Sunday, October 24, 2004

I'm pretty sure this scares me

From Wired News, a story I won't try to explain:

"Somewhere in Florida, 25,000 disembodied rat neurons are thinking about flying an F-22.

"These neurons are growing on top of a multi-electrode array and form a living 'brain' that's hooked up to a flight simulator on a desktop computer. When information on the simulated aircraft's horizontal and vertical movements are fed into the brain by stimulating the electrodes, the neurons fire away in patterns that are then used to control its 'body' -- the simulated aircraft.

"'It's as if the neurons control the stick in the aircraft, they can move it back and forth and left and right,' said Thomas DeMarse, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida who has been working on the project for more than a year. 'The electrodes allow us to record the activity from the neurons and stimulate them so we can listen to the conversation among the neurons and also input information back into the neural network.'

"Currently the brain has learned enough to be able to control the pitch and roll of the simulated F-22 fighter jet in weather conditions ranging from blue skies to hurricane-force winds. Initially the aircraft drifted, because the brain hadn't figured out how to control its 'body,' but over time the neurons learned to stabilize the aircraft to a straight, level flight.

"'Right now the process it's learning is very simplistic,' said DeMarse. 'It's basically making a decision about whether to move the stick to the left or to the right or forwards and backwards and it learns how much to push the stick depending upon how badly the aircraft is flying.'"

This is how the Matrix begins, isn't it?

From Vodkapundit, who seems to know most of the F-22 pilots in existence and think they will be unmercifully ribbed about this. Agreed.

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