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Scientists to create digital copy of brain - Death a thing of the Past?

By Black Panther ·
Scientists to create digital copy of brain
Swiss institute links with IBM to expose 'magic' of the human brain's neocortical column

James Watson, Computing 08 Jun 2005
ADVERTISEMENTSwiss scientists and IBM have announced plans to create a detailed digital model of a neocortical column, a tiny but crucial area of the human brain.

Professor Henry Markram, founder and head of Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique F?d?rale de Lausanne's (EPFL) Brain Mind Institute, says the simulation will 'phenomenally' accelerate the pace of neuroscience research.

'Some experiments, just to study one pathway, may take us three years to complete. With this model, we could do them in a day or even a couple of hours,' he said.

Under the Blue Brain project, IBM is building a custom version of its Blue Gene supercomputer with 8,000 processors, each of which will simulate the behaviour of one to two neurons.

The system will have a peak processing speed of 22.8 teraflops, making it one of the world's 10 most powerful systems.

'This whole machine will be converted into one tiny little column, simulating about 10,000 neurons,' said Markram.

By comparison, the human neocortical column, which measures about half a millimetre wide and two millimetres long, contains between 50,000 and 70,000 neurons, with five to 10 kilometres of 'cables' connecting them.

The entire human brain contains about a million of these columns.

Markram says the accumulation of a vast amount of data about the brain, combined with the power of today's supercomputers, makes such a simulation possible.

'It's just two things that have converged. It's the massive amount of data that has been built up over the past 100 years, which has been perfected and quantified in the past 10 years - and then the power of supercomputing,' he said.

Markram has been conducting detailed research and experimentation over the past decade to generate the necessary quantitative data required on the micro-architecture of the neocortex for such a model to be plausible.

The neocortical column marks the evolutionary step from reptiles to mammals - the quantum leap that started the new form of mammalian intelligence that eventually culminated in human intelligence and cognitive function.

'This is really the magic in evolution that occurred,' said Markram. Subsequent phases of the project will expand the simulation to include circuitry from other brain regions and finally the whole brain.

Markram says the project will eventually provide a better understanding of how and why certain microcircuits in the brain malfunction. These malfunctions are thought to cause psychiatric disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and depression.

Death a thing of the Past

Death 'a thing of the past'
From correspondents in London
May 23, 2005
From: Agence France-Presse

Your brain ... coming to a computer near you DEATH could become a thing of the past by the mid-21st century as computer technology becomes sophisticated enough for the contents of a brain to be "downloaded" on to a supercomputer, according to a leading British futurologist.

But he told London's Observer newspaper the technology might be expensive enough to remain the preserve of the rich for a decade or two more.
Among other eyebrow-raising predictions by Ian Pearson, head of the futurology unit at British telecommunications giant BT, is the prospect of computer systems being able to feel emotions.

This could eventually involve such things as planes being programmed to be even more terrified of crashing than their passengers, meaning they would do whatever possible to stay airborne.

While the predictions might sound outlandish, they were merely the product of extrapolations drawn from the existing rate at which computers are evolving, Mr Pearson said in an interview.

"If you draw the timelines, realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem," he said. "If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine.

"We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving: 45 years is a **** of a long time in IT.",10117,15375641-13762,00.html

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Artificial Intelligence

by BFilmFan In reply to Scientists to create digi ...

There are a number of scientists that believe that the intelligence shown in the human brain is a side-effect of quantum interaction, rather like a radio tuning in a radio station.

Personally, I believe they will have to create a working artificial intelligence before we can begin to discuss transferring human minds into a new "machine" form.

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Our "brain's" downloaded to a machine...

by TomSal In reply to Scientists to create digi ...

Grreeeeat...can you say one more step closer to SkyNet?

And people said Hollywood is clueless.

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More like Brainstorm

by JamesRL In reply to Our "brain's" downloaded ...

Natalie Wood....nuff said.Where is BFilmfan anyway?


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Sorry, not interested. Try next door.

by DMambo In reply to Scientists to create digi ...

I don't have the slightest interest in having my mind live on in perpetuity. Whether there's an afterlife or not, I'll be glad to follow the standard progression of Nature as it relates to my being. Even if you suggested that my mind and body could stay "young" (actually kind of late for that already), I'd pass. As soon as we are able to do that, the Earth's population would explode and life here would become unbearable, unless we find ways to control the environment that we're destroying. And I'm sure overall, we're putting a lot more resources into improving computer technology than protecting our little rock. So, who wants to hang around for that mess??

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I'd do it, if...

by jck In reply to Sorry, not interested. ...

they would upload my mind to control a spacecraft. Then, my mind could just go and explore space.

Since I am too big and blind to get in the shuttle program, only way I'll go to space is in an urn or win the powerball lotto and pay to go up.

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But jck

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to I'd do it, if...

If they downloaded your mind into anything at all there would be no Booze!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How could you live them?

Col ]:)

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dude...Col...think, my good man...

by jck In reply to But jck

If Gene Roddenberry can think of Synthehol for people...and you can program a conscience into a can program Synthehol for a computer-based conscience.

deep cleansing breath...exhale...drink Guinness :)'d be nicer to be able to enjoy it til the end of the universe (or the power cells, which ever dies first), rather than be totally without drink as a dead corpse...

unless ya think God has Guinness in heaven...then I'm repenting and croakin fast!!!

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"Heechee" books by Frederick Pohl

by neilb@uk In reply to dude...Col...think, my go ...

Your personality can be stored in a computer after your death - starts as a commercial service called "Hereafter". By the fourth and final book, when the hero has been stored, the process is very far advanced with whole societies zipping around in the future equivalent of cyberspace, spawning off "doppels" to speak to the appallingly slow "meat intelligences".

And, for jck, they have the electronic equivlant of beer and sex. ****! For me, too if I ever get stored!

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just so long

by jck In reply to "Heechee" books by Freder ...

as I got to pick my beer and my lover...that'd be okay.

I can see someone like ITgirli programming it, seeing my name, and sticking me in cyberhell with room-temp Stag beer and Divine the cross-dressing drag queen.

Who would my beer and lover choices?

OOOH!!! Riddle time!!!

Both are Irish, one is hot...One is breathless, one hits the is dark, both have great taste...and neither one I'd put to waste. Can you guess my choices?

(I shoulda been a f***ing sphinx...)

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Ooh, Ooh, I know

by DMambo In reply to just so long

The beer is Guinness. That's easy.

Now the lover......hmmmm. I got it!!!

The Riverdance dude, right?

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