Intelligence Agency Funds Research Merging AI With Human Brain

An Australian intelligence agency is providing funding for research aimed at integrating artificial intelligence with human brain cells.

As reported by The Guardian, the endeavor to combine human brain cells with artificial intelligence has secured a substantial $600,000 grant from the defense sector and the Office of National Intelligence.

Monash University and Cortical Labs will receive funding from the Australia National Intelligence and Security Discovery Research Grants Program for their ongoing research in the field.

Adeel Razi, the project’s lead and associate professor at Monash University’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, elaborated on the research, stating that this innovative technology has the potential to outperform current, purely silicon-based hardware in the future.

In the previous year, the research team successfully developed a “DishBrain,” which is described as a “semi-biological computer chip” containing approximately 800,000 lab-grown human and mouse brain cells integrated into its electrodes.

The DishBrain incorporates neurons derived from human stem cells, as reported by New Atlas. The scientists achieved a remarkable feat by training the brain cells to play the classic video game “Pong.”

Some experts predict the brain-powered Biological Intelligence Operating System represents the future of AI due to its self-programming abilities, lower memory requirements, energy efficiency and lifelong learning capabilities, akin to human brain cells.

According to Razi, “The outcomes of such research would have significant implications across multiple fields such as, but not limited to, planning, robotics, advanced automation, brain-machine interfaces and drug discovery, giving Australia a significant strategic advantage.”

He said, “We will be using this grant to develop better AI machines that replicate the learning capacity of these biological neural networks. This will help us scale up the hardware and methods capacity to the point where they become a viable replacement for in silico computing.”

In April, TechCrunch reported that Cortical Labs secured a substantial $10 million in funding, which includes investment from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s investment arm.

The tech outlet stated that Cortical Labs has successfully secured a $10 million funding round, with Horizons Ventures leading the investment and participation from LifeX (Life Extension) Ventures, Blackbird Ventures, Radar Ventures and In-Q-Tel (the venture arm of the CIA).

Cortical Labs is renowned for pioneering the integration of synthetic biology and human neurons, resulting in the development of a cutting-edge AI class called ‘Organoid Intelligence’ (OI).