Doesn’t it annoy you that you can back up the files on your laptop to an external drive, but you can’t back up the files in your brain? Wait, not ‘files’—memories.
Why can’t some smart person figure out a way to back-up those memories somewhere? Actually, a bunch of smart people are trying to figure that out now.
Researchers at Australia’s MicroNano Research Facility have designed an electronic multi-state memory cell that can apparently store and process multiple pieces of information just like a human brain.
That means that they’re this much closer to creating an artificial human brain inside a computer, which is both amazing and terrifying.
“The human brain is an extremely complex analog computer… its evolution is based on its previous experiences, and up until now this functionality has not been able to be adequately reproduced with digital technology,” project leader Sharath Sriram told Science Daily.
Putting aside how this pushes us one step closer to making the events of the Terminator movies into reality, creating a bionic brain does actually have some non-apocalyptic uses for society.
“If you could replicate a brain outside the body, it would minimize ethical issues involved in treating and experimenting on the brain which can lead to better understanding of neurological conditions,” Hussein Nili, the lead author of the study, explained.
That means we can experiments and do all kinds of monstrous things to the bionic brain without having to worry about causing pain or distress in an actual living thing. Which of course brings up all sorts of questions of robo-ethics, like: If we program a bionic brain to react to pain the same as a human brain does, doesn’t it actually feel pain?
Of course, that’s a philosophical question probably best left for our future robot overlords.