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US Joins Google, Microsoft In "Brain Race" 94

Nerval's Lobster writes "Decades after the space race pitted the United States against Russia, a new race has emerged: the race to map the human brain. The New York Times reported Feb. 18 that the Obama administration is gearing up to announce the Brain Activity Map project, an effort to map an active human brain that could give new insight into how neurons interact with each other, providing new avenues of research for diseases such as Alzheimer's. The U.S. will apparently pit itself against a collection of European research agencies that have announced similar projects. The U.S. effort, however, will apparently involve U.S. businesses, which would naturally benefit from the high-profile nature of the effort; in theory, the latter could also apply the resulting discoveries to their own computing efforts. The Times reported that representatives from Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm met with government representatives at the California Institute of Technology to try and figure out whether or not there are sufficient computing resources to process the vast amounts of data that the experiments are expected to produce, or whether new ones would need to be built."
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US Joins Google, Microsoft In "Brain Race"

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  • by Mageek ( 530351 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:30PM (#42938029)
  • Disease (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leadacid ( 1750220 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:37PM (#42938091)
    Why does research always have to be done to cure diseases? Have we stopped doing research just because it would be nice to know this, because we might be able to do things we haven't dreamed of yet? 'Curing disease' is the reporting version of fighting terrorists and stopping kiddy porn - filler because you can't think of anything real to say. Surely understanding how our brains work is one of the most interesting things we can do, isn't that good enough?
  • by dinther ( 738910 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:03PM (#42938773) Homepage

    No doubt the processes discovered in the brains inner workings will be patented and I will no longer be allowed to think unless I pay a license fee.

  • Re:my bet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:22PM (#42938921)

    Never underestimate Moon Shots. without the Manhattan project, we probably would have never got the fission reactor, and our knowledge of nuclear technology would not be where it is right now. Without the space program, we wouldn't have satellites, the GPS network, a global communication network, Geospatial imaging, and more goodies then I can fit here. The human Genome project was a fed funded project and it revolutionized Genetics and made gene therapy possible.

    The mapping of the Human brain will finally let us understand what makes the human brain tick, which will allow us to do great things with degenerative illnesses, Brain machine interfaces, augmentation, Mental Illness, Artificial Intelligence, and other thinks we can't even fathom yet.

    If you seriously think government funded research projects are bad, go back to your Amish colony, and not bother using any technology developed in the last 60 years.

  • Religion? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nethead ( 1563 ) <> on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:33PM (#42939033) Homepage Journal

    Could this become a cure for religion? I mean, if we know exactly how the brain works there is going to be a lot fewer gaps for God to hide in.

  • Re: my bet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cyber-vandal ( 148830 ) on Monday February 18, 2013 @05:53PM (#42939187) Homepage

    You do realise that both the Internet and WWW were created by the evil wasteful government don't you? Do you think it would be anything like as free and open if it had been created by Microsoft or Apple?

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"