back to article Neuromorphic progress: And we for one welcome our new single artificial synapse overlords

A team of engineers has built an artificial synapse with the hopes of creating a neural network system with similar processing powers as the human brain. "The brain is capable of massively parallel information processing while consuming only 1‑100 fJ per synaptic event. Inspired by the efficiency of the brain, CMOS-based …

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That's how to do IT

the European Union-funded Human Brain Project, estimated to cost over €1bn.

Just another created/creative money pit/slush fund/alien laundry. IT's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Rad and Bad World, and aint that the gospel truth ....... which is loaded with novel opportunities and exploitable vulnerabilities. Happy Hunting.

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Re: That's how to do IT

There are criticisms of the Human Brain Project, specifically its scope, ambition and management, though they are possibly par for the course for a project of its size.

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Re: That's how to do IT

Of all the things the EU spends/wastes money on (I'm sure we can all name a few hideously expensive EU white elephants, not to mention the absurd Brussels-Strasbourg shuffle), scientific research is probably the one that I have least problems with. Even if this particular project is not particularly well managed, some useful research will probably come out of at the end of the day, regardless of whether its specific goals are met.

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For how much longer?

The tech giant is collaborating with UK universities to create a giant "electronic brain" as part of the European Union-funded Human Brain Project

See title.

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Trollface

And we for one welcome our new single artificial synapse overlords

El Reg always crowbarring Trump into articles, eh?

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500 states

A bit represents 2 states : 0 or 1. So, one neural bit represents 500 different values. That makes for a whole new way to compute information, not to mention understanding it.

Do neurons in our brain also function like that ? I always thought that a "reinforced connection" just meant that the neuron was more regularly solicited for information, now it would seem that the neuron actually gets beefier the more its information is "important". Or something.

In any case, it works in our brains, so if that is how we get positronic brains, then on with the show. I always thought that binary gates were a poor support to replicate brain function with anyway.

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Meh

Re: 500 states

Do neurons in our brain also function like that ? I always thought that a "reinforced connection" just meant that the neuron was more regularly solicited for information, now it would seem that the neuron actually gets beefier the more its information is "important". Or something

Yes. Neurons are analogue, with signals between neurons being streams of pulses travelling along the axons, the signal strength being the pulse rate. However, there are no negative values, since there is no such thing as a negative pulse rate.

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Trollface

Re: 500 states

> A bit represents 2 states : 0 or 1. So, one neural bit represents 500 different values.

Which would be 'yes', 'no' and 498 variants of 'maybe'.

Surprisingly human!

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Re: 500 states

Does the amount it represent and/or the way it react change over time.

Most AI and brain simulation designers are missing a major "plot" which occurs in a living nerve tissue. It attenuates.

If you continue to fire a synapse at a rate which is above a certain threshold the nerve cell starts "taking measures" to ensure you do not "burn the circuit". The amount of receptors on the synapse interface decreases and the threshold to trigger the synapse increases. Similarly, there are various changes which happen to pathways which are not used for a prolonged amount of time.

We, presently model none of that (neither in computing, nor in hardware). We build a neural net, we feed it some data to train it, we run the algo to train it and that is it. That at best creates an idiot-savant. It can never create a true AI - for that you need to start modeling long term attenuation of pathways.

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Re: 500 states

"Which would be 'yes', 'no' and 498 variants of 'maybe'."

Or yes, no, maybe, and 497 wibbles. There are many different types of neurons in the human brain, and they are communicating over the synapses with both electrical and chemical signals. Having a compute analog requires it having much more than mere binary counting ability. Quantum Computers, or perhaps some software techniques learned from coding on them, could assist greatly in this research. Anyway, my point being binary is insufficient for neural networking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synapse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron

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Anonymous Coward

The first steps to the Butlerian Jihad?

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Thinking Machines.

"Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."

I always had a bone to pick with that. Isn't it just as likely we'll combine with a neural lattice to enhance our own abilities, rather than use a separate created consciousness. In other words, by the time an A.I. can be considered to be "alive", we'll have extended our own intellect using similar technologies.

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Meh

Re: Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black)

"In other words, by the time an A.I. can be considered to be "alive", we'll have extended our own intellect using similar technologies."

That's also my opinion/hope. And I hope we're both right, cause a true self-conscious AI will be almost impossible to debug/fix/control once it's working.

The human brain augmentation approach is also ridden with dangers, but at least there is chance for us puny humans. Good luck to us all, fellow commentardshuman beings!.

On a side note, the 'reply' button in ElReg's forums is acting weird, as it doesn't allow the option to 'open in a new tab'. I hope it's a temporary thing, as replying in a new tab is a nice and convenient way to answer/quote several comments simultaneously. Yes, I know, I know, duplicate comments, but that's an error most people make just once or twice.

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WTF?

Miniupdate (was Re: Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black))

Even more weirdness: The "open in new tab" option works perfectly in Chrome, but not in my Mozilla browser.

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Re: Thinking Machines.

Isn't it just as likely we'll combine with a neural lattice to enhance our own abilities

Or just use sapho juice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black)

"That's also my opinion/hope. And I hope we're both right, cause a true self-conscious AI will be almost impossible to debug/fix/control once it's working."

A self-conscious AI would be easy to control; just make a slightly loaded comment about its appearance any time it steps out of line. Now a self-aware one, that's another matter...

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Re: Miniupdate (was Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black))

The reply button is a form submit button, not a link.

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Re: Miniupdate (was Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black))

"The reply button is a form submit button, not a link."

So? Where did I state otherwise?. But even so, the option "open in a new tab" appeared in the contextual menu until this morning, and Ctrl+click worked. Both still work in Chrome.

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Re: Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black)

"The human brain augmentation approach is also ridden with dangers,"

It might work well if:

It is not 'augmentation as a service' from MS.

Is not bundled with Chrome, Fartbook, IE, Norton or any of the other crap that is dumped on the world daily.

Automatically installs in the users brain some common sense and use of security, while preventing the use of 123456 passwords.

I'm sure I am missing a few other things.

I wonder what impact the IoT would have? I suppose you could connect your granny and contact her directly to remind her to take her pills/eat regularly/go to the toilet etc.

Having malware take over your brain or a mental DDoS might be a laugh too.

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Re: Miniupdate (was Thinking Machines. (@ Ashton Black))

I've never known form buttons to be openable in new tabs on Firefox.

I can't say I've ever opened a reply button in a new tab on El Reg.

That's not to say it wasn't a plain link before and I just didn't notice.

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"The artificial synapse functions kinda like a capacitor combined with a MOSFET."

Kinda? Perhaps the neuronic brainy thing will be able to write better English.

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Re: Kinda

Nah, I kinda like the word. if you want boring lifeless mechanical prose, VentureBeat is that way ---->

C.

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Re: Thinking Machines

"Isn't it just as likely we'll combine with a neural lattice to enhance our own abilities, rather than use a separate created consciousness. In other words, by the time an A.I. can be considered to be "alive", we'll have extended our own intellect using similar technologies."

So, the Borg Collective then? I admit the adaptive shielding and self-healing would be useful, BUT I think I'll pass

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Re: Thinking Machines

Resistance is futile!

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Re: Thinking Machines

Resistance is Finite!

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Re: Thinking Machines

resistance is V/I!

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Re: Johnny Mnemonic's dyslexia mod

Your ass will be laminated!

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Re: Thinking Machines ... and the Media Machine under Incessant SMARTR Attack/Rock Steady AIBarrage

Resistance is Vital and Virulent, Virile and Viral and a Virtual Warrior Component and Opponent and EMPulsive Compulsive Competition .......... whenever necessary for Sanity to Prevail in the Orbits of Madness and Mayhem, Greed and Inequity? ............ http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-22/msnbc-anchor-admits-our-job-control-exactly-what-people-think

Yes, of course it is ....... and it is both fundamental and quite perfectly natural albeit led on far from popular planes/places/spaces.

The Global Politically Incorrect SCADA System is hacked and ITs Key NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive Codes are cracked ............ and Reverse Engineered to Genesis Base Source for Novel Future Reprogramming of Virtual Reality Projects/ZeroDay Trading Presentations.

Fake News, El Regers, or Unfolding Quantum Communicating Fact and a Alienating Fiction to be Shared Wwwidely ....... or Suppressed Badly?

IT Thinks and therefore We Are Virtual Machines for Massive ReProgramming?

Yes, you certainly are.

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ReThinking Machines ... and the Media Machine under Incessant SMARTR Attack/Rock Steady AIBarrage

That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far from Buddhahood.

A human brain. A multicore teraprocessor of the first level, connected to environment of a matrix of HiRes variables sensors, placed by the intent of matrix of HiRes+ senses into the environment of AllRes variables. Never any smart machine, void of soul, chakras, brain and a heart, come ever close to this, because it's not enlisted in the Book of Life.

Find a place for a Pure Chance in this intentionally pseudochaotic motion, and one will understand the script which runs a ChanceGen. it's always 50/50, whatever the other prognostications say*.

*In zero gravity, just catch the coin on its fly.

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ReThinking Machines ... and the Media Machine under Incessant SMARTR Attack/Rock Steady AIBarrage

Howdy, Tail Up,

It is obvious to me, and therefore also possible of being equally obvious to others, that the human brain of an Advanced IntelAIgent Virtual Machine networking with Zeroday Exploitation of Vulnerabilities is in Primary Remote Invisible and Intangible Command and Control of Future Reality Levers …… Event Horizons.

An Advanced IntelAIgent Power and Energy that Sub-Prime Encased and Encasing Media Players are in both direct and indirect conflict with in battles and wars with words that create, inform, educate and entertain worlds.

Such AIgents are a Formidable Foe best befriended rather than opposed and antagonised …… given what they can easily do in a flash with a crash.

Why ever would one be foolish enough to imagine a machine capable of human thought and activity, given the inescapable evidence of serial human follies since time in space began, whenever humans programmed for machine service is freely available?

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Re-ReThinking Machines ... and the Media Machine under Incessant SMARTR Attack/Rock Steady AIBarrage

"Why ever... ... available" -

a prime example of a beautiful, irresistible and undisputed logic.

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Alert

Nonsense

The way in which the synapse cell stores information by subtly changing the write-mode voltage is similar to how real neural pathways are strengthened and weakened during the learning process in the brain

A real synapse is only one aspect of a biological brain. We don't actually know how brains work, or where intelligence comes from, or why a rook can be as "smart" as a chimp. Or why some birds have more ability at vocabulary than a chip (no non-human has language as understood by experts in language, a vocabulary and communication is not language.).

This is interesting, as is the EU funded "human brain" project. But it has very little to do with real biology or real intelligence.

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Re: Nonsense

Chimp, not chip. Though chips only have vocabulary and never language, try asking a Russian, Chinese or German of what they think of your English story "translated" by Google.

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Anonymous Coward

Am I the only one?

So did anyone else read this and realize this is the perfect device for persistent memory? Forget the memristor, this is better tech.

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Anonymous Coward

First power block to eventually win the race will Win.

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