Computers with human brains could be the way of the future

By Ashley Strickland, CNN

(CNN) – The human brain is unmatched in its ability to process information.

Sure, we have days when our minds don’t feel as sharp. But the extraordinary 3-pound organ is still capable of things that supercomputers and robots can’t.

The human brain has evolved into billions of neurons that allow us to learn and make complex logical decisions. We can look at two different animals, say a cat and a dog, and tell them apart while a computer struggles with the task.

Advances in artificial intelligence have caused some to wonder when computers will cross the line that separates humans from technology, like the sentient computer HAL 9000 from the sci-fi novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

So far, no form of AI has made such a leap toward humanity. But there might be a new game in town.

Back to the Future

A new field called organoid intelligence could be the basis for computers powered by human brain cells.

Lab-grown brain organoids — nicknamed “intelligence in a bowl” — are pen-dot-sized cell cultures that contain neurons capable of brain-like functions.

Researchers on Tuesday announced their plan to eventually use brain organoids to create energy-efficient “biocomputers” that could rival today’s supercomputers and revolutionize pharmaceutical testing for diseases like Alzheimer’s.

But the biological hardware brings with it a variety of ethical concerns, including whether organoids can acquire consciousness or sentience, or feel pain.

Defy gravity

A Russian rescue spacecraft scheduled to return cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio to Earth has successfully docked outside the International Space Station.

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The trio traveled to the space station in September, but they were stranded with no way home after their original capsule suffered a coolant leak. The crew will return to Earth later this year.

Meanwhile, Crew-6, including two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates, arrived at the orbiting lab on Friday.

Sultan Alneyadi, who will become the first Emirati astronaut to complete a long-term stay in space, said he brought a special treat to share with his ISS crew members.


Camels predominate in Dubai, where they compete in beauty contests and races.

The hunchbacked animals, long-standing cultural symbols of the Emirati way of life, are so prized that camel cloning has become a thriving industry in the Gulf country city.

dr Nisar Ahmad Wani, who created the world’s first camel clone in 2009, is the scientific director of the Reproductive Biotechnology Centre, where dozens of camel clones are produced every year.

The clones are replicated by camel “beauty queens,” known for their signature pendulous lips and long necks, and elite racers. But scientists could also use technology to save an endangered wild camel species.

Wild Kingdom

Scientists have stumbled upon an unusual hummingbird with glistening golden throat feathers in Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park. But what the researchers thought was a new species has a complicated family history.

The hummingbird turned out to be a hybrid formed when two pink-throated species came together. But how did two shades of pink turn into gold?

The unlikely chromatic evolution likely took place over millions of years – and researchers just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see it.

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The night sky

A bright new light appeared in the evening sky more than 1,800 years ago. Chinese astronomers recorded their observations of the “guest star,” which lingered for about eight months before disappearing from view.

The event is considered the first recorded supernova in human history. Now a new telescopic image has captured the faint, ring-shaped remnants of the starburst against a glowing backdrop of stars.

As the Sun becomes more active, skygazers have spotted a surge in stunning light shows like the Aurora Borealis in the northern hemisphere and the Aurora Australis in the southern hemisphere.

Even if you don’t live in the far north or far south, keep an eye out as the dancing lights appear in unexpected places.


Share these highlights with a friend to expand your knowledge:

— A scientist was running errands when he spotted a giant flying beetle on the side of a large department store. His find turned out to be an incredibly rare insect from the Jurassic period.

– The Hubble Space Telescope captured a movie showing what happened after the DART spacecraft impacted the asteroid Dimorphos and shows how the space rock trailed after September’s collision.

– Newly discovered chemicals are so deadly to fungi that researchers were inspired to name them after actor Keanu Reeves, in reference to his wild roles in movies like ‘John Wick’ and ‘The Matrix’.

The CNN Wire
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