Research, Technology

Scientists propose to make biocomputers from artificially grown brains

Artificial brains meanan organoid, that is, a three-dimensional collection of brain cells derived from modified stem cells. The organoid is not a complete copy of the organ, but may be similar to it. Earlier, we talked about the fact that a human organoid was transplanted into a rat, after which it took root and began to function as part of the brain. This is just one of many experiments confirming that organelles can function like the brain. Now scientists want to go even further. An interdisciplinary team of researchers proposes to transform organoids into a biological computer that can perform complex computational tasks. This area has even been given a name - "organoid intelligence".

Scientists plan to create a biocomputer from brain organelles


  • 1 Why do we need a biological computer?
  • 2 What is the advantage of the human brain over the computer?
  • 3 Biocomputer based on the brain - is it somewhat real?
  • 4 Will such an artificial brain become a superintelligence?

Why do we need a biological computer?

As we discussed earlier, scientists can alreadyunite organelles into organoid networks. However, earlier these possibilities were used exclusively for medical purposes. For example, in the mentioned article, we talked about an organoid network with signs of schizophrenia, which will help scientists better understand the disease and develop new methods of treating it.

As a matter of fact, for these purposes they were createdorganelles. They were first grown in 2013 in order to study such a disease as microcephaly. Since then, the organoids have been used to study various common brain diseases, as well as to treat brain damage in rats.

Organoid - a three-dimensional accumulation of cells of a certain tissue, imitating a human organ

But why do we need a biological computer, becauseAre silicon processors able to handle computing tasks much more efficiently? On the one hand, it is, but on the other hand, the human brain learns better. According to scientists, organelles contain many cells that the human brain uses to receive information, that is, learning, and its subsequent storage. In their opinion, a biological computer can be indispensable in solving computational problems that require fast learning without a lot of energy.

What is the advantage of the human brain over a computer?

The ability to learn quickly is not the onlyadvantage of the human brain over computers. It also has the unique ability to store large amounts of information. The average capacity of our brain is estimated at 2500 TB. According to some scientists, the human brain remembers much more than we realize. And those memory problems that we experience are actually related to the reproduction of information.

For example, if you read a book and eventuallyif you forgot some moments or chapters from it, when you read it again, you will remember what is written in the text. This phenomenon is a confirmation that the brain actually remembers information, but cannot reproduce it.

The memory capacity of the brain is estimated at 2500 TB

According to scientists, transistor computers are alreadyreach their limits, as it becomes difficult to increase the number of transistors in a small chip. The artificial brain, according to scientists, can be scaled and generally has a great potential for computing abilities.

Brain-based biocomputer - is it somewhat real?

How are scientists going to createa “processor” similar to the human brain? To create a biocomputer, scientists first adapt bioengineering and machine learning tools to stimulate and record neural activity in brain organelles, according to an article published in Frontiers in Science.

Thanks to this, it will be possible not only to sendand receive data from organoids, but also combine them together, that is, form complex networks of brain clusters. In this way, it will be possible to increase computing power, as if several brains of individuals were combined into one, more powerful brain.

Neural networks formed by organoids can be scaled

Currently, brain organelles thatare used for medical purposes, contain relatively few cells (about 50 thousand), and therefore their computational capabilities are small. But in order to use organelles for computational purposes, their number will have to be increased to 10 million neurons.

Will such an artificial brain become a superintelligence?

This question is sure to be of interest to many.from the very beginning of the article. According to scientists, most likely the biocomputer will not have a mind, but surely the organoids will acquire some form of intelligence. This will most likely raise the question of what consciousness is and whether organoids possess it.

Scientists doubt that the biocomputer will have a mind

It is now known that organellesare able to mimic the oscillatory behavior of the nervous system during cortical development, that is, brain waves from the stage of premature baby to the period of individual development. Moreover, under anesthesia, these vibrations fade like the human brain.

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Although some scholars believe that noA biocomputer will not have a mind, since even a large accumulation of neurons connected together does not make it a mind. Hank Greely compares neurons to a pile of hewn stones that don't necessarily form Chartres Cathedral, even if there are a lot of them. However, the team plans to involve members of the public and other scientists in their research to assess ethical issues.