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There are few scientists in the world with the resources I have at my disposal.
Recently, a simple electronic circuit consisting of an LC network and a memristor was used to model experiments on adaptive behavior of unicellular organisms. It was shown that the electronic circuit subjected to a train of periodic pulses learns and anticipates the next pulse to come, similarly to the behavior of slime molds Physarum polycephalum subjected to periodic changes of environment. Such a learning circuit may find applications, e.g., in pattern recognition
This is ultimately the final goal of the neural net school of artificial intelligence. The idea that if you can perfectly replicate the structure and mechanism, intelligence just sort of falls out of it. The other school being 'classic' AI, which takes the approach of replicating the way people reason using computer logic, and believing that if you build a complicated enough model, intelligence sort of falls out of it. These two schools of thought don't get on that well, and they both roundly hate what I do for a living (videogame AI, which isn't AI at all but gets called that).The stumbling block has always been 'mechanism' rather than structure though. There's just too much weird and wacky stuff involving various neuro-chemicals that we have barely scratched the surface in understanding to make much progress.
The problem here is trying to build an AI which behaves like an organic being. It will never be an intelligence that we could see as human because it could never be that.