Coming soon: Brain on a chip?

The human brain is often likened to a computer, but it differs from everyday computers in three important ways: it consumes very little power, it works well even if components fail, and it seems to work without any software…

Practical neural computers could be only five years away. “The first step could be a little add-on to your computer at home, a device to handle very complex input data and to provide a simple decision,” Meier says. “A typical thing could be an internet search.”

In the longer term, he sees applications for neural computers wherever there are complex and difficult decisions to be made. Companies could use them, for example, to explore the consequences of critical business decisions before they are taken. In today’s gloomy economic climate, many companies will wish they already had one!