Breakthrough in artificial intelligence using human brain cells is an ‘exciting next step’

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more powerful – but all this processing consumes a lot of energy.

Now, a dramatic breakthrough by US scientists could lower AI’s energy needs by using human brain cells.

A team led by Indiana University Bloomington’s Feng Guo has used small clusters of lab-grown human brain cells to solve basic math problems.

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The researchers say that “brainoware” could replace silicon-based computer hardware in the future to create high-performance computers with much lower power requirements. A human brain requires around 20 watts of power, while the AI ​​that defeated world champion Lee Sedol in the strategy game Go used over 5000 watts.

AI uses a lot of energy – but billions of years of evolution have made real brains far more efficient (Image: Getty Images)

As the AI ​​performs more complex tasks, it requires more power. Self-driving cars, for example, are estimated to use up to 20% more energy than conventional cars.

When self-driving cars and airplanes become commonplace, and soldiers and judges are eventually replaced by AI equivalents, the energy demands would be enormous.

But the Bloomington team’s “living AI hardware, harnessing the computing power of 3D biological neural networks in a brain organoid,” could change all that.

Scientists say there could be serious ethical issues in using real brain cells for AI (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto) Read more

The tiny balls of human cells lack blood vessels, so they can’t grow beyond a certain size, but the researchers say the tiny brains still managed to solve a complex mathematical equation called the Hénon map.

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Brett Kagan of Cortical Labs in Australia, who was doing similar research using clusters of mouse brain cells he dubbed “dishbrains,” told New Scientist that while the research Bloomington published should provide more detail, it was “an exciting idea to explore.” may be.

“Organoids are an exciting next step in using biological neurons for information processing,” he said, adding that they’re “something we’ve also been exploring with different collaborators over the last 15 months, and they can show a lot of interesting patterns.” of activity.”

However, other researchers have questioned the use of living human brain tissue as the basis for artificial intelligence.

Some believe this could raise significant ethical issues in the future.

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