A new initiative to develop something of a “strong AI” computer has begun in Europe, coordinated by this group: brain-i-nets.eu
Strong AI is, for many, the “holy grail” of computing and in general terms means the development of a machine that thinks as well or better than a human. Computers already have surpassed humans in most very focused intelligence tasks such as mathematical calculations, game playing, most forms of data analysis, and many more of the tasks we often use to define “intelligence”. However no machine comes close to the capabilities of a full human brain at this time, our remarkable three pound package that includes a high level of consciousness and self-awareness, adaptive mechanisms, deep creativity, and more.
With a fairly modest budget compared to the DARPA SyNAPSE, Brain-i-nets goals appear more modest. Science Daily suggests the goal as:
The scientists want to design a new generation of neuro-computers based on the principles of calculation and learning mechanisms found in the brain, and at the same time gain new knowledge about the brain’s learning mechanisms.
The Brain-i-nets website puts this …. somewhat differently, leading one to wonder if they were writing for public understanding or a science fiction movie script:
The goal of this project is to produce a set of rules for synaptic plasticity and network reorganisation that describe the actual adaptive processes that take place in the living brain during learning and to port these rules into current and next-generation neuromorphic hardware.
“Future Emerging Technologies” (FET) is the key agency behind “Brain-i-Nets” which appears to have a budget of about 2.6 million Euros (though I’m not clear if this is just the matching partner funding or the entire budget).
The research partnership includes the University College London, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg und the University of Zurich.