Are we ready for a brain on a chip?
Could we put the human brain on a microchip? Scientists in the UK hope that they'll be able to simulate at least 1% of it. The researchers, at the University of Manchester, want to string together 1 million processors to simulate the activity of 1 million neurons.
Neurons are the tiny cells inside the brain that send electrical charges to each other. They are the basic building blocks that make up your noodle, and there are around 100 billion of them in there. The SpiNNaker project will simulate just 1% of the neurons in the average head. It won't be enough to create a real-world version of Terminator II's Skynet, but it will give the researchers some interesting insights into how the brain works.
According to The Register, computer chips are developing so quickly that in about 25 years, we will be capable of fitting the equivalent of 1 million of them onto a single piece of silicon. This means we could fit a brain's-worth of neurons into something the size of a desktop PC.
The question is, even if we squeeze enough chips together to mimic the way that the neurons in a brain fire, will we have a brain? Or will we just have a bunch of chips? Will we ever be able to create a computer that really thinks, as we do? And even if we could, would be a good idea?
Danny Bradbury, MSN Tech & Gadgets