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

From: Thomas McCabe (
Date: Thu Nov 15 2007 - 19:29:32 MST

> Despite the leaps in bringing the cost of computer hardware down,
> isn't it still more expensive than a few grams of organic rat brain?
> Would we even hear about it if research were being done on using (for
> example) the optic nerve as an input and the spinal column as an
> output on a real brain? Is it completely immoral to even consider
> 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?
> [1]
> [2]

This would require much, much better nanotechnology and BCI. We design
computers from the ground up; each transistor, each line of code is
wired to do exactly what we want. To make any kind of brain into an
effective computer, we would either have to design a computational
system with millions of neurons that does what we want, or find such a
system in a pre-existing organism and then reconstruct it
artificially. Both of these are far beyond present-day technology;
maybe by 2025 we'll be able to do it, if you believe Kurzweil's

 - Tom

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