October 25, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Disembodied Brain Flies Jet Aircraft

Researchers at University of Florida claim to have connected rat brains neurons in a dish to electrodes, which learned to run an F22 flight simulator.

We can’t speak to the validity of this claim or its interpretation, but what stands out in the article is the awe over the computational abilities of the human brain:

“We’re interested in studying how brains compute,” said Thomas DeMarse, the UF professor of biomedical engineering who designed the study.  “If you think about your brain, and learning and the memory process, I can ask you questions about when you were 5 years old and you can retrieve information.  That’s a tremendous capacity for memory.  In fact, you perform fairly simple tasks that you would think a computer would easily be able to accomplish, but in fact it can’t.
    While computers are very fast at processing some kinds of information, they can’t approach the flexibility of the human brain, DeMarse said.  In particular, brains can easily make certain kinds of computations – such as recognizing an unfamiliar piece of furniture as a table or a lamp – that are very difficult to program into today’s computers.

Hmmmmm… think about your brain.  The brain is thinking about me, and I’m thinking about it.  I’ll have to think about that one for awhile.

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Categories: Amazing Facts, Human Body

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