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Rat fighter pilots and the matrix

Discussion in 'News' started by Cruci4, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. Cruci4

    Cruci4 New Jack

    Joined: Dec 10, 2005 Messages: 7 Likes Received: 0
    link here:


    story here:

    Why this brain flies on rat cunning

    By Philip Sherwell
    December 7, 2004

    It sounds like science fiction: a brain nurtured in a Petri dish learns to pilot a fighter plane as scientists develop a new breed of "living" computer. But in groundbreaking experiments in a Florida laboratory that is exactly what is happening.

    The "brain", grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida.

    They hope their research into neural computation will help them develop sophisticated hybrid computers, with a thinking biological component.

    One target is to install living computers in unmanned aircraft so they can be deployed on missions too dangerous for humans. It is also hoped that the research will provide the basis for developing new drugs to treat brain diseases such as epilepsy.

    The brain-in-a-dish is the idea of Thomas DeMarse, 37, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida. His work has been praised as a significant insight into the brain by leading US academics and scientific journals.

    The 25,000 neurons were suspended in a specialised liquid to keep them alive and then laid across a grid of 60 electrodes in a small glass dish.

    Under the microscope they looked at first like grains of sand, but soon the cells begin to connect to form what scientists are calling a "live computation device" (a brain). The electrodes measure and stimulate neural activity in the network, allowing researchers to study how the brain processes, transforms and stores information.

    In the most striking experiment, the brain was linked to the jet simulator. Manipulated by the electrodes and a desktop computer, it was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds.

    "When we first hooked them up, the plane 'crashed' all the time," Dr DeMarse said. "But over time, the neural network slowly adapts as the brain learns to control the pitch and roll of the aircraft. After a while, it produces a nice straight and level trajectory."

    Previously, scientists have been able to monitor the activity of only a few neurons at a time, but Dr DeMarse and his team can study how thousands of cells conduct calculations together. But it is still a long way from a human brain.

    "The goal is to study how cortical networks perform their neural computations. The implications are extremely important," Dr DeMarse said.

    The first result could be to enable scientists to build living elements into traditional computers, enabling more flexible and varied means of solving problems. Although computers today are extremely powerful, they still lack the flexibility in working things out that humans take for granted.

    Computers, for example, find it difficult to spot the difference between a table and a lamp if they are unfamiliar with them.

    "The algorithms that living computers use are also extremely fault-tolerant," Dr DeMarse said. "A few neurons die off every day in humans without any noticeable drop in performance, and yet if the same were to happen in a traditional silicon-based computer the results would be catastrophic."

    The work by Dr DeMarse and his team is attracting interest from scientists around the world.

    The US National Science Foundation has awarded them a $US500,000 ($A640,000) grant to produce a mathematical model of how the neurons compute, and the US National Institute of Health is financing research into epilepsy.


    another related story...

    link here:


    story here:

    Scientists enter the brain's 'Matrix'

    (CNN) -- In a breakthrough that brings the technology of futuristic film "The Matrix" closer to reality, scientists say they have cracked part of the brain's own computer code.

    A team of neurology experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say they have deciphered brain waves used in the recognition of visual images.

    The development, reported in the journal Science, is reminiscent of the cult sci-fi film in which Keanu Reeves "jacks" into a computer system using a cable hardwired to his brain.

    Neuroscientists at MIT's McGovern Institute hope they will be able to mimic brain codes to improve computer algorithms used in artificial vision.

    "We want to know how the brain works to create intelligence," Tomaso Poggio, who carried out the research with James DiCarlo, told MIT's news office.

    "Our ability to recognize objects in the visual world is among the most complex problems the brain must solve. Computationally, it is much harder than reasoning."

    Just as the fictional Matrix recreates a virtual universe using a rapid stream of binary code, the brain's processing of visual data also involves high velocity computations, creating a major challenge for the scientists.

    To learn how the brain processes visual input, the researchers trained monkeys to recognize different objects such as faces, toys and vehicles.

    As the monkeys were confronted by each object, the activity of hundreds of neurons within the vision-related areas of the animals' brains was recorded.

    Using a computer to crunch the numbers, the scientists discovered that our gray matter actually takes just a split second and uses relatively small numbers of neurons to transmit precise information.

    Poggio said his team wanted to take more accurate snapshots of the brain's high-speed calculations in the hope of hacking more of the code.

    "If we could record a larger population of neurons simultaneously, we might find even more robust codes hidden in the neural patterns and extract even fuller information," he said.
  2. SF1

    SF1 Elite Member

    Joined: Apr 25, 2003 Messages: 4,866 Likes Received: 5
    So it aint long before robots take over and destroy the humans?
  3. Dawood

    Dawood Elite Member

    Joined: May 8, 2002 Messages: 4,677 Likes Received: 146
    yeah, man, seriously . there are corridors in life that are just way too dark and creepy to go poking around in.
  4. Cruci4

    Cruci4 New Jack

    Joined: Dec 10, 2005 Messages: 7 Likes Received: 0
    This wouldn't even be frightening to me if I didn't think military funding was the sole element dictating our evolution at this point. I'm sure every one of us could think of a use for these discoveries more profound than unmanned bombing missions. But there's no money for research outside of military use. I feel like great possibilities are being pissed away.

    Another thing I was thinking about: So basically that second article is about the matrix, in real life. So what kind of questions would be brought to the table, regarding perception, reality, and consciousness if there were a 'living computer' operating within a 'matrix' like environment? what would be 'real' then?

    Lately when I'm checking out articles, most of the headlines read like this, "This just in, we don't know shit."
  5. Technology always trickles down to the civilian world eventually.

    BURLAP Member

    Joined: Jul 29, 2004 Messages: 307 Likes Received: 0

    ha, pretty much.
  7. villain

    villain Veteran Member

    Joined: Jul 12, 2002 Messages: 5,190 Likes Received: 2
    Can you imagine a seven story tall brain controlling the vital functions of the global economy?
    huh..... neither can I... lol life is fucked up.
  8. Dawood

    Dawood Elite Member

    Joined: May 8, 2002 Messages: 4,677 Likes Received: 146
    Technology always trickles down to the civilian world eventually.
    [post=4210190]Quoted post[/post]​

    look at google earth, it's bugged out , man, and it's free. You can type any address in and it will take you right there, eye in the sky style 1000 ft above anywhere. If thats available free to anybody who has a computer, then what type of technology do they have to zoom in on you and count the change in your pocket?
  9. Herbivore

    Herbivore Senior Member

    Joined: Oct 12, 2004 Messages: 1,431 Likes Received: 1
    This is both amazing and horrifying.
  10. fermentor666

    fermentor666 Veteran Member

    Joined: Sep 27, 2003 Messages: 8,152 Likes Received: 15
    ^^ Agreed.

    I'm dying for people to figure out how the brain works and what the majority of the part we don't use does. But I'm also scared of this:

  11. John Birch

    John Birch Member

    Joined: Apr 14, 2004 Messages: 747 Likes Received: 0

    look at google earth, it's bugged out , man, and it's free. You can type any address in and it will take you right there, eye in the sky style 1000 ft above anywhere. If thats available free to anybody who has a computer, then what type of technology do they have to zoom in on you and count the change in your pocket?
    [post=4210614]Quoted post[/post]​

    google earth actually has data as good as the us gov't... all the high res sattelites are owned by the private sector and thus the data can be sold...its just that most people don't have the internet speed to download such big files...the best high res aerials is still done by planes...
  12. ASER1NE

    ASER1NE Veteran Member

    Joined: Oct 15, 2001 Messages: 7,578 Likes Received: 3
    I think smarter robots are the obvious way of the near future, and im surprised that with the Ridiculous advances made in electronics and computers , the advances in robotics arent at par.

    Aside from the murderous takeover in I-ROBOT the assistance that robots supplied to people in that movie would be awesome.