I’ve been sceptical since I first heard of the project, indeed considered it laughable that anyone would seriously set out to build or replicate a human brain on any human timescale. Of course ten years on the project has failed.
Typically good analysis from Ed. This idea never made sense, and how it became an EU Flagship is still puzzling. I was involved in one of the other proposals shortlisted, and the decision was simply bizarre. (Or political? I don’t know.) https://t.co/wg42oJbqaG
— Philip Ball (@philipcball) July 23, 2019
maybe we shouldn’t give out $1b grants based on TED talks
— Michael Eisen goes to 11X (@mbeisen) July 23, 2019
And that’s not because I don’t believe the brain is a computer. It is.
It’s just a very specially evolved one. Indeed all evolution from physics to sentient and intelligent life is computation. And whilst the machine metaphor is grossly misleading in terms of what a computer – a Turing machine – can be, it is nevertheless digital, fundamentally operating on information bit by bit.
But it does so in many layers upon layers that have evolved over multi-generational evolutionary timescales. Life needs to evolve before sentience, before self-awareness, before higher intelligence.
Like all the big sexy (expensive) projects that need support for public funding – particle colliders anyone? – they’re 99% politics and memetics, 1% credible science. Criminal.
Simplistic, easy to believe, but basically crap.