If you want a computer that works like a living brain you need to build it with the processes of living organisms. That’s the notion underlying neuromorphic engineering, a field of computer science that draws inspiration from biological nervous systems. Conceived in the late 1980s, it’s a fundamental departure from conventional computer designs and it’s shown some big advances lately. A research team announced the creation of a “neurosynaptic” chip that works much like the human brain, and it could be the necessary enabler for the next generation of smart technologies.
Time spent around the physical artifacts of discovery – laboratories, museum displays, university offices – can provoke questions about how advances are really made: Who is most responsible for new scientific knowledge? And who gets the credit? Is the breakthrough in the mind or in the tool that made it possible?