The real Frankenstein experiment: One man’s mission to create a living mind inside a machine

By | January 6, 2010

Professor Markram believes that if his 'Blue Brain' project is successful, it will render vivisection obsoleteProfessor Markram believes that if his ‘Blue Brain’ project is successful, it will render vivisection obsolete

His words staggered the erudite audience gathered at a technology conference in Oxford last summer.

Professor Henry Markram, a doctor-turned-computer engineer, announced that his team would create the world’s first artificial conscious and intelligent mind by 2018.

And that is exactly what he is doing.

On the shore of Lake Geneva, this brilliant, eccentric scientist is building an artificial mind. A Swiss – it could only be Swiss – precision- engineered mind, made of silicon, gold and copper.

The end result will be a creature, if we can call it that, which its maker believes within a decade may be able to think, feel and even fall in love. …

What Markram’s project amounts to is an audacious attempt to build a computerised copy of a brain – starting with a rat’s brain, then progressing to a human brain – inside one of the world’s most powerful computers.

This, it is hoped, will bring into being a sentient mind that will be able to think, reason, express will, lay down memories and perhaps even experience love, anger, sadness, pain and joy.

‘We will do it by 2018,’ says the professor confidently. ‘We need a lot of money, but I am getting it. There are few scientists in the world with the resources I have at my disposal.’

There is, inevitably, scepticism. But even Markram’s critics mostly accept that he is on to something and, most importantly, that he has the money.

Tens of millions of euros are flooding into his laboratory at the Brain Mind Institute at the Ecole Polytechnique in Lausanne – paymasters include the Swiss government, the EU and private backers, including the computer giant IBM. Artificial minds are, it seems, big business.

The human brain is the most complex object in the universe. But Markram insists that the latest supercomputers will soon have its measure.

via The real Frankenstein experiment: One man’s mission to create a living mind inside a machine | Mail Online.

4 thoughts on “The real Frankenstein experiment: One man’s mission to create a living mind inside a machine

  1. arjay001

    I wonder just how intelligent an AI would be. I can imagine a mind operating with all availible knowledge and tools at insane speeds. Would it be able to understand things in just a few years that would take top minds generations to figure out. Imagine if Einstein lived for another 100 years growing more intelligent every day. What could he have accomplished? AI may launch mankind into a new era of energy production, health and space travil/colonization.


  2. Cole

    If we ever succeed in creating an artificial intelligence, it would be amazing. Really I think it could lead to a change in the definition of “life”. Really an artificial mind would work in a similar fashion to ours: Communication, coordination, and calculation through a series of electrical signals. It’s like life now except silicon-based, not carbon. Carbon and silicon have the same number of valence electrons, if that has anything to do with it.

    Artificial life may even be able to reproduce in a way. Mobile intelligences could eat metal and trash and extract metals for raw material. They could have a device with programed instructions on building replicas of themselves from the scraps with advanced tools. (Reminds me of the Tralfamadorians in The Sirens of Titan.)

    I want to know how much longer it is until we have AIs. I think we might need to rethink how computers store data. The human brain has unlimited capacity, but computers have a set number of bytes that they can use for storage. So how can it be done.

    I’m sure one day we will have AIs, and I’m sure we’ll start considering them as people at some point.

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  4. arjay001

    How would an AI be motivated? Programming? Seems all computers are programed by people to do a task. No matter how complex the programming is, a computer lacks motivation to go further. We are motivated by needs and wants. Pain avoidance, hunger, sexual drive..etc. How would a computer be rewarded for an original idea. How would it recognize an accidental discovery. I think the appearance of artificial intelligence is posible. True AI may be impossible. Computers that learn and remember simple task don’t really care about what they’re doing. It’s only programming.

    How about: Artificial Artificial Intelligence or AAI

    Just can’t shake it, AI won’t work!


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