Mapping the Brain's Neural Networks to Build an Artificial Nervous System

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Math meets neuroscience in the quest to recreate the connections in the human brain and develop smarter robots. In this episode of Science Bytes, produced by Kikim Media for PBS and the Public Library of Science, Hermann Cuntz and Eugene Izhikevich describe their work on modeling brain cells and the complex connections between them. This short documentary, "Blueprint for the Brain," is based on Cuntz's paper, "One Rule to Grow Them All: A General Theory of Neuronal Branching and Its Practical Application." 

"We believe that if we understood the precise pattern with which neurons connect to each other, i.e. which neuron is connected with which other, we would understand how the brain works and how thoughts come about within the brain’s circuitry," Cuntz explains, via the Science Bytes site. Izhikevich founded a company, Brain Corporation, to pursue applications for this work in artificial intelligence:

At Brain Corporation we’re working on the next generation of smart consumer products that will have what we call an artificial nervous system. The idea is that by creating mathematical models of the way the brain works, we can help build products that behave more like animals and less like robots.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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