The merge between artificial intelligence and human brain cells has taken an unprecedented leap, with a project receiving significant backing from the Australian government. The research, conducted by Monash University and Cortical Labs, is anticipated to revolutionize the field of artificial intelligence and bring forward a new era of “Organoid Intelligence” (OI).
A grant of $600,000 from the Australian National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants Program has been committed to this innovative venture. According to Adeel Razi, the project lead and associate professor from Monash University’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, the initiative is intended to elevate artificial intelligence to a new plateau, possibly overtaking the performance of current, purely silicon-based hardware.
Intelligence agency funding research to merge AI with human brain cells https://t.co/YsJXum9QD8
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Last year, the researchers successfully engineered a “DishBrain” – a semi-biological computer chip. The chip is a feat of technological innovation, integrating about 800,000 human and mouse brain cells grown into its electrodes. Demonstrating astonishing learning capability, the DishBrain could play the vintage video game “Pong” within minutes. The neurons in the brain cells act on the paddle, moving it left and right, driven by a moving electrical stimulus that represents the ball’s position on the screen.
Such advancement suggests a future where artificial intelligence, powered by Biological Intelligence Operating Systems, could be self-programming, require less memory, conserve energy, and continue to learn throughout its lifespan similarly to human brain cells.
Razi emphasized the potential impact of this research, stating it could have “significant implications across multiple fields such as planning, robotics, advanced automation, brain-machine interfaces, and drug discovery,” thereby granting Australia a distinct strategic edge.
As part of their vision, the team plans to leverage this grant to “develop better AI machines that replicate the learning capacity of these biological neural networks,” Razi continued. The ultimate aim is to scale up the hardware and methods capacity to a point where they serve as a viable alternative to current silicon computing.
Adding to the financial backing, TechCrunch reported in April that Cortical Labs garnered an additional $10 million in funding, which included contributions from In-Q-Tel, the venture arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
While there are exciting prospects on the horizon, we must tread cautiously, ensuring ethical considerations and transparency remain at the forefront of such endeavors.