Sign of the End? Lab-Grown Human Brain Cells ‘Exhibit Sentience’ When Scientists Teach Them to Play Pong

According to the 1991 blockbuster “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” Skynet was supposed to have become self-aware 25 years ago, on August 29, 1997.

I know this because I took my wife to see “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” on our honeymoon … which shows you just how self-aware I was in 1991. It’s amazing she’s stuck with me for so long. But I digress.

Skynet, of course, was the huge national-defense artificial intelligence network that kept sending terminator androids back in time so that they could fail to kill Sarah Connor and her son, John. I thought of the film immediately when I saw that Australian scientists recently taught lab-grown brain cells to play Pong.

Now that I write that down, I can see how some might consider it a stretch. Stay with me, here.

According to this report, which does not appear to have been peer-reviewed prior to its publication yesterday, a culture of 800,000 stem-cell-derived human brain cells and embryo-derived mouse brain cells displayed limited “sentience,” in the sense that they were “responsive to sensory impressions.”

The researchers called their human-mouse-brain-hybrid “DishBrain” — and there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

“DishBrain offers a simpler approach to test how the brain works, and gain insights into debilitating conditions such as epilepsy and dementia,” Cortical Labs CEO Dr. Hon Weng Chong explained. KOAM described Cortical Labs as a biotech start-up.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

One thought on “Sign of the End? Lab-Grown Human Brain Cells ‘Exhibit Sentience’ When Scientists Teach Them to Play Pong”

  1. This news inspired a few good memes, but mostly it made me think of a music video from a few years ago.

    By the way, I often link to your stuff at the “vulture of critique” blog. You have been showing excellent attention to selecting stories and posting a summary that really grabs the reader’s attention for each story. I tend to get caught up in tracking about 75 different stories per day and so I don’t make enough space in my blog posts to do much but list the headlines and brief comments that might or might not motivate readers. I look forward to seeing your new posts!


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