The idea that we might create machines more intelligent than ourselves is not new. Myths and folk stories abound with creations such as the bronze automaton Talos, who patrolled the island of Crete in Greek mythology. These stories reflect a deep, atavistic fear that there could be other minds that bear the same relationship to us as we do to the animals we eat or keep as pets. With the arrival of artificial intelligence, the idea has re-emerged with a vengeance.
We are condemned to understand new phenomena by analogy with things we already understand, just as the anatomists of old named parts of the brain after fruit and nuts — the amygdala (almonds) and the olives, to name but two. Although Hippocrates, in the fourth century BC, had firmly placed the brain at the centre of human thought and feeling, most early medical authorities had little use for it.
Aristotle thought it was a radiator for cooling the blood. The importance of the brain, for Galen 500 years later, were the fluid cavities — the ventricles — in its centre, and not the tissue of the organ itself. With the rise of scientific method in the 17th century, the brain started to be explained in terms of the latest modern technology. Descartes described the brain and nerves as a series of hydraulic mechanisms. In the 19th century the brain was explained in terms of steam engines and telephone exchanges.
Image Credit: © Courtesy of the USC Laboratory of Neuro Imaging and Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Consortium of the Human Connectome Project
News This Week
DNA Script has raised $38.5 million in new financing to commercialize a process that it claims is the first big leap forward in manufacturing genetic material. The revolution in synthetic biology that’s reshaping industries [...]
These startups have seen investment from NEA, Andreessen Horowitz, and DARPA, among many others. As the digital health sector matures from basic tracking apps into highly regulated medical devices, we are seeing bleeding edge [...]
Quantum technologies utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing. However [...]
Nanoparticles can be used in many ways as catalysts. To be able to tailor them in such a way that they can catalyse certain reactions selectively and efficiently, researchers need to determine the properties [...]
University of Copenhagen researchers have developed a nanocomponent that emits light particles carrying quantum information. Less than one-tenth the width of a human hair, the miniscule component makes it possible to scale up [...]
Once cartilage is damaged, there is little that can be done to repair it. Unlike many other tissues, cartilage doesn’t heal well and consequences of injuries and disease can last a lifetime. Now [...]
Bacteria across our planet contain nanometer-sized factories that do many different things. Some make nutrients, others isolate toxic materials that could harm the bacteria. We have barely scratched the surface of their functional diversity. [...]
“We’ll have nanobots that… connect our neocortex to a synthetic neocortex in the cloud. Our thinking will be a…. biological and non-biological hybrid.” Ray Kurzweil, TED 2014 UPDATE - May 2 2019 Since [...]
Researchers from University of Jyväskylä and Aalto University in Finland have developed a customized DNA nanostructure that can perform a predefined task in human body-like conditions (ACS Nano, "Reconfigurable DNA Origami Nanocapsule for pH-Controlled [...]
Some of the most famous scientific discoveries happened by accident. From Teflon and the microwave oven to penicillin, scientists trying to solve a problem sometimes find unexpected things. This is exactly how we created [...]
When diagnosed with a disease, it's often overwhelming to sort through mountains of medical data to figure out what therapies are available, pinpoint where they're offered and identify the best experts to help. Complexity [...]
The NanoMedicines Innovation Network (NMIN) has been awarded $18.5 million in new funding from the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), a federal program that connects teams of scientists across Canada to collaborate on [...]
Young researchers from Siberian Federal University (SibFU) along with their colleagues from FRC KSC SB RAS are designing a technology for producing multilayer gilded nanodisks for targeted drug delivery and treating cancer using dip [...]
Frank Boehm: Publication of our new paper “Human Brain/Cloud Interface” in Frontiers in Neuroscience
Contributors: Nuno R. B. Martins, Amara Angelica, Yuriy Svidinenko, Frank J. Boehm, Ioan Opris, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Melanie Swan, Steven A. Garan, Jeffrey V. Rosenfeld, Tad Hogg, Robert A. Freitas Jr. et al Excerpt [...]
Abstract The progressive growth in nanotechnology approaches to diagnostics and therapeutics, especially for cancer, necessitates training physicians in nanoethics. This article explains why it is critical for medical education to include instruction in [...]