China Aims to Replicate Human Brain in Bid to Dominate AI

( – If ever there were a time when fears of a real-life Skynet might be justified, now would be it. China has stepped up the race to create artificial general intelligence (AGI) — or computers that are capable of learning and adapting — by trying to replicate the human brain. The move is part of efforts in multiple countries to integrate artificial intelligence into “smart city” technology and other advances.

Newsweek reports that Zhu Songshun, a Chinese scientist who specializes in artificial intelligence (AI), compares the bid to dominate the technology to the 1950s and ’60s race to harness the atomic bomb. And much of the race’s forward momentum seems to come without serious regard to the dangers the advances might introduce to the rest of the world, an issue many experts see as troubling.

One group of scientists sifted through thousands of papers on AI that Chinese researchers published between 2018 and 2022, finding 850 focusing specifically on brain science. They found that many were homing in on ways to replicate living neural networks in computer systems, so the machines might understand pattern recognition and experience true cognition. Cyborgs and similar constructs, once only conceivable in science fiction, could become reality if these types of studies continue.

Prototypes for machines capable of navigating via electronic eyes, and even predicting human behaviors based on a person’s physical demeanor, are already proving themselves capable of recognizing facial expressions and behavioral cues. Researchers believe their applications could span from smart city technology to various military uses.

Innovator and billionaire Elon Musk predicted in 2019 that AI posed the “biggest existential threat to humanity,” while Chinese tech giant and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma believed it would vastly improve the world. If researchers continue working toward greater AGI advances, we might soon have a chance to find out which of the two is right.

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