Scientists are trying to inject human brain tissue into artificial networks because AI isn’t working quite as well as we have been led to think. AI uses a horrendous amount of energy do its kind of parallel processing, while the human brain uses about a light bulb’s worth of power to perform similar feats. So, AI designers are looking to cannibalize some parts from humans to make artificial networks work as efficiently as human brains. But let’s put the fact of AI’s shortcomings aside for the moment and examine this new cyborg innovation.
The breakthrough in biocomputing reported by Hongwei Cai et al. in Nature Electronics involves the creation of a brain organoid. That is a ball of artificially-cultured stem cells that have been coaxed into developing into neurons.
The cells are not taken from someone’s brain—which relieves us of certain ethical concerns. But because this lump of neurons does not have any blood vessels, as normal brain tissue does, the organoid cannot survive for long. And so ultimately, the prospect of training organoids on datasets does not seem practical, economically speaking, at present.