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DARPA, memristors, nanotechnology, and an approach to AI

Foresight’s core concern is understanding the changes in the human condition that will result from transformative technologies—particularly high throughput atomically precise manufacturing and artificial general intelligence (AGI). A Foresight Briefing document from 1987 “Dimensions of Progress” makes the point that progress in fabrication ability (for example, through atomically precise manufacturing) can accelerate progress in design ability (through AGI) and vice vesa. A striking example of this synergy already provided by current incremental nanotechnology begins with memristors, a novel circuit element based upon a property that is insignificant at the microscale, but becomes substantial at the nanoscale. Mathematically, the behavior of memristors is similar to the behavior of neurons, suggesting they could be useful to build systems that work like brains (see this and this Nanodot post from this past April). Brian Wang brings to our attention a new DARPA memristor-based approach to AI that consists of a chip that mimics how neurons process information, which was featured in the December IEEE Spectrum “MoNETA: A Mind Made from Memristors” and discussed a couple weeks ago in a Next Big Future post. Brian emailed us his further thoughts:

IEEE Spectrum – DARPA has funded a new memristor-based approach to AI consists of a chip that mimics how neurons process information.

Nextbigfuture discussed how memristors look very promising for creating human scale synapse networks.

The goal of the MOdular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent (MoNETA) project is to develop an animat that can intelligently interact and learn to navigate a virtual world making decisions aimed at increasing rewards while avoiding danger. The animat, which is a virtual agent living in a virtual environment, is designed to be modular: a whole brain system, initially including fairly simple modules, will be progressively refined.

Trying to create artificial animal intelligence on the way to human.

Memristors will be used as analog synapses—CPUs and GPUs will be used for neurons (there also could be custom chips)

DARPA SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics) goals:

  • 1 million neurons per square centimeter
  • 10 billion synapses (memristors) per square centimeter
  • 100 milliwatts per square centimeter
  • total power 1 kilowatt

The total system would then be about 10,000 chips with a combined 100 trillion synapses and 10 billion neurons. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. The human brain is 50 times more energy efficient than the DARPA Synapse goals.

DARPA is trying to get to this in 5-8 years.

I have looked at the memristor – synapse before:

Consciousness transfer—What I think might work. Need to perfect mind machine interfaces and have brain prosthetics and integrated co-processors. You would need systems about an order of magnitude or two beyond the DARPA targets.

Then if you have your wet mind and the computer mind extension working together for a decade and the computer appliance had the same or higher level of complexity the result could be your consciousness might exist and span the substrates (both in the brain and in the artificial systems). So if you lost the biological substrate then you could have consciousness that continues in the machine portion.

2 Responses to “DARPA, memristors, nanotechnology, and an approach to AI”

  1. flashgordon Says:

    I went to youtube to listen to some Foreigner for the first time in awhile. I finaly settled on “I’ve been waiting for a girl like you.” There was a comment to the affect of the song is about waiting for the perfect girl. This was a great opportunity to say some thoughts I’ve been having about transhumanism, scientific humanism(something Drexler and co don’t seem to like anymore if they ever did so) and all. Basicaly, i told him and whoever ends up reading it things like, shit comes out one end, piss out the other and you want to hump it? I further noted how I’m convinced that guys like a good pair of tits because 99% of the girls in this world don’t have a pair worth worrying about; and even then, you know they’re just blubber anyways. The average shelf-life of a girl is ten years starting around high school. Somehow I don’t think this whole love/sex thing is worth worrying about!

    I further commented that the reason why people want sex/love/religion is because they don’t have a scientific humanist philosophy and they havn’t gotten themselves to be able to do mathematics – the noblest activity of the human species. So, they get bored within five minutes(one guy noted on the youtube foreigner song webpage how todays girls go from one guy to another weekly), next thing you know they’re spending their time thinking about how to catch a girl; of if they can’t accomplish that, go to religion(churches are today mostly about going for a social meetup spot; they just act like its something nobler, just like they say their about ethics and spirituality, but really, their about politics and social conrol).

    Now, I come here and see you guys talking about uploading yourselves into nano-computers, and you guys have a big problem with my pointing out Jacob Bronowskian scientific humanism and that by getting out to space, we can escape this sick, psychological nightmare society; something’s got to give. Your all hypocrits and married to this sick world.

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