Archive (Page 2 of 3)

The Cellular Basis of Neural Computation

Over the past cen­tu­ry, we’ve been to the moon, we’ve split the atom, we’ve sequenced the human genome, but were still only at the very begin­ning of our under­stand­ing of the human brain. This is one of the great chal­lenges that we face. If we can under­stand the brain, we can devel­op bet­ter treat­ments for brain dis­or­ders, we can design bet­ter robots, bet­ter com­put­ers, and ulti­mate­ly we can bet­ter under­stand our­selves.

Towards a Quantum Computer

From vast data cen­ters to mobile phones, the pow­er of com­put­ers con­tin­ues to trans­form our lives. But there are some prob­lems across arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, in the design of new mate­ri­als, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and clean ener­gy devices that they will sim­ply nev­er solve. So even if we turned our entire plan­et into a giant super­com­put­er we would­n’t be able to solve these and many oth­er impor­tant prob­lems. The good news is that if we could build a com­put­ing device based on fun­da­men­tal quan­tum prin­ci­ples, we could.

Controlling the Brain with Light to Reactivate Lost Memories

The key mol­e­cule of opto­ge­net­ics is a light-sensitive pro­tein called chan­nel­rhodopsin, which is extract­ed from green algae. Scientists can insert chan­nel­rhodopsin into mem­o­ry cells. Subsequently, sci­en­tists can even acti­vate these with blue light which they deliv­er deep inside the brain with optic fibers.

Machines That Can Read Human Emotions

The face is a con­stant flow of facial expres­sions. We react and emote to exter­nal stim­uli all the time. And it is exact­ly this flow of expres­sions that is the observ­able win­dow to our inner self. Our emo­tions, our inten­tions, atti­tudes, moods. Why is this impor­tant? Because we can use it in a very wide vari­ety of appli­ca­tions.

The Rise of Social Robotics

Social ref­er­enc­ing is so great robots should do it, too. But first there are some tech­ni­cal chal­lenges that we need to solve. For instance, low ener­gy con­sump­tion. Throughout these tech­ni­cal chal­lenges, what these robots real­ly need to do is under­stand the social envi­ron­ment that they are in.

Realizing a Brain on a Chip

If we want to con­tin­ue increas­ing the per­for­mance of our com­put­ers, we need to rethink the way we com­pute. And our brains are won­der­ful proof that impres­sive com­pu­ta­tions can be car­ried out with a very low pow­er bud­get.

The Factory of the Future Fits in Your Home

As we began this work in 1987, 1990, going through that peri­od, 3D print­ers were pret­ty clum­sy. But now they’re cheap­er, they’re much more pre­cise and much more accu­rate. So, [now] we can actu­al­ly print the chem­i­cals for a bat­tery.

Traditional Medicine Reimagined Through Modern Systems Biology

Why are nat­ur­al com­pounds bet­ter than syn­thet­ic chem­i­cals to treat dis­eases? We have inten­sive­ly ana­lyzed all those known com­pounds in the nat­ur­al prod­ucts, and found that these com­pounds have high­er sim­i­lar­i­ty, espe­cial­ly struc­tur­al sim­i­lar­i­ty, to human metabo­lites.

Applying Neuroscientific Findings to Enduring Social Problems

When low­er pri­mates form a hier­ar­chy, those at the bot­tom under­go a change in their dopamine sys­tem. This makes them more like­ly to con­sume drugs in an addic­tive fash­ion. Now, if this turns out to be true of our species, that would mean that human beings are par­tic­u­lar­ly vul­ner­a­ble if they’re in some way dom­i­nat­ed or don’t have any pow­er.

From Biomolecular Computing to Internet Democracy

My main point is that Internet tech­nol­o­gy today does not sup­port the right of assem­bly, and there­fore it can­not and does not sup­port democ­ra­cy. The rea­son is that even though we can eas­i­ly form groups on Google, Facebook, you name it, we don’t know who the peo­ple on the group are.