Researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich in Switzerland have developed a new microchip that functions like a human brain. It even exhibits cognitive abilities. This is major breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence that is struggling to produce an artificial human brain even today.
The Swiss scientists demonstrated the behavior of the chip by building an artificial sensory processing system that exhibits cognitive abilities. This was possible as they understood how to configure so-called neuromorphic chips to imitate the brain’s information processing abilities in real-time.
Usually the approaches used in neuroinformatics aim to develop neural network models on conventional computers or to simulate complex nerve networks on supercomputers. But the approach of Zurich researchers was different in that they develop electronic circuits that are comparable to a real brain in terms of size, speed, and energy consumption,
According to Professor Giacomo Indiveri, the goal of the research was to emulate the properties of biological neurons and synapses directly on microchips.
A neuromorphic system was developed to carry out complex sensorimotor tasks in real time. The researchers demonstrate a task that requires a short-term memory and context-dependent decision-making, typical traits required for cognitive tests.
Researchers combined neuromorphic neurons into networks that implemented neural processing modules equivalent to finite-state machines – a mathematical concept to describe logical processes or computer programs. The network connectivity patterns is quite similar to human brain.
The next challenge is to have a meaningful short term memory. A sentient machine needs it. It also needs a complexity never before attempted by any kind of computer.
Conventional programs run on dumb, non-aware logical bases. The breakthrough achieved now would allow the creation of context in the sense that humans use it, multi-level logic, alternate logic, and judgment. In a way, this is both how computers can become sentient and how they can become neurotic. This is a major milestone in the path of achieving super-intelligent machines.