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[3]: ...
by AnyoneEB on Thu 23rd Apr 2009 02:36 UTC 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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