The Human Remembering Machine

Oct 4, 2016

By Adrienne LaFrance

They called it the Hubble Telescope of the mind.

This was in 2009, after the announcement that a team of scientists from IBM’s Cognitive Computing group had built what was, at the time, the largest artificial brain ever. It was a cell-by-cell computer simulation of the human visual cortex, large as a cat’s brain.

The reference to Hubble, the deep-space telescope, is a nod to the galactic complexity of building a computer with brain-like infrastructure. The cat-sized brain built in 2009 represented 1 billion neurons connected by 10 trillion synapses, according to IBM. Since then, they’ve scaled up dramatically—mapping the neural pathways of a macaque monkey brain, and edging closer to an accurate simulation of the human brain.


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One comment on “The Human Remembering Machine”

  • Interesting research, but when it says:

    “…The new model, inspired by how the brain actually works, imitates the plasticity of human synapses over time—and the way older memories affect the storage of newer ones…”

    I don’t understand how this can save energy and reduce the size of hardware. There is not enough technical details about the hardware and how exactly it works.



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