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Reading This If you read these lines, it's already an ability that causes science a headache: Despite intensive research, it is still largely unclear how the brain processes information. To explore the secrets of our mind, researchers have now developed a computer model of the human brain. The cyber brain called? Spaun? It is based on two and a half million interconnected virtual nerve cells and already has some impressive capabilities: It can perform movements with a simulated arm, recognize images, remember numbers and solve tasks, the researchers report to Chris Eliasmith of the Canadian University of Waterloo. Like the nerve cells of the human brain, Spaun's virtual neurons are subdivided into functional areas that are responsible for various tasks: the processing of image impressions, memory and movement. These functional areas are virtually networked with each other and even communicate via a system that is based on the function of the neurotransmitters. There have been similar simulations of the brain before. However, in no system stimuli could trigger as complex a behavior as in Spaun, say the researchers.

Spaun thinks? and then scribble a 5

The cyber brain can capture image information, remember signs and even write down the results of tasks with its virtual arm. Example: Spaun? Sees? the numbers rows 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7. Subsequently, the cyber brain at the episode 3, 4, ? replace the question mark according to the logic by the correct number. After a brief pause, Spaun now scribes a 5 on the virtual board of the system. As the researchers report, it is particularly exciting that Spaun even seems to be prone to human weaknesses: The cyber-brain could memorize the first and last numbers in a series of numbers better than the middle.


Video: Description of Spaun (English) ad

The model even achieves similarly good results in some tasks of IQ tests as human test candidates, report Chris Eliasmith and his colleagues. However, it does not even begin to rival the human mind. At least it does not have the adaptability of the human brain and can not learn new skills, the scientists emphasize. Nevertheless, Spaun offers new opportunities to review ideas on the biological basis of human thinking. However, how the complex mind or even our consciousness emerges from the concert of the approximately 86 billion human nerve cells, will probably remain a mystery for a long time to come.

Chris Eliasmith (University of Waterloo) et al .: Science, doi: 10.1126 / science.1225266 © science.de - Martin Vieweg

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