Scientists to build ‘human brain’: Supercomputer will take 12 years to build

“The human brain’s power could rival any machine. And now scientists are trying to build one using the world’s most powerful computer,” Tamara Cohen reports for The Daily Mail. “It is intended to combine all the information so far uncovered about its mysterious workings – and replicate them on a screen, right down to the level of individual cells and molecules.”

“If it works it could be revolutionary for understanding devastating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and even shedding light into how we think, and make decisions,” Cohen reports. “Leading the project is Professor Henry Markram based in Switzerland, who will be working with scientists from across Europe including the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute at Cambridge.”

Cohen reports, “They hope to complete it within 12 years… Our brains have 100 billion neurons. Each one performs billions of ‘calculations’ per second – roughly similar to a desktop computer. So the brain computer will need to be able to do a billion billion calculations which will require the output of a nuclear power station.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: What could go wrong?


      1. C’mon, we’re talking reality here, not fiction. There’s no such thing as a republican brain. Just a single cell wholly overcome with hubris, hypocrisy and greed. Similar to a democrat’s brain. You could model that with a single transistor.

  1. By the time Skynet became self-aware it had spread into millions of computer servers across the planet. Ordinary computers in office buildings, dorm rooms; everywhere. It was software; in cyberspace. There was no system core; it could not be shutdown. The attack began at 6:18 PM, just as he said it would. Judgment Day, the day the human race was almost destroyed by the weapons they’d built to protect themselves. I should have realized it was never our destiny to stop Judgment Day, it was merely to survive it, together. The Terminator knew; he tried to tell us, but I didn’t want to hear it. Maybe the future has been written. I don’t know; all I know is what the Terminator taught me; never stop fighting. And I never will. The battle has just begun. – John Connor

    (Brought to you by Carl’s Jr.)

    1. It is amazing how this sort of topic brings out the fantasy lovers out to try to live the books and movies they have seen as if they were reality.

      Computers can only regurgitate what the programmers write into them. Otherwise, they cannot do anything better than random linking of files and spew them out. No intelligent life here.

      1. thanks for the news flash…

        FYI, the concept for the movie is that a computer of sufficient complexity suddenly becomes self-aware. It’s one theory of consciousness – that it happens spontaneously in such a sophisticated network.

        So yeah, they do what they’re programmed to do. Of course. But that doesn’t speak against the premise of these stories.

          1. I love the way you insult everyone who doesn’t agree with your comments.

            Left, right, bright, stupid, fat, thin, it doesn’t matter to you.

            You are an equal opportunity abuser.


      2. @3l3c7ro,
        Right because scifi fantasies like 3D TV and talking phones never happen. Nothing changes. It has always been like this.
        Wake up, computers are getting smarter and more data driven (learning) as apposed to program driven. Its all happening. Except for fembots. Fembots are beyond our reach forever.

        1. The more you study computer technology and the more that you write code and the more you study human capacity, you will realize how great of a task it is to even contemplate what is needed to just produce a computer that is as advanced as a rat. Science fiction has shown us the way to produce many things but they are just crude tools compared to what we are. Please continue to be amazed at what science can do but consider that it is only a fraction of what we are capable of doing.

          1. I do realize what a great task it is – all I do every day is work on computer technology – and both software and hardware are advancing at an exponential rate. Human level computing is “only” 20-30 years away.

            Everyone is aware of the march of hardware. For instance, parallel GPU computing has crossed over from being a graphics technology to a general computing technology in the last few years. The number of GPU cores per card a rising quickly, and programming to farms of PCs with multiple GPUs each is become quite easy. This kind of computing happens to be very applicable to neural networks and other kinds of data driven learning.

            Software advances are not so well known outside machine learning fields, but simple mathematical techniques, such as convolution, allow layers of computation such as for vision, which in the brain involve trillions of synapses, to be modeled by a tiny fraction of that number of software connections. There are many ways in which computers have major efficiency advantages over performing the same computations are brain does.

            Ya, 20-30 years and we are either enhancing ourselves with this technology, or obsoleting ourselves.

      3. 3l3c7ro, man, you’re no fun…

        And anyway, with some of these SciFi computer revolt stories, it’s less that the computer becomes intelligent and just decides that it doesn’t like us, than, like you said, that it’s PROGRAMMED with instructions to identify and destroy any threats to itself. Then, eventually human’s become a threat, and the computer follows the instructions that it was PROGRAMMED to do and begins to destroy it’s threat, us, and wipe out humanity. Of course, I’ll be able to save the day by just by saying, “Computer, I’m telling the truth when I say that I always lie!” No computer can handle that and it will be distracted as it’s sent into an infinite loop trying to sort out the paradox while I quickly get in to the system and pull the plug on the machine saving humanity and becoming a hero.

        You can thank me know if you like…

    2. I Robot… the story of the rise of the machine and the decline of Man, which paradoxically coincided with his discovery of the wheel… and a warning that his brief dominance of this planet will end, because Man tried to create Robot in his own image.

      – Alan Parsons, 1976

        1. No, only religious wing-nuts have that more virtuous crap goal.

          The rest of us have that relentless urge to procreate and help sustain the species, just like the rest of the lifeforms on this planet.

    1. “The discussion of Data’s sentience turns to metaphysical matters. Picard points out that Data meets two of the three criteria that Maddox uses to define sentient life. Data is intelligent and self-aware, but Picard asks anyone in the court to show a means of measuring consciousness. With no one able to answer this, Louvois acknowledges that neither she nor anyone else can measure this in Data (nor in any other person present) and, as such, Data, as a matter of law, is a sentient being.”

        1. How can you say Star Trek is just fantasy, when you have a personal communicator in your pocket that works anywhere in the world, and you are using a computer or touchscreen connected to a vast database of combined human knowledge? Take a look around you – last generation’s science fiction is happening everywhere, right now.

          Star Trek doesn’t document actual events, the way something like a football broadcast or a reality show does – it shows what reality can and should be, and scientists and engineers all over the world are designing and engineering the things that make up our reality based largely on what they have seen in Star Trek.

  2. Like all humans are equally intelligent. Some are very intelligent while others are not.

    Then there are the stupid ones—Fox news viewers and their fellow gnat brained republican nutters. The scietists should be able mimic them in about a days time.

    1. OT: Politics Ahoy!

      Um KillBill, I appreciate the sentiment very much. But part of the problem with the Tard Party and Fux News suckers is their inability to spell. And you are exhibiting that same attribute. So….

      I’m just trying to be ‘Fair and Balanced’, for real.

      1. Vile, judgmental comments like this are out of place on an Apple fan site, particularly when the story is about a proposed super-computer and not politics.

        If I had to guess I’d say you’re under 30 and were ‘educated’ at an American public school. See how easy it is to malign total strangers?

    2. How about idiot Lemmings like ill bill, complete Racist-Freedom-Haters. I bet you just love destroying the constitution and trampling on freedom you jack ass. You probably love this:

      IRS Travel Ban: Revoking Citizenship By Stealth

      Read it through until the end if your nano-brain can handle it.

      Hopefully the supercomputer gets what freedom is all about helps put a stop to liberalism once and for all.


  3. This is great substance for an imaginative, Gary Larson Far Side cartoon.

    How will they know when they are done, and will the rest of the world remain relevant until then?


    By the time this new AI (Artificial Insanity) computer is built, it will OOD (Out Of Date) by a decade. Making an announcement like this is incredibly silly, considering the pace with which technology progresses.

  5. In 12 years scientist will discover they did not included some variables to replicate the human brain, maybe variables that will emerge on new studies about the brain. And I don’t think the answer to this “problem” is any way a linear solution, to add on more and more computing power until the computer becomes smart enough. Of course, I know they are working on the software problem too, so this is a structure.

    If those scientist want to demonstrate they can build a real natural brain they should start by showing us a computer able to behave like a real monkey, but where is that computer today? Anyway, the problem is not to create a convincing representation act, but the hole smart, conscious, warm, sensitive, humorous or exiting experience.

    And how they can be sure that synthetic brain laking the sensors and experience creatures have will be really smart to answer complex human questions?

  6. Dont think you can simply reproduce the brain in a monolithic stagnant superbrain like this after all this the same process that has been attempted for some years now.

    Turing always said it is not the form of the intelligence that is key it is how it appears to us when we interact with it so this monolithic approach is unlikely to work. Key to giving a ‘computer’ real intelligence starts with pr programming like we are through out genes but it has to then learn and this is done in humans by interaction via our senses and processing it and communication and learning and processing that. Therefore a robot as part of the process is important so that the intelligence can explore physically and the siri approach is vital so that it can look for find and process all the myriad of information anywhere in the world and communicate it flawlessly with humans… eventually.

    The brain itself outside of the central core is everywhere its physical incarnations are everywhere and then just matbe it can make up some of the millions of years of development the animal and human brain has gone through a good bit quicker. But in all honesty we are still a long way from making a big leap forward as yet. This experiement might help to establish the core but that’s just the beginning of the process.

  7. Twelve years is too long. They can get at least 10 years shaved off the development if they just sample some BRAIN TISSUE from Ballmer, DELL, Thurrottten, Dvorhack, Enderlnuthead and add the final ingredient of Schmidt and BOOM. Yes it will be dumb as a door knob, but hey they got a brain to work with.

  8. “Scientists to build human brain”

    “It will take 12 years to build”

    My niece just built one in just under 9 months. She named it Scarlett. What a cutie.

    My niece just has a high school diploma but she did have some help from her boyfriend.

  9. This article is somewhat misleading. The goal of the project is not to create a sentient computer. The goal of it is to simulate interactions in the neocortical comumn using data collected on the positions and shapes of neurons from another brain. While this may lead EVENTUALLY to a sentient machine, that is stll very far off.

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