Scientists seem to be getting closer to making real philosophy's famous "brain in a vat" thought experiment:
"Thomas DeMarse, a University of Florida professor of biomedical engineering, says his lab-grown rat 'brain' in a dish can fly a simulated F-22 fighter jet via an array of electrodes. DeMarse grew the 25,000-neuron 'brain' in a glass dish. The cells, cortical neurons cultured from a rat brain, sit atop a 60-electrode grid connected to a desktop computer. The neurons then form a two-way connection with the simulator software—much like how our brain gets input from the senses and in return instructs the body how to act. The simulator sends the neurons information about flight conditions—the plane’s attitude, for example—and the neurons return signals to the plane’s controls to alter its path. The process is repeated in a feedback loop, controlling the plane’s flight."
As researchers advance development of these "neuronal networks," might there be ethical considerations about the kinds of tasks disembodied "brains" should be put to? The article notes they could be used "as living computers to fly drones or perform operations hazardous to humans in disaster areas or war zones."
Blog sharing news about geography, philosophy, world affairs, and outside-the-box learning
This blog also appears on Facebook: