Straight from the category of “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” Australia is spearheading research into combining human brain cells with artificial intelligence.
The Guardian reported that the Office of National Intelligence granted $600,000 to researchers for the questionable endeavor. Monash University and Cortical Labs is the beneficiary of the government funding as part of a grant program.
Monash project lead Adeel Razi believes the groundbreaking technology is set to soar past the current level of AI which is “purely silicon-based hardware.”
And the effort has already started. In 2022, the research team created “DishBrain.” This AI Frankenstein is described as a “semi-biological computer chip.
New Atlas hailed it as a combination of roughly 800,000 human and mouse brain cells that were lab-grown and joined with electrodes. The result was then taught to play the 1970s video game “Pong.”
Researchers published their belief in an article in Science magazine Neuron that AI created through synthesizing human brain cells and silicon may be possible. They called it the previous “realm of science fiction.”
Intelligence agency funding research to merge AI with human brain cells https://t.co/YsJXum9QD8
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) July 24, 2023
Razi further expressed his desire for developing AI with the capability of learning over time how to perform specific functions. Some he suggested included self-driving vehicles, autonomous drones, and robots used to make deliveries.
He even asserted that development of such technology would give Australia a lead in the AI field.
The difference between biological brains and AI is that the flesh and blood type are skilled at building knowledge over a lifetime. Technological creations, however, are currently limited by what scientists call “catastrophic forgetting,” or failing to accumulate what is learned.
The grant recipients believe that what they are developing may be able to replicate the learning capacity of humans and other biological life forms. They would use experiences to expand their knowledge in the way that these creatures do.
The news of efforts to combine living cells and AI arrived simultaneously with new warnings from industry leaders. Many called for the Australian government to understand “the potential for catastrophic or existential risks from AI.”
The nation’s Industry, Science, and Technology Minister, Ed Husic, recently revealed a government review of AI advancements. He claimed, “What we want [are] modern laws for modern technology.”