Scientists taught a petri dish of brain cells to play pong faster than an AI

I love single-player games and am used to AI giving me my butt. Sometimes, it’s not even a real one. I am also the proud owner of a large human brain. Although it has its faults, its ability to learn and change is what helps me overcome difficult in-game challenges.

It was concerning to me that a few brain cells from humans are performing better than AI in video games. New Scientist reports that an Australian team has been creating small brain puddles and one has learned to play Pong in a very impressive time.

Cortical Labs is a company that aims to integrate biological neurons with traditional silicon-based computing hardware. The microelectronic arrays allow brain cells to be grown on them, and the cells can then be stimulated. These chips can be programmed to learn from and to restructure themselves to solve problems. For example, they are capable of stopping sneaky balls that want to enter your goal.

Cortical labs found that AIs take around 90 minutes to learn Pong. However, this “DishBrain” (yes, it is called that) took only five minutes. Researchers do however note that an AI with good training would still be able to destroy the cells.

This was achieved by the team using electrical signals to relay to DishBrain where the ball is. The neurons were able to move the paddles so that they collide with each other, which is quite insane. However, I think I was able to work out Pong much faster than a team of scientists.

Brett Kagan, chief scientific officer at Cortical Labs, told New Scientist that “we think it’s fair” to refer to them as “cyborg’s brains”. He went on to say that the brains move the paddles in Pong and they believe they are the paddles. He says, “We often refer to them as living within the Matrix.”

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Janine Joubert

About the Author: Janine Joubert

I am the Writer Working for The Daily News Global. I love to keep our readers updated with the latest Gaming News from all around the world without worrying about it.

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