The first artificial neural circuit

brain_circuit_boardFor many years, humanity has been trying to create artificial intelligence. The reason why is not as clear as the question. Obviously, artificial intelligence could open new ways to all the fields of science and thus help scientists and researchers make a very different – theoretically better – world. But it could also create problems – or at the very least expand existing ones – such as unemployment.

Maybe at some point as people we feel that we are destined for great achievements. And that is why we keep trying for the impossible even if it’s not clear whether it will turn out to be helpful or not.

No matter the reason, now we have come closer than ever to creating artificial intelligence. All that thanks to a team of researchers in the USA who made a small but vital step in the field of artificial intelligence by presenting a simple artificial neural  circuit that functions successfully. This is the first time that a circuit like this one is being presented and is functional. It mimics the human brain and consists of roughly 100 artificial synapses. The reason this circuit is functional is because it can perform one basic human function: the classification of an image

The engineers at the California – Santa Barbara University who published their achievement at the “Nature” magazine, said that the complete rib-like network can gradually – with further development – be extended so that is slowly comes closer to the human brain. Of course that is very difficult to achieve given that our brains consist of a quadrillion synaptic connections of neurons (brain cells).

Despite all of its weak spots, the human brain remains an exemplar of computing power and efficiency for engineers who are striving to create cleverer and more advanced artificial brains that will basically mimic the human brains.

The innovative rib like circuit mentioned above is based on the commonly known “memristors” – a combination of the words memory and resistor – which replaced the conventional transistors.

Memristors are the electronic part that work based in the movement not of electrons but ions, thus mimicking the way that our brains create and receive electronic signals.

However, in order for artificial intelligence to work (or at least to approach as much as possible the biological human intelligence), a great number of memristors would be needed to be embodied to the rib like networks. Only then would artificial intelligence be able to effortlessly mimic the human brains and do the same sophisticated calculations without spending enormous amounts of energy.

Nonetheless American researchers appear optimistic about future chips mentioning that they will be capable of incorporating such artificial rib like circuits like the ones mentioned above. This at the very least, would drastically improve the capabilities of any computer.

One thing is for sure. Even by taking baby steps, we will one day manage to create a complete and fully functional artificial intelligence system. Only then will we conclude whether it is more help than trouble.

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