Tuesday, 26 August 2008

From Laminated Mouse to Telepathic Cat

From Wired: Pentagon Begins Fake Cat Brain Project :
The Pentagon's crash program to create an artificial brain is just about up and running. And, if it all goes as planned, we could see an electronic chip that mimics the "function, size, and power consumption" of a cat's cortex some time in the next decade.
"The follow-on phases of the project will create a technology that functions like the brain of a cat, which comprises 108 neurons and 1012 synapses," Dr. Narayan Srinivasa, SyNAPSE Program Manager and Senior Scientist, said. "The human brain has roughly 1011 neurons and 1015 synapses."

The gray area between circuitry and gray matter has become one of the hotter topics in military research. The Army is funding a study into "synthetic telepathy" that would translate the brain's electrical activity into computer code.
The JASONs, the Pentagon's premiere scientific advisory board, has warned of the dangers of enemies implanted with brain-computer interfaces. And the Defense Intelligence Agency just released a report, saying the military needs to spend more on neuroscience - up to and including "mak[ing] the enemy obey our commands."
A summary of another of Cordwainer Smith's works: The Game of Rat and Dragon.
Mankind has achieved the ability to travel to the stars, through interstellar space, but there are hazards, namely monsters that people call "dragons" who kill many of the passengers and crew on these ships, drive people insane. To battle these noncorporeal monsters, human psychics have proven very useful, but engineers have found that these human psychics work better against the monsters when they have partners—psychic cats.
See previous post on another Cordwainer Smith related neurological issue : Laminated Mouse Brains


SnoopyTheGoon said...

Some people don't understand yet that cats are much more intelligent than humans. They are just too clever to make it obvious. For obvious reasons.

Thus creating cat's brain is too ambitious. They should start with humans.

Battybattybats said...

Sigh, military research never lets ethics get in the road of potential power.

They need to watch the Ghost In The Shell anime to see the cornocopia of problems such technology would lead to... alas I think they'd miss the point and just get more ideas.

Rosana Hart said...

Cordwainer Smith seems to have seen the future more than perhaps even he realized. I'm his daughter and I don't remember him saying anything that would suggest he thought he was foreseeing. I've recently added a blog to my website about him, and here is a page for posting sightings like this. Do come by!


Rosana (Linebarger) Hart

Anonymous said...

The results...

Zoe Brain said...

Hi Rosana!

I'm writing this in the shadow of Black Mountain, not far from where your father did some of his best work.

I don't know whether to have more admiration and respect for Dr Paul Linebarger the scholar, or Cordwainer Smith, the author. Certainly the latter's SF works put him in a class of his own, but his works on sinology and psywar are also essential reading.

I don't know if you've ever been to this part of Old South East Australia, but if you ever come here, I'd be glad to give you a tour of Adaminaby and environs.

Oh, and the Jindalee system in the middle of the Desert has absolutely no connection with Mother Hitton. Despite all appearances to the contrary.

And our sheep are not usually this big.

Hugs, Zoe