Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Apr 2009 17:14 UTC, submitted by orfanum
Geek stuff, sci-fi... A detailed simulation of a small region of a brain built molecule by molecule has been constructed and has recreated experimental results from real brains. The "Blue Brain" has been put in a virtual body, and observing it gives the first indications of the molecular and neural basis of thought and memory. Scaling the simulation to the human brain is only a matter of money, says the project's head. The work was presented at the European Future Technologies meeting in Prague.
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RE[2]: ...
by Hiev on Wed 22nd Apr 2009 23:29 UTC in reply to "RE: ..."
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

To emulate human thought they would also have to emulate human conscience, and human conscience is beyond rationality, we, the humans, have spirituality. Im sure they can emulate the rational part, but not conscience or spirit. Is not just possible. It can be programmed in a certain way (the way the programmer desides) but not to have self conscience. No such thing.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: ...
by AnyoneEB on Thu 23rd Apr 2009 02:36 in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
AnyoneEB Member since:
2008-10-26

First, they are not programming an AI, they are running a physical simulation of the cells which make up a small piece (and later larger pieces) of a mammal brain, which they believe that with large software and hardware upgrades they could scale up to physically simulating an entire human brain.

That said, it is obviously unknown how much such a simulation would act like a human as no one has tried it yet. From a purely materialist point of view, it should be indistinguishable from a real human. The people working on the simulation say (in the FAQ at http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/page18924.html#16 ):

"Will consciousness emerge?

We really do not know. If consciousness arises because of some critical mass of interactions, then it may be possible. But we really do not understand what consciousness actually is, so it is difficult to say."

They are making no claims about being able to successfully simulate intelligence or consciousness. Even if they fail to do so, research in that direction would probably still give great insight into how the brain works and advance medical science.

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RE[3]: ...
by panzi on Thu 23rd Apr 2009 19:49 in reply to "RE[2]: ..."
panzi Member since:
2006-01-22

A simulation does not work that way. The brain is simulated and not programmed. The simulated "universe" is programmed, not the things in it. They develop like (so is the theory) in the real universe. (Yes, its not a whole universe but only a tiny part.)

Reply Parent Score: 2