Monday, August 22, 2005

Big Blue and the Simulated Brain

Sounds like the title of children's book, doesn't it? -- But seriously, Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (part of the National Center for Competence in Research) is aiming to simulate the structures and functions of the brain, neuron by neuron.

A few years ago, the novel The Footprints of God, by Greg Iles, explored some of the ethical issues associated with re-creation or simulation a human brain and since then, we actually do now have the technology to monitor and reproduce brain activity at the quantum level. Some of the interesting questions include whose brain should be used as a "model" and what differences in the male and female brain will this technology reveal? Will this simulation have its own "mind" -- we don't really understand how consciousness arises, so will this give us some insight?

This is definitely a development to follow....

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