Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military United States Science Technology

DARPA Wants Computers That Fuse With Higher Human Brain Function 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-I-only-had-a-brain dept.
coondoggie writes "In the never-ending quest to get computers to process, really understand and actually reason, scientists at Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency want to look more deeply into how computers can mimic a key portion of our brain. The military's advanced research group recently put out a call, or Request For information, on how it could develop systems that go beyond machine learning, Bayesian techniques, and graphical technology to solve 'extraordinarily difficult recognition problems in real-time.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DARPA Wants Computers That Fuse With Higher Human Brain Function

Comments Filter:
  • Sooner or later some evil person is going to figure out a way to biologically/mechanically enhance a human being into a "supersoldier," in a way that will compromise the long term health or well being of he human being.

    Then everybody else is going to do the same awful thing, just to compete. Because they 'have to.'

    • by RenderSeven (938535) on Monday August 19, 2013 @03:49PM (#44610657)

      "supersoldier," in a way that will compromise the long term health or well being of he human being.

      I think the idea is to compromise the health of the other human being.

      • Wish I had mod points, +1 to parent.

        Though sadly, given the attitude current politicians over the last 15 years have shown to the military class, I'd have to say neither side's soldier's health even rates a concern.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        "supersoldier," in a way that will compromise the long term health or well being of he human being.

        I think the idea is to compromise the health of the other human being.

        Well, the solution is deceptively simple: take the other human being and fuse a computer in her/his brain.

        • by s.petry (762400)
          By fuse are you thinking hammer and glue? That would be "cold fusion" if I'm not mistaken! :)
    • by the gnat (153162) on Monday August 19, 2013 @03:56PM (#44610745)

      Sooner or later some evil person is going to figure out a way to biologically/mechanically enhance a human being into a "supersoldier," in a way that will compromise the long term health or well being of he human being.

      Or, alternately, some decent person will figure out a way to biologically/mechanically enhance a human being in a way that removes physical disabilities and/or existing physiological limitations, and amplifies intelligence to the point where we can effortlessly accomplish in a day what once took a week or more. It's not just military mad scientists who daydream about brain-computer interfaces and other forms of human enhancement; these technologies have potential far beyond warfare. I know I'm not the only person who has fantasized about what life would be like if I could have instant recall of any information available on the network, while running along 50km of undeveloped coastline. Instead, I'm sitting on in my Aeron in front of the computer, looking out the window as a beautiful day passes by, and wishing I could run for more than five minutes without shooting pains in my legs and lungs. So, honestly, I hope DARPA hurries up with this.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        This is what I want. This is one of the reasons I went back to school and am almost done with a degree in chemical and biological engineering. I want BCI. I want to replace all my organic components with robotic ones once they get better. I love the idea of turning myself fully into a robot once that technology works and spending a VERY long time exploring, learning etc.

        I would love it if I could get a job working on this project. Sure it will be used for military applications but a lot of the stuff develop

        • By being first you would just wind up being the Version I model working the assembly line cranking out the Version II production quota. Any attempt to upgrade your cognative components to V II will likely get you recycled. Assuming of course they even have a recycling program by then.
      • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

        decent person will figure out a way to biologically/mechanically enhance a human

        Perhaps. However, it would be very unlikely that this power to control a human mind would not find it's way immediately into political or military advantage.

      • Or, alternately, some decent person will figure out a way to biologically/mechanically enhance a human being in a way that removes physical disabilities and/or existing physiological limitations, and amplifies intelligence to the point where we can effortlessly accomplish in a day what once took a week or more.

        Well, sure they might, but probably not while working on a project for the US DoD.

        • by the gnat (153162) on Monday August 19, 2013 @04:38PM (#44611175)

          Advances in military technology trickle down to civilian life all the time. Radar, computers, jet engines, satellites, the list goes on. (Oh, and the Internet, which I already mentioned below.) Battlefield medicine has made huge advances too, which are applicable to injuries that have nothing to do with warfare. The big area where I think there has been too little transfer is rocketry, where federal regulations severely restrict employment and the availability of technology.

          I don't view any of this as an actual justification for military spending - I'm firmly in the camp that believes the US should be like Switzerland with nukes. But it's simply ignorant of history to claim that military research never benefits anyone but the military.

          • The military also introduced tents capable of collecting solar energy to power their field camps. It reduced the reliance on gas powered generators.

      • There in lies the problem. For every person who wants to make someone walk again, there are ten people who want to design someone who can kill someone that much quicker. It's a fucking racial imperative, and we don't even know why.

        It never ceases to amaze me that for all the hardware the human brain possess, we are so bad at many of the tasks we perform. I mean, it's ludicrous to think how the avian or reptilian or cetacean or insect or even other mammalian species can perform advanced calculations in 1/100

        • by the gnat (153162) on Tuesday August 20, 2013 @02:04AM (#44615199)

          It never ceases to amaze me that for all the hardware the human brain possess, we are so bad at many of the tasks we perform. I mean, it's ludicrous to think how the avian or reptilian or cetacean or insect or even other mammalian species can perform advanced calculations in 1/100th the amount of time that it takes a human mind to complete the same damn calculation. I find that deeply troubling. A freaking spider can scan a series of stems, like a mainframe computer, and determine which one is the right one to climb, with a brain less than the size of a pin...and yet a human child, of several years of age, might fail at even understanding the task to be performed, let alone performing the task itself.

          Part of evolution involves specialization, and we lose certain instincts or abilities that are unnecessary for maximum fitness. We don't have the speed of a cheetah, or the sense of smell of a bloodhound, or the vision of a falcon either. Instead, we ended up with verbal communication, opposable thumbs, and creativity and intuition beyond anything we've observed so far in the animal world. Seems like a fair tradeoff to me.

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          "Are we missing a gene or something?"

          You raise good points.

          Thing is, that's stuff those critters do the same way all the time because that's all that's needed.

          I think it has to do with humans being much more open-ended. We have many more possibilities of what we might do with what we find at hand, let alone what we might contrive to aid the doing of something. Some things are simpler - we used to pick something edible and ate it; then we poked a hole in the ground and planted a seed or slip; then we built

    • Who's to say this has not already been done? Ever wonder why this reality seems so wrong? Why humans are so good at destroying things, at jeering, insulting one another, hurting each other, at hate in general, and so terrible at peace? Humanity has probably done this to itself a dozen, if not a hundred or thousand times already; and each time, the violence gets worse.

      Look at the current state of humanity: our leaders have to hold constant wars to keep the populace in check. They have to invent catastrophes

    • by jsepeta (412566)

      ah yes, DARPA funded the Internet, so of course they'll be funding the Singularity.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      Sooner or later some evil person is going to figure out a way to biologically/mechanically enhance a human being into a "supersoldier," in a way that will compromise the long term health or well being of he human being.

      Then everybody else is going to do the same awful thing, just to compete. Because they 'have to.'

      They don't need technlogy for that. Being trained to kill and then being put in situations where violence is demanded is harmful to the long term health of humans.

  • Simple (Score:5, Funny)

    by baldass_newbie (136609) on Monday August 19, 2013 @03:47PM (#44610649) Homepage Journal

    Broadcast routines through The View - then you'll get millions of brains connected.
    Oh wait, higher brain functions. I guess that demographic won't work then.

  • by schneidafunk (795759) on Monday August 19, 2013 @03:50PM (#44610669)
    So the functions they are trying to emulate are "higher brain functions such as sensory perception, motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought and language." (emphasis mine). I'm assuming they are looking (near term) for better filtering of that massive collection of data the NSA is collecting.
    • I doubt there is much in the way of "motor commands" involved in data filtering. There would be motor commands involved in autonomous robots (DARPA Grand Challenge [wikipedia.org]) especially when paired with image recognition and route selection.

      Not everything is about the NSA.

  • Pink Floyd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mspohr (589790) on Monday August 19, 2013 @03:53PM (#44610701)

    Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
    Where have you been? It's alright we know where you've been.
    You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
    provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.
    You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
    And you didn't like school, and you know you're nobody's fool,
    So welcome to the machine.
    Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
    What did you dream? It's alright we told you what to dream.
    You dreamed of a big star, he played a mean guitar,
    He always ate in the Steak Bar. He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
    So welcome to the machine.

  • by dryriver (1010635) on Monday August 19, 2013 @03:56PM (#44610737)
    They want AI killing machines ( aka "Autonomous Battlefield Robots") that can model human thought on some level, so as to be better equipped to deal with human or human-controlled targets. --- This is very "Terminator 2" you say? Well, maybe IT IS very Terminator 2 in real life? ----- But seriously, what possible good can come from a war-oriented defense projects agency trying to model the human intellect/neocortex? Are they going to create kiddie toys that speak & interact with a 3 year old child with this? Or will this new tech be put to more nefarious uses ---- solving the problem of how to break a big ass street protest up most efficiently, for example? Or searching through millions of database records of activists, and finding those who are likely to become - and this is very W. Gibson I admit - "SuperNodes" who can influence the behavior of thousands of other people? Imagine technology human-smart enough to identify the next Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela or Ghandi when they are still in high-school? It would be quite easy then to stop these people from becoming "SuperNodes", no? ---- That's your conspiracy for today. Check back tomorrow for more. =)
    • Are they going to create kiddie toys that speak & interact with a 3 year old child with this?

      Yes, of course. [wikipedia.org]

    • by RenderSeven (938535) on Monday August 19, 2013 @04:31PM (#44611109)

      killing machines ... that can model human thought

      So, robots with Facebook pages and Twitter feeds?

      MechWarrior5324 +1 Likes Acme Diodes
      @R2D222222 P0wnd 11 civs after recharge best day EVER! #acidforblood #winning

    • by jeff4747 (256583)

      But seriously, what possible good can come from a war-oriented defense projects agency trying to model the human intellect/neocortex?

      What possible good can come from a war-oriented defense projects agency trying to create redundant communications systems to make nuclear war less catastrophic and thus more appealing?

    • by ultranova (717540)

      But seriously, what possible good can come from a war-oriented defense projects agency trying to model the human intellect/neocortex?

      Less casualties on both sides. The Terminator corps can take risks the Marine corps couldn't, so they don't have to, say, shoot a suspected suicide bomber from a distance rather than close in and investigate. Sure, one might get blown up, but so what? By the time the shrapnel hits the ground ten more have popped out from the assembly line.

      Expendable unfeeling industrially man

  • Makes me think of the precogs in Minority Report
  • So they want to build computers like the one of Bomb #20 from Dark Star?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... want a pony.

    Preferably one that bestows super-powers when stroked.

  • Understandable, but as there is not even a credible theory at this time, expect that strong AI is at the very least 50 years into the future, probably much, much longer. It also seems they have zero clue about the state-of-the-art. Pathetic.

    • And how do you think we'll get there?

      DARPA is one of the coolest federal agencies. They take risks to try game-changing reimaginings that leap forward in the state-of-the-art. When they work. Which they often don't. But often even the failures are cool.

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Strong vs weak is a mere philosophical distinction that is completely meaningless as far as anybody knows.

      As for not knowing the state of the art, were you aware that, for example, a so-called deep-learning algorithm recently achieved super-human performance in recognizing road signs [idsia.ch], despite being a rather general algorithm [idsia.ch]? Super-human, as in, it had a lower recognizing road signs than people did. It's stunning. And surprisingly, the algorithm(s) doing this are among those that could be most credibly

      • by gweihir (88907)

        ... and has nothing at all to do with AI. Keep kidding yourself. And, yes, "strung AI", "true AI", etc. are only used because people with no clue what AI is keep calling things AI that are not.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          "Artificial intelligence" is no more ill-defined than "intelligence" is in the first place.

          Name the benchmark, then we can argue whether any progress has been achieved on that benchmark in the last 40 years, or 5 years.

          From the article, here is what DARPA is asking for:

          Algorithms inspired by neural models, in particular neocortex, can recognize complex spatial and temporal patterns and can adapt to changing environments. Consequently, these algorithms are a promising approach to data stream filtering an

    • I always wondered why people automatically think that AI is going to listen to them and not misbehave. After all.. AI thinks for itself, doesn't it? Why do you assume AI would pay attention to you, or not want to go off an do something that it likes?
  • Like what is conscience, or how to bring new, definite, and structured items to it? As far i know, most of the interaction has been read only, or with things with side effects and not long enough studies. Speaking on not knowing how much this will totally screw a brain, where they will be the testings? In Guantanamo?
  • This was from back in 2001 [nih.gov] I don't know how much the research has progressed in 12 years though.
  • Morpheus - "...Welcome to the Desert of the Real. We have only bits and pieces of information but what we know for certain is that at some point in the early 21st century all of mankind was united in celebration. We marveled at our own magnificence as we gave birth to AI".
  • So now you'll be vulnerable to a virus or bad code in your brain?
  • It comes down to using the right tool for the job, at least in the future we see happening this century. Why not make a computer that can attach to a human brain? Human brains are great at solving some problems, and terrible at solving others. We should try to improve the interface between the two.

    It would be really nice to have a coprocessor that can handle discrete problems that can help out with the things that humans are really bad at. My computer chip could help out with calculating some numbers wh

  • I for one welcome Skynet as our benevolent overlord.
  • I want military^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hdefense employees that fuse with higher human brain function.

  • Resistance is futile. Your life as it has been is over. From this time forward you will service us.

  • I don't dream of a day when war comes to an end, I doubt that day will ever come. I dream of a day when war can be fought and won entirely with powerful machines with no lives lost.
  • "Everyone was in favor of saving Hitler's brain. But when you put it in the body of a great white shark. Ohh, suddenly you go too far!"

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

Working...