The Human Brain Project plans to build a high fidelity virtual model of a workinghuman brain, modeling aspects of the brain including neuron connections, blood flow,and even the behavior of individual neurons, down to the level of ion channels. Theproject will be lead be Henry Markram, a scientist at the Swiss Federal Instituteof Technology.
They already have a prototype in place. The project's goal is to include every aspectof brain biology, including thousands of discoveries made in the past decade. Of course,a real human brain has immense computing power, so the virtual model would in effectrun in super slow motion. Each computational step in the computer model would be onlybe a tiny slice of "real" virtual time.
The virtual model will be used for everything from modeling the behavior of new drugsto better understanding of strokes and other brain injuries.
Perhaps the most amazing part of this ambitious plan is to provide the virtual brainsensory input from a virtual world, one in which human scientists might interact withthe virtual brain. The question is, will it work? After compiling a high fidelityvirtual model of a human brain, will it begin to think and act like a human mind?Are we on the eve of discovering the source of human consciousness? Or, maybe thereis some missing element, something not accounted for in our current understandingof brain biology?
Could this be the first step of the singularity?
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