Science & Technology

Mini-brains: Clumps of human brain cells in a dish can learn to play Pong faster than an AI


Hundreds of thousands of brain cells in a dish are being taught to play Pong by responding to pulses of electricity – and can improve their performance more quickly than an AI can



Mind



17 December 2021

Living brain cells in a dish can learn to play the video game Pong when they are placed in what researchers describe as a “virtual game world”. “We think it’s fair to call them cyborg brains,” says Brett Kagan, chief scientific officer of Cortical Labs, who leads the research.

Many teams around the world have been studying networks of neurons in dishes, often growing them into brain-like organoids. But this is the first time that mini-brains have been found to perform goal-directed tasks, says Kagan.



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