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AI-Powered Simulation of Human Brain by 2030 (VIDEO)

Infaredhuman Reverse-engineering the human brain so we can simulate it using computers may be a reality by 2030. It would be the first step toward creating super computers that are more powerful than the human brain by being networked into a cloud computing architecture to amplify their processing capabilities powered by intelligent algorithms, says Ray Kurzweil, artificial intelligence expert and author of The Singularity is Near.

 “The singular criticism of the singularity is that brain is too complicated, too magical and there’s something about its properties we can’t emulate,” Kurzweil told attendees at the Singularity Summit over the weekend reported “But the exponential growth in technology is being applied to reverse-engineer the brain, arguably the most important project in history.” 

Reverse-engineering some aspects of hearing and speech has helped stimulate the development of artificial hearing and speech recognition, says Kurzweil. Being able to do that for the human brain could change our world significantly, he said. The key lies in decoding and simulating the cerebral cortex — the seat of cognition. The human cortex has about 22 billion neurons and 220 trillion synapses.

 "A supercomputer capable of running a software simulation of the human brain doesn’t exist yet. Researchers would require a machine with a computational capacity of at least 36.8 petaflops and a memory capacity of 3.2 petabytes — a scale that supercomputer technology isn’t expected to hit for at least three years," according to IBM cognitive computing researcher Dharmendra Modha. By next year, IBM’s ‘Sequoia’ supercomputer should be able to offer 20 petaflops per second peak performance, and an even more powerful machine will be likely in two to three years. 

“Reverse-engineering the brain is being pursued in different ways,” says Kurzweil. “The objective is not necessarily to build a grand simulation — the real objective is to understand the principle of operation of the brain.” The design of the brain is in the genome. The human genome has three billion base pairs or six billion bits, which is about 800 million bytes before compression, he says. Eliminating redundancies and applying loss-less compression, that information can be compressed into about 50 million bytes, according to Kurzweil. About half of that is the brain, which comes down to 25 million bytes, or a million lines of code. 

But even a perfect simulation of the human brain or cortex won’t do anything unless it is infused with knowledge and trained, says Kurzweil. 

 Casey Kazan via



Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain:

take it from PZ Myers who knows something about biology.

You said, "Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain."

I've heard Ray Kurzweil himself admit that, so ya, even he would agree with your statement. I think it's pretty much a given that there are not really any serious scientists out there who think we fully understand the human brain. But that's not the point that Ray Kurzweil is making.

The main point he's been emphasizing for over 10 years now is:

*** We don't need to fully understand the human brain in order to create a simulation of it. ***

The brain is not doing it's thinking through magical-witchcraft. It does it's thinking through the mechanical (and possibly Quantum) laws of physics, which we don't fully understand. Thus it is a "mechanical" device that obeys the laws of physics.

Any mechanical device, no matter how complex, can be reverse engineered and copied.


For example, one way of achieving that is to create an ultra high speed computer whose only job is to run simulations of neurons. You would then need a highly advanced MRI machine, capable of taking an instant snapshot, at the resolution of each individual neuron. The MRI machine would then download the snapshot of someone's brain (including the current state of all neurons) to that high speed computer, which would then run simulations of those neurons communicating with each other.

Some believe that once you run the simulation it would simulate that person's personality. So that simulation might say:

"Wow! it worked! The last thing I remember is lying down in the MRI machine and getting scanned, and now I just woke up inside a computer! Cool! But... wait a minute... I'm the real person! Although I'm a simulation I feel exactly the same way! Help! Get me out of this machine!"


Example-B is the same scenario as above in which a futuristic MRI machine takes a snapshot of the current state of someone's brain. But instead of rebuilding that structure as a software-model inside a superfast computer, you can imagine a machine that builds a model out of actual cloned biological neurons, and assembles them all together. (Such a machine would need to operate using nano-technology). In this case a biological copy of the brain is made.

Let us say that someone has brain damage to a small part of their brain, due to an accident. Let us then say that doctors then implant a "computer chip" into that section of the brain, that handles data the same way the damaged part of the brain used to do. It receives data from the rest of the brain, processes the data, and then outputs the results.

Let us say overtime, bit by bit, you continue to replace small sections of that person's brain.

Eventually you will cross the threshold in which 51 percent of their brain is computerized, and 49 percent remains biological. At that point, the majority of brain processing is computerized, thus the question is: does that person become a "computer" at that point, or are they still fully human?

You can continue doing that until 100 percent of all brain matter is replaced.

Or you could go backwards: let us say that you replace 51 percent of that person's brain matter with computers. But then, through future cell-cloning technology, you clone new neurons for that person, implant the neurons, and bring that person back to being 51 percent biological. Does that mean that you made someone into a machine, and then brought them back to being human again?!

These are just some of the few possible ways that Ray Kurzweil has mentioned, that you might be able to copy and "perfectly" simulate the human mind in the future, without having to fully understand the human mind or brain.

What gibberish. If they had any clue they could show a model that would run slowly on existing computers. This isn't science, it's a search for funding from fools. Why not throw in a flux capacitor or two? Maybe a double loss-less super compression? That'll do it.

They can't build real AI of any sort. So lets skip that and model the mind. Right. If progress is going to be made in this field it's going to take researchers with broad intelligence and not these guys who produce this p.r. crap year after year. A computer and software is only a corollary to the mind in science fiction. We may as well build bigger toasters to model the mind.

@Don: In 1898 there were people who said powered flight is impossible, just because nobody yet knew how to build a workable airplane. Never mind that birds knew how to fly, and everybody knew they knew how to fly.

Now you say it's impossible to make a machine that thinks, just because we don't know how to do it yet. But brains know how to think, and everybody knows they know how to think.

i chased a catamaran with a dogamaran.

Does anyone actually take folks like Kurzweil seriously? He's been promising an hard AI sigularity for yonkers and we are no nearer today than we were decades ago.

He is a moron, end of.

Lets him first show working simulation of whole brain of cockroach which could interact with world. Even in simplest task of motorics in real life we can`t beat nature. We need to invent a new computing paradigm (not just increase of calculating speed ) to be able to build emergent, sapient qualities. He is just another brazen funds collector.

We ( Or at least the global scientific community ) are slicing & dicing a rat's brain & digitizing it to simulate an organic brain, firing of synapses, etc.

Are we going to be able to program it to simulate human thought, or will it just dream of being chased by electronic cats & looking to snack on virtual cheese ?

The AI's that we have now are EXTREMELY clever, unusually so at times, & very good at mimicking some aspects of human behavior but I don't totally buy into the idea that they are actual electronic minds except in a science - fiction scenario.

Ok, so everyone above who says that we can't ever make a functioning copy of a human-mind/brain, I have this question:

Why not?

If you believe that we can't one day make an artificial copy of a functioning of a human mind, then you MUST deep down believe that the human mind somehow posses some kind of magical power that transcends the laws of science and physics.

(Which, I admit, could be the case. Maybe the human mind is magical and does not obey the laws of physics.)

If, on the other-hand, you don't believe the human mind works through magic and witchcraft, then it is certain that it can be copied, and will be copied, one day.

If the human mind obeys the laws of physics and science, then it is a 100 percent certainty that one day someone will figure out how to copy it.

The only point that Ray Kurzweil is making in all of this is that you don't have to understand the human mind fully to copy it. (Just like a software program doesn't have to understand how a DVD works to make a perfect copy of a DVD. It simply just copies the data.)

Although I think Kurzweil is a little too confident in his bold and possibly naive 2030 prediction, I like where he is going. Sure this will be a huge undertaking, but eventually it should be possible. That is if humans don't do something stupid to wipe ourselves out along the way. No one can disagree with the fact that technology is rapidly evolving on a daily basis and anything could happen tomorrow. So lighten up nay sayers, lets just hope it is in our lifetime.

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