can we fully digitize the brain and run it real time ?

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Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life course Final Project. Brief comparison of the human brain and computer performance.


  • Can we fully digitize the brain and run it real time ? Petr Hruka Final Project Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life
  • 2 One day, several months ago an article in Czech magazine took my attention. In that article the author cited some interesting words of Raymond Kurzweil, an American author, scientist, inventor, futurist, and director of engineering at Google. Mr.Kurzweil said in that article he is looking to the future (~2045), where computers will have enough capacity and power to fully simulate the human brain so we will be able to upload ourselves into the cybernetic body. Mr. Kurzweil's claim about uploading minds by 2045
  • 3 And questions started attacks in my mind: Is Mr.Kurzweil serious or does he just provoke to attract attention ? Could really silicon chips and electrical circuits fully simulate all the brain functions ? Is all what we are the matter of CNS, can we live without our body as digital beings ? I'm software engineer and I have some idea how computers work, but I did not know really much about the brain. I decided I need to study to find out more. So I enrolled for Computational Neuroscience and Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life courses to get some background to asses Mr.Kurzweil prediction.
  • 4 So the question is, in future, can we fully simulate the human brain functions ? And could such simulation also bring the self-awareness and intelligence of living organism ? My project is to briefly compare the human brain and computer performance to have better idea for the the former question. For the latter one, my current feeling is unless we try, we're not going to know really ...
  • 5 Basic Description and Characteristics The human brain is complex neuronal network supported by glial cells and powered by oxygenated blood. It's a very parallel system with multiple core centers communicating each other simultaneously. Stimuli are sensed and transformed to electrical signals , which are transmitted by neuronal pathways to the brain. Brain is storing and interpreting inputs from outside and inside the body and process it up to decision how and if to react. Computers are complex systems of electrical circuits organized to integrated processor unit(s), other silicon chips and memories, powered by electricity. Computers are very fast, still mainly sequential systems. Inputs from peripheral devices are transformed to binary code and translated through several layers to limited amount of instructions which can be processed in CPUs. Outputs are predictable reaction based on programming and logic burned in the chips.
  • 6 Compatibility So we have biological and artificial systems for information processing . Are these two systems compatible enough that we can thing about full simulation of the brain ? While there are major differences in used materials, brain anatomy and computer system architecture, one essential and very key aspect is common. Information is processed as a binary code, where 1 is represented as higher electrical potential than 0. Both systems transform stimuli or input information into binary code ~ electrical impulses to be processed and reactions are transformed back to whatever output systems you have available, muscle contractions or robotic arm movements. The fact that both systems can be and are compatible has been proven by many ways, from mind-controlled prosthetic limbs to such experiments where you read neuronal motorfunction signals from one person and send the information over the computer network to another body, where the resulting movement is performed.
  • 7 Speed and Overall Performance Brain neurons response time is measured in milliseconds or tens of milliseconds. You will be disqualified from 100m sprint race if your start reaction time is

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