Zoom in on the invisible world of the atom

Will a living computer soon follow the human brain and artificial intelligence?

George Hall

The list of achievements seems to be confirmed. Artificial intelligence is on the rise and has only one end point: the total and relentless victory of the artificial brain over man.

It began in 1997, when IBM computing veteran Deep Blue won a game of chess against Grand Master Garry Kasparov. In the years that followed, the artificial brains continued in this fashion. For example, in 2011, IBM’s Watson defeated two senior humans in American TV game Jybordi. And in 2016, the AlphaGo artificial brain built by Google’s DeepMind pushed human Go champion Lee Sedol to desperation during competition.

in a Previously posted on the site bioRxiv However, researchers are now describing how a human brain for change managed to achieve victory over artificial intelligence. This happened during Pong, the first computer game: an abstract version of table tennis, with a point like a ball and two bars like a bat. By the way, artificial intelligence did not compete with a human being, but – no, really – a collection of hundreds of thousands of human brain cells in a dish.

The researchers attached these brain cells to electrodes that can supply the cells with electrical impulses and read the cells’ activity. During a game of pong, the “stimulation” of cells on the left side of the block meant that the ball was on that side. Moreover, the faster the stimuli follow each other, the closer the ball will be.

Former Liverpool player and England international Steve Higway plays ping pong, the first computer game.Getty Images

The researchers then translated the resulting activity of the brain cells into the movement of the paddle. Or, as Principal Investigator Brett Kagan put it vs popular science weekly new world: We often say they exist the matrix Sitting ‘, in reference to the science fiction movie, where people live their lives as prisoners in a virtual environment. “When brain cells play this game, they think it’s the paddle.”

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Incidentally, the blocks of brain cells did not play bong like real people, and they also lost out to artificial intelligence, such as that of DeepMind. However, it turned out that they understood the matter much faster. Where the AI ​​had to play a game or five thousand to understand Pong, 10 to 15 times brain nuggets were enough. In addition, human brain nuggets outperformed mouse brain nuggets.

Researcher Andrew Adamatsky of the University of the West of England, who was not involved in the experiments, disputes this new world He cares about results. This is great research. I think in the future we will have a rich set of living computers.”

So perhaps not all of those human-machine competitions of the past decades were as relevant as we thought until now. Perhaps machines will never outsmart us, and we will merge into the living computers of Adamatzky’s dreams.

If you start slipping uncomfortably in your chair at thought, you’re not alone.

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