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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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How Close Are We to Simulating the Human Brain?

February 10, 2013, 3:52 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Though our understanding of how the brain works has advanced substantially in the last decade, our ability to replicate its functions pales by comparison. Such a lack of know-how is the driving force behind several high-profile attempts to recreate what the brain does and how it works. Henry Markram's ambitious Human Brain Project, which takes a bottom-up approach to recreating synapses, genes and neurons, has been awarded a grant from the European Commission worth half a billion euros. For now, Makram is concentrated on simulating a rat brain as a stepping stone toward a making a human one. 

What's the Big Idea?

Thanks to the rapid advance of technology, the techniques and theories used to construct current models of the human brain are likely to be outpaced by vastly better models, says Eugene Izhikevich from the Brain Corporation, who helped to build a model with 100 billion neurons. But far from being irrelevant, current research is essential for providing future models a starting point. "So, simulating a brain isn’t a goal in itself. It’s an end to some means. It’s a way of organising tools, experts, and data. 'Walking the path is the most important part,' says Izhikevich."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at BBC Future


How Close Are We to Simulat...

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