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Have they wasted a decade and billions of dollars chasing a vision that remains highly elusive?

“I hope you are at least partially convinced that it is not impossible to simulate a human brain. And we can do it, in ten years ». It was 2009 and Henry Markram closed his speech at TEDglobal in Oxford.

Four years later, in 2013, the European Union launched The Human Brain Project, the revolutionary 1.3 billion euro project, founded and directed by Markram, which promised to create a complete simulation of the 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses that make up the human brain. Thus was born the project that promised that step forward necessary to finally understand how the brain works … WHAT ARE THE POINT? SEE HERE

One billion per hundred thousand neurons. The instructive failure of the EU project

In the film “In Silico” the events of the Human Brain Project and its visionary promoter Henry Markram. He failed to reconstruct a brain on a computer, but he teaches us what to do and what not

In a beautiful movie theater of the Lumière cinema, I attended the screening of “In Silico”, the documentary by Noah Hutton that tells the story of the Human Brain Project shown in Italian preview to the students of the Collegio Superiore of the University of Bologna. A vision that left me with many questions, some answers and a lot of curiosity. Noah Hutton has followed the development of the project for almost 10 years, telling the journey of its creator, Henry Markram, its evolution, its successes and its failure. Not unlike many, in fact, Hutton was immediately fascinated by Markram’s personality. A man with a magnetic charisma, a “rock star scientist” as he was defined by some, with the ability to instill irrational enthusiasm in his listeners. This is the story.

About eight years ago, the European Commission decided to fund two scientific research projects that should have made continental science make a generational leap forward. These are the “Flagship projects”: the flagships among the funding programs, with the sumptuous sum of one billion euros available. One of the two projects involved graphene. It can be said that this was a conservative choice: the potential of graphene was already known, so this “flagship project” would certainly have allowed the Commission to justify the expenditure in the eyes of the financing countries of the European Union. The second project, on the other hand, sought to enter unknown lands, accepting a much greater dose of risk and, potentially, exposing the Commission to some criticism if adequate results were not paid to this risk. This second project is called the “Human Brain Project”, and it failed. His story is more instructive than any success story.

KEEP IT GOING https://www.avvenire.it/attualita/pagine/un-miliardo-di-euro-per-centomila-neuroni



The limits of control

The 10-year quest to emulate the human brain and the characters, ambitions and egos that lead the way.

In Silico

Director: Noah Hutton

Review written by Carmen Gray

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