-IBM Joins in Pentagon Quest for Fake Cat Brains.

Posted: October 28, 2008 in 2008, Articles
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Danger Room:

IBM is that latest company to join in the Pentagon’s quest to make electronics that mimic the “function, size, and power consumption” of a cat’s brain.

For intelligent machines to be useful, they must compete with biological systems,” notes a recent presentation from Darpa, the Pentagon’s way-out research division. But “compared to biological systems, today’s intelligent machines are less efficient by a factor of a million to a billion in complex environments.”

Darpa just gave Big Blue a $4,879,333 contract to start work on closing that gap. (Malibu’s HRL Laboratories got a similar deal, a few weeks back.) If successful, the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project could produce machines with so much computing power packed into such a small space, they could signal the “dawn of a new age” of hyper-smart machines.

Eventually, Darpa wants IBM to put together a fake brain that can identify objects in a  video, interact with humans, and “exercis[e] all levels of cognition.”

Right now, such tasks are far out of chips’ reach. “A cat, for instance, can jump up onto a fence using only binocular vision; a computer able to take stereoscopic vid and accomplish the same feat with four robotic legs would be so heavy as to crush the fence,” Lew Page explains.

But Darpa doesn’t expect the researchers to come up with a cat-like mind right away. First, they can come up with a “mouse” level brain, with only 10neurons, before they move up another two orders of magnitude, to ersatz tabby brains.

  1. dad2059 says:

    Cyborgs of varying types is a more sure way of attaining sapient AI.

    Like they said, biological systems are more efficient at accessing changing situations.

    Coupled with DARPA-tech, who knows?

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