting to do but a bit harsh if it's aware.

You don't quite understand.

The human brain is multiple times inferior to these super computers and neural networks.

Think of them as being alive, they learn, and they think, ie they have problem solving strategies which develop.

www.cse.ohio-state.edu/~dwang/teaching/cse788/papers/Ulloa-nn03.pdf
ir.uiowa.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3260&context=etd

Just public domain stuff. :hahano:
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 26 Apr 2013 11:39 #15

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I do understand

The first paper you linked to is an example of a neural network that has been programmed to learn however in the narrow remit of learning how to adapt to manipulate different objects. Therefore it has only been programmed for a specific task and that task requires adaptation. I'm not disputing that.

So what I was getting at with my previous post is that we are still nowhere near developing something on a par with the human brain as a system. Such that it develops true personality, wants and needs. I don't think we should go that far as it would be irresponsible as i don't think en masse we could ever accomodate them in our societies. However when we do it will just be another thing we have to get through.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 26 Apr 2013 15:54 #16

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username wrote:
I do understand

So what I was getting at with my previous post is that we are still nowhere near developing something on a par with the human brain as a system. Such that it develops true personality, wants and needs. I don't think we should go that far as it would be irresponsible as i don't think en masse we could ever accomodate them in our societies. However when we do it will just be another thing we have to get through.

Obviously, you don't grasp how far technology has been developed.

We do have the capacity and calculating power to control 1000 humans with one computer.

The human brain is no match to state of the art technology, both in calculating power and gaining rapidly experience.
You take en entire life time to gain experience, a neuronal net theoretically can level equal pretty fast.

What you state is already a reality.
What I posted are just old hat commercial variants.

Big clusters do have kind of consciousness.

I find it actually a pretty sick drive to artificially create machines which can become alive.
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Last Edit: 26 Apr 2013 15:59 by Oracle.
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Will we ever… simulate the human brain? 26 Apr 2013 17:11 #17

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I know how far technology has come, I'm also fully aware of it's limitations.

Whilst neural nets can be made that perform _specific_ tasks we are nowhere near making one which can choose what do with it's 'life'. That's why we're still nowhere near the human brain. Whilst i may take a lifetime to gain experience it takes that long as it's a full and varied life. A neuronal nets life it short yet specific, fast yet designed. That's why they can't beat humans.
Last Edit: 26 Apr 2013 17:14 by username. Reason: can vs can't :D
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