Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Cortical Labs

Computer chips made using human stem cells

Computing & Tech

The chip is made by growing human neurons on a silicon chip and the resulting AI can already play computer games

Spotted: Cortical Labs burst onto the news cycle in late 2022 with its article in the scientific journal Neuron, that detailed how the startup had induced neurons in a petri dish to play the computer game Pong. These findings signalled the development of an organic-digital intelligence called the Biological Intelligence Operating System (biOS) or, as it’s familiarly known, the DishBrain. Today it can play Pong – tomorrow it could replace computers.

The researchers develop biOS by first cultivating neurons in a nutrient-rich solution. They are grown across a silicon chip, which has a set of pins that send electrical impulses into the neural structure and receive impulses back in return – like a brain. In fact, the biOS is mixture of silicon and organic tissue, creating a link between an organic neural network and a digital world.

Cortical Labs and its founder, Hon Weng Chong, point out that there are many advantages to an organic-digital intelligence. These include lower power costs, more intuition, and greater creativity in our intelligences. The company adds that digital-only machine learning algorithms are actually a poor copy for an organic neural network. So, they’re starting from scratch – building a better network.

The company posits on its website: “We know an organic mind is a better learner than any digital model. It can switch tasks easily and bring learnings from one task to another. But more important is what we don’t know. What are the limits of a mind connected to infinity? What can it do with data it literally lives in?” These are the questions Cortical Labs is looking to answer.

Chong suggests that organoid intelligence systems have the potential to learn faster and use far less energy than any other artificial intelligence (AI) system in existence. This is important, because AI is becoming almost ubiquitous. Some other innovations Springwise has spotted that make use of AI include a platform that uses it to sustainably produce chemicals and the use of AI to decarbonise energy-intensive businesses.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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