News Stories

Computers R Us

The next generation of computers will try to duplicate the way the human brain works, meaning that they may be able to SEE and HEAR in the future. They may even be able to feel emotions. Meanwhile, our brains are becoming more like computers: It has been discovered that integrative body-mind training (IBMT), which was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s in China (where it is practiced by thousands of people) can change the part of the brain called the anterior cingulate, which regulates emotions and behavior. IBMT is not yet available in the US.

PhysOrg.com reports that the changes in connectivity in the brain began after six hours of IBMT training, which resulted from a reorganization of the brain's white-matter, due to an increase in the myelin sheath that surrounds the connections. Participants' brains were re-programmed!

Meanwhile, BBC News quotes computer scientist Thomas Wennekers as saying, "We want to learn from biology to build future computers. The brain is much more complex than the neural networks that have been implemented so far. We'll be computing in a completely different way."

The key to this is learning how neurons are created and how they "talk" to each other. BBC quotes Wennekers as saying, "We build pretty detailed models of the visual cortex and study specific properties of the microcircuits. We're working out which aspects are crucial for certain functional properties like object or word recognition. It might lead to smart components that are intelligent. They may have added cognitive components such as memory and decision making."Does this mean that the next time you get mad at your computer, you'll have to worry about hurting its feelings? Stay tuned. BBC quotes researcher Steve Furber as saying, "We think there's a change in the game there."

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Art credit: Dreamstime.com

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