Re: Biological computation using real brains (was: answers I'd like, part 2)

From: Bryan Bishop (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2007 - 18:50:57 MST

On Thursday 15 November 2007 09:23, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> this?  It is possible to regrow brain tissue in songbirds [1] -
> surely with promising results in directly using this tissue for
> computation we could 'grow' a computing platform?  I agree that
> biology is messy and that a brain emulated in silicon should scale
> better than a lump of meat.  Even without perfect understanding we
> have acess to functional wetware.  Is there some reason we aren't
> exploiting it?

It is my understanding that we are well on our way to doing this. We
have mouse neuronal tissue that paints art, moves robotic hands from
across the internet (on the other side of the planet), or slices of
tissue that play the flight simulators. A question on this topic that I
have been pondering for a while is this: how long can we keep neurons
in a dish alive? Eventually this will lead up to questioning how long
we can keep a brain alive in a jar.*

* Not directly related, but I am sure some us would rather have our
brain kept alive rather than mere cryogenics, even if it is just a
salvaged hippocampus wired up to a machine.

- Bryan

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