Science  09 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5510, pp. 1865
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5510.1865b

It's 2001. But the closest we've come to HAL 9000, the thinking, feeling computer from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 futuristic film 2001: A Space Odyssey is an IBM supercomputer that's a turtle compared to the harelike speed of the human brain, and shows no signs of consciousness or the capacity to evolve. Or is it. For the answer, take a look at Artificial Brains.

Since late 1999, Jim Pearn, an artificial intelligence (AI) buff in Munich, Germany, has been tracking developments in AI and its supporting sciences. His site organizes dozens of research projects from around the world into categories such as neuroscience, brain scanning, supercomputers, and neural chips. One-page overviews explain the gist of each project and include illustrations and related links. Perhaps the closest thing yet to a HAL-like machine is COG at MIT, a humanoid robot that can touch things and watch moving objects and will soon have a voice. In another intriguing effort, Caltech scientists are attempting to build an artificial brain by linking living neurons to a computer via a set of electrodes in a petri dish.

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