Real AI Will Need Biology: Computers Powered by Human Brain Cells

Summary: The human brain continues to massively outperform AI technology in a range of tasks, a new study reports. The researchers describe their plans for biocomputers and organoid intelligence systems as future improvements in artificial intelligence technology.

Source: Cortical laboratories

Now is the time to create a new kind of computer, say researchers at Johns Hopkins University in collaboration with Dr Brett Kagan, chief scientist at Cortical Labs in Melbourne, who recently led the development of the DishBrain project, in which human cells in a Petri dish learned to play Pong.

In an article published today in Scientific frontiersthe team describes how biological computers could outperform today’s electronic computers for some applications while using a small fraction of the electricity required by today’s computers and server farms.

They begin by creating small clusters of 50,000 stem cell brain cells known as organoids. It’s about a third the size of a fruit fly brain. They are targeting 10 million neurons, which would roughly correspond to the number of neurons in a turtle’s brain. By comparison, the average human brain has more than 80 billion neurons.

The article highlights how the human brain continues to massively outperform machines for particular tasks. Humans, for example, can learn to distinguish between two types of objects (like a dog and a cat) using just a few samples, while AI algorithms need thousands. And while the AI ​​beat the Go world champion in 2016, it trained on data from 160,000 games, the equivalent of playing five hours a day, for more than 175 years.

Brains are also more energy efficient. Our brains are thought to be able to store the equivalent of over a million times the capacity of an average home computer (2.5 petabytes), using the equivalent of just a few watts of power. US data farms, by contrast, use more than 15,000 megawatts a year, much of it generated by dozens of coal-fired power plants.

In the paper, the authors outline their blueprint for “organoid intelligence,” or OI, with brain organoids grown in cell culture. Although brain organoids are not “mini-brains”, they share key aspects of brain function and structure. Organoids should be greatly expanded from about 50,000 cells currently.

“For OI, we would need to increase that number to 10 million,” says lead author Professor Thomas Hartung of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Brett and his colleagues at Cortical Labs have already demonstrated that biocomputers based on human brain cells are possible. A recent article in neuron showed that a flat culture of brain cells could learn to play the video game Pong.

“We’ve shown that we can interact with living biological neurons in a way that causes them to change their activity, leading to something akin to intelligence,” Kagan says of DishBrain, a relatively simple game of Pong. .

“Working with the incredible team of people assembled by Professor Hartung and his colleagues for this organoid intelligence collaboration, Cortical Labs is now trying to replicate this work with brain organoids.”

“I would say that reproducing [Cortical Labs’] experimenting with organoids already meets the basic definition of OI,” says Thomas.

The article highlights how the human brain continues to massively outperform machines for particular tasks. Image is in public domain

“From now on, it’s just about building the community, the tools and the technologies to realize the full potential of OI,” he said.

“This new area of ​​bioinformatics promises unprecedented advances in computing speed, processing power, data efficiency, and storage capabilities, all with lower energy requirements,” says Brett. “The particularly exciting aspect of this collaboration is the open and collaborative spirit in which it has been formed. Bringing these diverse experts together is not only vital to maximizing success, but provides an essential point of contact for industry collaboration. »

And the technology could also allow scientists to better study custom brain organoids developed from the skin or small blood samples of patients with neural disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and perform tests to study how genetic factors, drugs and toxins influence these conditions.

See also

This shows a diagram of the study

Note: TH is named inventor of a Johns Hopkins University patent on the production of brain organoids, which is licensed to AxoSim, New Orleans, LA, USA, and receives royalty shares.

TH and LS consult AxoSim. JS is named inventor of a patent from the University of Luxembourg on the production of midbrain organoids, which is licensed to OrganoTherapeutics SARL, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. JS is also co-founder and shareholder of OrganoTherapeutics SARL.

AM is a co-founder and holds a stake in TISMOO, a company dedicated to genetic analysis and organogenesis of the human brain, focusing on personalized therapeutic applications for autism spectrum disorders and other neurological disorders of genetic origin.

The terms of this agreement have been reviewed and approved by the University of California, San Diego in accordance with its conflict of interest policies. BK is an inventor on patents for technology related to this paper, in addition to being employed and holding shares in Cortical Labs Pty Ltd, Melbourne, Australia.

No specific funding or other incentive has been provided for participation in this publication.

The other authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationship that could be interpreted as a potential conflict of interest.

About this artificial intelligence and bioinformatics research news

Author: Press office
Source: Cortical laboratories
Contact: Press Office – Cortical Laboratories
Picture: Image is in public domain

Original research: The findings will appear in Scientific frontiers

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