Maybe, someday within our lifetime, the processors we use will be more than silicon, plastic, and copper. They may incorporate biological elements so they think a little more like us, even if it’s only in a primitive sense.
Cortical Labs is creating a “brain on a chip.” Like many scientific advancements that might fundamentally change how we view the world, the explanation of Cortical’s work is simple: fuse neurons with computer chips to make processors that can think on their own.
This could lead to new ways of creating artificial intelligence. Called Dishbrain, Cortical’s biological chip can learn how to play Pong in under five minutes, just like how we develop intuition the first time we pick up a paddle. Most AI systems that are built using code take an hour and a half to accomplish the same understanding of Pong as Dishbrain.
A chip that thinks a little like a human may sound like science fiction, but it could soon become scientific fact. Understanding the mechanics of a classic video game is just the first step. It’ll be interesting to identify the limitations for Dishbrain a few years down the road.
Sarah spoke with Hon Weng Chong, one of the co-founders of Cortical Labs. Check out her profile here.