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IPFS News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

A brain 'living in the Matrix' - scientists unveil $600,000 plan to merge MORE human brain c


A team of Australian scientists collaborating across academia and private industry have just received a three-year grant to weaponize their work growing brain cell cultures that are capable of communicating with machines.  

Over the past two years, the team has already succeeded in teaching a brain cell culture of approximately 800,000 neurons how to successfully play the 1970s video game Pong from its Petri dish. 

The $600,000 grant was awarded by the Australian government's military and intelligence communities and will be managed by the Australian Research Council.

'The beautiful and pioneering aspect of this work rests on equipping the neurons with sensations: the feedback,' as one of the Pong project's co-researchers, theoretical neuroscientist Karl Friston, put it last October. 

'And crucially,' Professor Friston added, the brain culture has been given, 'the ability to act on their world.' 

'Remarkably, the cultures learned how to make their world more predictable by acting upon it,' Friston said in a press statement. 

'This is remarkable because you cannot teach this kind of self-organization; simply because — unlike a pet — these mini brains have no sense of reward and punishment,' he explained.

The new project furthering this technology will be led by psychologist Adeel Razi at Australia's Monash University, where Razi also heads the school's Computational Neuroscience Laboratory.

The research has been done in partnership with Melbourne, Australia-based start-up Cortical Labs, as well as the University College London where Friston is based.