How great science has failed to unravel the mysteries of the human mind.

Even if it were possible to record all spikes from all neurons at the same time, he argued, the brain does not exist in isolation: in order to connect the points correctly, you need to record external stimuli simultaneously. There will be a need to bring the brain to the fore. , As well as the behavior of biology. And he argued that we need to understand the brain at the microscopic level before trying to decode what it means to fire individual neurons.

Others had concerns about the effects of centralization of control over these areas. Cornelia Bergman, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University, is concerned that this could spur research led by individual investigators. (Bergman was soon tapped to co-chair the Brain Initiative’s working group.)

There is no single, unanimous view of how the brain works, and not everyone in the field agrees that building an artificial brain is the best way to study it.

While the US initiative sought input from scientists to guide it in that direction, the EU plan was certainly more top-down, led by Markram. But as Noah Hutton documented in his 2020 film. In silico, Markram’s grand projects soon unfolded. As an undergraduate in neuroscience, Hutton was assigned to read Markram’s papers and was inspired by the idea of ​​imitating the human brain. When he started making documentaries, he decided to make the effort historic. However, he soon realized that the multibillion-dollar enterprise was more prominent than breakthrough science than fighting and changing goals.

In silico Markram is portrayed as a charismatic leader who needed to make bold claims about the future of neuroscience in order to attract funding to fulfill his specific vision. But the project was troubled from the beginning by a major problem: there is no single, unanimous view of how the brain works, and not everyone in the field agrees that building an artificial brain is the best way to study it. Is. It did not take long for these differences to arise in the EU plan.

In 2014, hundreds of experts across Europe wrote a letter citing concerns about oversight, funding mechanisms, and transparency in the human brain project. Scientists found that Markram’s goal was premature and too narrow and would cut off funding for researchers looking for other ways to study the brain.

“What impressed me, if he was successful and turned it on and the simulated brain worked, what did you learn?” Terry Segnowski, a computational neuroscientist at the Salik Institute who served on the Brian Initiative’s advisory committee, told me. “It’s as complex as an artificial brain.”

The board of directors of the Human Brain Project voted in early 2015 to change its organization and leadership, replacing the three-member executive committee headed by Markram with a 22-member governing board. Christoph Abel, a Swiss businessman with a background in science diplomacy, has been appointed executive director. “When I came to power, the project was in crisis. People were openly wondering if it would go ahead,” he said.

But a few years later, he withdrew after a “strategic disagreement” with the project’s host. The project now focuses on providing a new computational research infrastructure to help neuroscientists store, process and analyze large amounts of data.

The US Brain Initiative made changes during this time. Initially, in 2014, responding to scientists’ concerns and acknowledging the limitations of what was possible, it turned into something more practical, focusing on developing technology for brain research.

New day

Eventually, these changes began to produce results – even if they weren’t what the founders of each of the big brain projects actually imagined.

Last year, the Human Brain Project released a 3D digital map that integrates various aspects of human brain organization at the millimeter and micrometer levels. It’s basically Google Earth for the brain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.