IBM Replicates Brain Activity

August 26, 2011

The world of machines is one step closer to replicating human brain activity. BBC News covers the latest IBM development in, “IBM Produces First Brain Chips.” We learned:

IBM has developed a microprocessor which it claims comes closer than ever to replicating the human brain . . . The SyNAPSE system uses two prototype “neurosynaptic computing chips”. Both have 256 computational cores, which the scientists described as the electronic equivalent of neurons. One chip has 262,144 programmable synapses, while the other contains 65,536 learning synapses.

Man versus machine is a common cultural expression, but “man machine” might soon enter the picture. The learning synapses included in the system are able to simulate the process of learning, or strengthening of certain connections through exposure to certain experiences. While a miraculous leap in the worlds of technology and engineering, experts are still cautious. Cognition is a process over and above that of computation. And while the SyNAPSE system might use high-level computation to simulate cognition, some wonders of the human brain remain to be solved.

Our view is that IBM public relations is active and we will have to wait to see if the innovation delivers. A public demo of Watson running on these new chips would be quite useful to us here in Harrod’s Creek.

Emily Rae Aldridge, August 26, 2011

Sponsored by Pandia


2 Responses to “IBM Replicates Brain Activity”

  1. Raymond Bentinck on August 26th, 2011 7:24 am

    When I did my computing science degree many years ago, the University I took it in were leaders in artificial intelligence. I even built a relational database using one of the AI programming languages. Alas, even though it may have been artificial it was certainly not intelligent.

    What I learned, at the time, was just how far we were away from creating “intelligence” as we think of it let alone get anywhere near to replicating human behavior which is more important for passing the Turing test.

    When I did my course, science just did not have the right theories around human behavior. How can you replicate something in technology if you do not understand how the original was designed or worked?

    But we are making progress. As we start unravelling the brain and more importantly the evolution of the brain, we are starting to understand human behavior better and our theories are improving. This knowledge is beginning to trickle down to people in many walks of life such as understanding how human’s make purchasing decisions and in other areas such as artificial intelligence.

    IBM may have a machine that can replicate certain aspects of brain such as the mechanics of neurons, but until they have a machine that replicates how people think, learn, understand and behave it won’t come close to passing the Turing test.

    This is one of the reasons I do chuckle when I see vendors talk about “meaning based” computing. Meaning implies thinking, learning, understanding, behavior and dare I say intelligence. But then again, do “business intelligence” solutions really provide “intelligence” about your business?

  2. The Green Balloon « jaimies on August 30th, 2011 6:40 pm

    […] (3) IBM replicates brain activity […]

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