Dr Brett Kagan, Dr Nhi Thao Tran and Dr Adeel Razi with, in the background, a representation of the neurons and the game Pong.The cyborg is primitive. It contains fewer neurons than a bumblebee’s brain and barely hits the Pong ball more often than it misses.
The researchers grew a layer of human neurons and placed them on top of an electrode array, which they connected to the classic ping-pong game Pong.Cortical Labs “This development represents a big step for artificial biological neural networks,” said Professor Anton van den Hengel, founding director of the Australian Institute for Machine Learning. He was not involved in the study.
“But it’s a really exciting start, and people will build on this,” he said. “With more sophisticated experiments, I wouldn’t be surprised if the learning improved substantially.”But future research in the area will open “huge” ethical questions, said Dr Adeel Razi, director of Monash University’s Computational and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory and a co-author on the paper.
Professor Robert Sparrow, a philosopher who studies the ethics of technology at Monash University, said the simplicity of the DishBrain meant it did not immediately raise ethical concerns. “But the claim about sentience rings alarm bells for future research in this area.”The team next plans to study the effect of alcohol on the cells. “Basically, get them ‘drunk’ and see if they play the game more poorly,” said Kagan.
liammannix They are so naive.
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