12Brain and Cognitive Computing: Where Are We Headed?

12.1. State of the art

Many projects are underway to develop advances in reasoning, cognition, consciousness management, thought transmission, etc., through the modeling of an artificial brain.

One of these research projects is called “Blue Brain”. It is an attempt to create a synthetic brain model by reverse engineering of a mammalian brain down to the molecular level. This project was initiated by the Brain and Mind Institute of EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. Several universities and IBM are involved in this project. The objective is to study the brain’s architectural and functional principles to construct a biologically realistic model of the neurons.

We can also quote other projects such as “Cajal Blue Brain” coordinated by the Supercomputing and Visualization Center of Madrid (CeSViMa) associated with universities and independent research laboratories.

The major criticisms of these projects relate to the fact that some aspects of human consciousness or expertise cannot be simulated by machines. Some scientists (Ray Kurzweil, Anders Sandberg and Nick Bostrom to name a few) are more optimistic. They estimate, however, that much more processing power is required to correctly emulate a human brain at various levels of modeling. With regard to future challenges, we can say that Moore’s law still applies: the trend line, in terms of floating-point operations per second (FLOPS) by seconds, with conventional computers is shown ...

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