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Event-Based Neuromorphic Systems by Rodney Douglas, Adrian Whatley, Giacomo Indiveri, Tobi Delbruck, Shih-Chii Liu

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17

The Brain as Potential Technology

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This chapter turns from the concrete instantiations of event-based neuromophic systems discussed in previous chapters to look toward a possible future. It discusses physical computation in the context of today’s technology in contrast with our understanding of cortical computation, and in particular, in relation to cognition. It then proposes approaches to understanding computation in brains and how these could be rooted in the brain’s self-construction. These considerations are made more concrete by an example of neural circuitry in cortex with powerful computational properties. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the eventual goal of inducing artificial cognition in neuromorphic electronic systems.

17.1 Introduction

The twentieth century brought huge advances in our understanding of information, and the methods and electronic technologies necessary for its processing. The central tasks of information processing are the storage, communication, and transformation of data; and the cornerstone of their implementation since the 1940s is the digital computer that was first built of electro-mechanical relays, then thermionic valves, and for the last 50 years, silicon. These machines instantly overtook human computers in speed and accuracy of arithmetic. The detailed methods for performing these tasks are of course provided by us – intelligent ...

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