Scientists begin to implant living neurons in computer microchips

Neurons grown on a CMOS chip. Photographed by scanning electron microscope

The news from Aston University (UK) sounds like the beginning of the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster, but its authors have no doubts about the success of the undertaking. Scientists at Aston intend to integrate living stem cells from the human brain into electronic chips. They believe that this will allow building a neural network of a new type, which will not be limited by the parameters of existing technology.

The goal was voiced ambitious, the researchers want to "use the unmatched computing power of the brain of an intelligent creature" to teach a computer to solve problems that are not subject to typical algorithms. This is not so much about creativity or complex matters, but about attempts to endow AI with such abilities as intuition, insight, and a non-standard approach to solving problems. So that computing power is not spent on enumerating millions of options, but on a quick but rational choice based on ingenuity and experience.

The project is called Neu-ChiP and is formally dedicated to the development of a new neural network. However, it will be based on real neurons - living nerve cells that, as they grow, will adapt and line up in a given structure in order to work in conjunction with a digital interface. This approach will not yet give rise to a full-fledged AI, but it will allow setting tasks for the neural network that require a non-trivial solution. How exactly this will be implemented in practice, the authors of the project have not yet specified.