A functional artificial brain could be built within the next decade, leading scientist and brain-builder Henry Markram told a tech conference. Markram, who leads a project seeking to reverse engineer the mammalian brain from lab data, says his team has already duplicated parts of the rat brain, the BBC reports. The synthetic brain will be key to understanding mental disorders, according to Markam.
His project is focusing on the neocortex, a part of the brain that arose with the earliest mammals and evolved into "the almost frightening organ" we have today, Markham says. The team's brain model already has thousands of working synthetic neurons, each of which takes up computing power equivalent to a laptop. Even a small model of the brain would need the power of 10,000 laptops, but with the IBM supercomputer, "we can take the magic carpet for a ride," he quipped.