Neurons in a dish learn to play Pong

What on earth is DishBrain?

What do you call a network of neurons connected to electrodes that learn to play Pong?  Even the scientists behind the experiment don’t know how to describe their creation. But the ethical questions that arise out of this fusion of neurons and silicon, are plenty. Brian Patrick Green takes a first shot at articulating them and suggests this might be the real future of Artificial Intelligence.


On December 3, 2021 the Australian biological computing startup, Cortical Labs, released a pre-print article stating that it had turned a network of hundreds of thousands of neurons into a computer-like system capable of playing the video game Pong. They named this system DishBrain.

The name itself might cause the stirrings of an uneasy feeling. Something as important as a brain seems inappropriate as part of a “dish,” and a certain culinary overtone might come to mind as wel

Continue reading

Enjoy unlimited access to the world's leading thinkers.

Start by exploring our subscription options or joining our mailing list today.

Start Free Trial

Already a subscriber? Log in

Join the conversation