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Israeli scientists participate in the "flagship" project of the European Union for the study of the human brain

The European Commission announced the selection of the "Human Brain Project" as one of the two "flagships" of future technologies. The project will unite European efforts to respond to one of the great challenges of modern science: understanding the human mind.

Prof. Yadin Dodai, Weizmann Institute
Prof. Yadin Dodai, Weizmann Institute

The European Commission announced the selection of the "Human Brain Project" as one of the two "flagships" of future technologies. The project will unite European efforts to respond to one of the great challenges of modern science: understanding the human mind.

The Human Brain Project aims to unify the knowledge about the brain, obtained from various advanced research approaches, and to enable the construction of models of brain activities with the help of powerful supercomputers. The models should enable a better understanding of the brain and its diseases, and at the same time will enable the development of powerful computing technologies and innovative brain-induced robotics. The European Commission supported the vision expressed in the project, and chose it as one of the two projects it will support, as part of the program to establish European "flagships" of innovative technologies.

The human brain project is planned to operate for ten years (2023-2013), while integrating more than 80 universities and research institutes in Europe and abroad. The total estimated budget for the project should ultimately amount to 1.19 billion euros, from various sources. The project will be coordinated at the Lausanne Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Switzerland, by neuroscientist Prof. Henry Markram, together with Prof. Karlheinz Meyer from the University of Heidelberg in Germany, and Prof. Richard Perkowiak from the Valois Medical Center and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Israeli scientists have been participating in the project since its inception, a fact that indicates the high status of Israeli brain research at the forefront of global research. Prof. Markram himself is a graduate of the Feinberg Lectureship of the Weizmann Institute of Science, who did his doctoral thesis in the department of neurobiology at the institute. Prof. Markram served as a professor in the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science before moving to Lausanne.

The Israeli scientists participating in the project at this stage may be joined by other research groups, following a call for the project to publish. The scientific coordinators of the Israeli part of the project are brain researchers Prof. Idan Segev from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Prof. Yadin Dodai from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Dr. Mira Marcus-Klish from Tel Aviv University will coordinate the data mining.

The research in Tel Aviv, led by Dr. Mira Marcus-Klish and in collaboration with world-renowned researchers, will focus on developing dedicated tools for data mining and analysis while ensuring a low error rate. These tools will be used to analyze a wide range of parameters and data related to the brain, with the aim of enabling the characterization, diagnosis and effective treatment of various neurological diseases.

In addition, Tel Aviv University will take an active part in other research topics in the human brain project, for example in the field of education through the Sagol School of Neuroscience and in other research topics, in response to the readers' voices that will be published during the project.

The Weizmann Institute adds that the selection of the Human Brain Project as Europe's "flagship" in the field of future technologies is the result of strenuous preparation that lasted more than three years, and a careful multi-stage examination by independent committees, selected for this purpose by the European Commission. In the coming months, the partners of the project will conduct negotiations with the European Commission in order to conclude the operation of the project in its first two and a half years ("the run-in period", which will last until the middle of 2016). The project should start operating at the end of 2013.

39 תגובות

  1. Skeptic, funny that on the one hand you dismiss Kurzweil's ideas with a wave of your hand but on the other hand say you won't touch his books in which he explains in detail his arguments and what they are based on.

    Keep living under illusions that you supposedly know what you're talking about, you don't.

    It turns out that there are people no less smart and intelligent than you who actually do take him seriously:,7340,L-3593234,00.html

  2. the guide of the universe.

    Regarding Kurzweil's book. I have not read any of his books, nor will I because science fiction books do not interest me that much. But I will treat what you claimed in your words as a faithful description of his words. You said, more or less, that it is possible to maintain a sufficiently perfect copy in a digital system of information that is housed in the brain. In such matters there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the situation, since one of the problems, perhaps the most difficult problem, is the technological ability to transfer accurate information from one place, the brain, to a second place, the digital system.

    To date, copying techniques, for example fMRI, lag behind the perfect copying that Kurzweil claims is applicable. To say with confidence that such a copy is applicable within a century is bragging.

    Another matter that does not concern Kurzweil but illustrates the pretensions and failure of artificial intelligence over the last 50 years. There is a classic science fiction film called 2001 A Space Odyssey. In this film a robot named Hal was described who is able to grasp concepts similar to humans, I assume that the director of the film Kubrick described a popular belief in the year the film was shot, about 50 years ago. Today, at the end of approximately 50 years, we have not been able to produce any robot that approaches God's in its ability to perceive. This is not someone's opinion, no matter how genius, here the facts speak: the pretension of some scientists regarding the development capabilities of artificial intelligence in the face of a clear lack of success after 50 years.

  3. the guide of the universe

    My response to you of several lines was not picked up in the system for some reason. In the same response, I took issue with Kurzweil's expertise because there is a huge gap between his proven achievements and expertise and his far-reaching claims that are not backed up by any of his practical tests.

  4. the guide of the universe.

    Kurzweil is an attractive character for fans of fantasy, because on the one hand he is a computer scientist - more or less - and on the other hand he is guilty of far-reaching phantasms. So many people think like this, if he is a revered computer scientist, then his phenomenology is also established; Well, that's the wrong straw. As long as he implements mundane ideas, none of them particularly amazing, that's fine; As soon as he talks about far-reaching ideas, one should be very skeptical about their validity.
    What is it similar to? Let's say we have a global expert in weather forecasting whose entire career is weather forecasting up to a week in advance. And let's say that the same expert writes 5 books today in which he claims that the weather forecasting techniques make it possible to predict the weather a year in advance. Would you believe that world expert or would you prefer the conventional wisdom that it is impossible to predict with sufficient certainty a forecast more than two weeks in advance (due to the chaotic nature of weather changes)?

  5. to the skeptic. Ray Kurzweil thinks exactly the opposite of you. In his estimation, the reading of the human mind, including his memories, his overall personality, and his reprogramming for the needs of copying or upgrading or any other need, are things that will happen in this century.
    Since his claim is backed up by extensive actions during his own life, and well reasoned in his latest book, I tend to accept his position over yours

  6. "Perhaps you can make an impression on the laymen who will be impressed by your eloquent phrasing, but it is nothing more than a false impression"

    Interesting, that's exactly what I thought of your comment.

  7. withering

    I refer here to your words that came as a response to what I wrote on January 29. I don't have time to go into details, it's very possible that I won't have time in the future either.

    What I can say right now is that I firmly stand by my assessment of the huge waste that will be in the scheme of the project (as detailed in the third paragraph of the article here).

    Anyone who claims to be able to make a directly valuable simulation of the human brain is fantasizing even if his name is Professor Idan Segev, and even if he received a lot of money to build such a simulation for the next 10 years. Any practical revelations that he will have, if at all, will not be direct but residual (what we sometimes call SPIN-OFF results). But the same discoveries can be achieved with relatively small budgets and in shorter times - if they are focused on simple problems (of the type I mentioned in my previous response).

    Regarding your claim criticizing my diagnosis of a crushing failure of past expectations of artificial intelligence. Your review is bullshit. You may be able to create an impression on laymen who will be impressed by your eloquent phrasing, but it is nothing more than a false impression. Artificial intelligence was raised about 50 years ago as a real possibility, the pretense being that it was possible to simulate human intelligence beyond low functions (I mentioned some low functions as if in my response from January 29 when I mentioned robots for housework).

    It turns out that all the efforts they invested in the aforementioned 50 years raised clay, moved only a few millimeters (for example a chess machine, or an artificial pilot), what low functions (!!) that succeeded only after investing large amounts of money. Not only that, even robots with low functions of the type I mentioned in my response from January 29 have not yet been built, which proves how far we are from real solutions in artificial intelligence. In your eyes, this crushing failure of the pretensions of artificial intelligence proves nothing. Well, apparently you can't draw conclusions and prefer to continue basking in fantasies.

    See more of what Yaron wrote in the responses to this article, also see what Ehud said in his response to another article (can't remember where). They are quite close in spirit to what I said here (according to my memory - Ehud talked about the fact that good mathematical models only exist for very limited systems such as physics, regarding biological systems they are not effective).

    I could add more but I don't have time. Sorry if I have wording mistakes here and there.

  8. There is a trace of me, I try to follow you but I don't really succeed, bottom line what is your claim?

    It is true that a person (like any other organism) emits radiation of various types and frequencies while he is alive, let's say that this radiation does not dissipate and fade away, and let's say that it would not be swallowed up in a short time by all the background noise around, and let's say that it will be possible to decipher it and know a lot about Ben in 1000 years from now Adam while he was alive:

    What did he look like (light waves), what did he think (electromagnetic radiation from the brain), what did he say (sound waves) …… etc., well and…. ?

    So you will be able to know almost anything about him regarding the time he was alive, what about his death and beyond? After all, from the moment the body dies and decomposes in the ground, it obviously stops emitting all these radiations, nothing can be deciphered about it from that point on.

    do we agree

  9. Someone, I wasn't talking about the soul, nor do I care what anyone thought,
    Gilad, I didn't get involved in anything, and I have no interest in any mystical, mythical, religious, magical type. I simply pointed out something that in my opinion, even if it has not been clarified so far, must exist, and it does not seem to me that your words refuted my words. The fact that electromagnetic radiation is emitted from the organism, and therefore has chances of survival for a long time, which is necessary to refute in order to refute my words.
    Camilla, not only heat radiation is emitted from the organism. Regarding the information that can be extracted from it, it is useful to briefly reconstruct the development of information extraction from the radiation of the stars: in the distant past - only light, and today also animal properties of the stars, their exact orbits, the orbits of their satellites, physical processes occurring in them, and more. What it will be possible to derive from the weak radiation of the organism I cannot say, but it seems to me that we are all certain that in a hundred years the technology that will be found is impossible to guess.

  10. Yazah

    The information that can be derived from the radiation emitted by an organism is mainly its general temperature and perhaps some information about the main chemical components it contains. This is excellent information especially for thermal photography and maybe you can tell who has a high fever this way and then get a distance from him before you get close and get infected by him, but I don't think that's what you meant, right? In any case, the human brain is a rather poor tool for detecting such radiation because most of it is emitted in the infrared range, so this radiation does not even reach the brain through the known sensors we have (eyes, etc.). You can of course use your imagination and suggest that maybe we have a sensory organ that we have not yet discovered and that detects radiation at these wavelengths, but this would be a very, very unlikely suggestion in light of the vast knowledge we have about the sensing ability of organisms in general and humans in particular.

    It would be good if you try to answer individually the questions Gilad asked you in his response above.

  11. There is memory after death,
    I don't understand why you get in trouble.
    To leave very reliable electromagnetic records of your existence here, all you have to do is take pictures in still images, video, comment on Facebook, and write all sorts of things on other virtual websites.
    Oh, actually I guess you already do 🙂

  12. "To know what that person thought after his death"

    I wanted to know after his death what he thought, while he was alive.

    You will also have to find a way to transfer the sensitive sensor to a distant galaxy faster than the speed of light in order to have time to receive the signals (whose speed is the speed of light) that came out of that person's mind while he was still alive.

  13. I read, and I still don't understand how it has to do with the soul?

    The brain emits electromagnetic radiation at such a low intensity (thousands of millivolts) that only devices that are close to the skull are able to receive it, after which it spreads evenly (symmetrically) in all directions so that after a few meters it is completely mixed with the background noise and cannot be used.

    So let's say and it will be possible (and this is not only in theory, there are studies that have already come close to this) to translate this radiation into the thoughts that person thinks, how can you take advantage of this after his death?

    Let's say you find a way to build a super-sensitive sensor that is able to pick up this radiation (which travels at the speed of light) in some distant galaxy, and know what that person thought after his death.

    Well? Then ?

    And what about the soul?

  14. For Gilead, for someone, not the dry bones, but the organism in his life. This radiation may be preserved. I am not proposing a scientific theory, but mentioning an implication of the electromagnetic theory. Every atom produces it, and every body. We have been perceiving it since the Big Bang in various forms, from vast distances. The question is whether this radiation of an organism can be perceived as a representation of the body or as representations of its components. What is Rader based on if not this principle? Perhaps if there are more sensitive devices, the detection of organisms' radiation in their lifetime and after their lifetime will also be possible. I don't assume that the shovel radiation produces thoughts, but that it exists, and in my opinion it necessarily exists. The information contained in it is dependent on the receiver's ability to decipher it. Perhaps the human brain is the sensitive device. The example of radio transmissions fits the matter, because they do not stop existing, if there are devices in space they will be able to receive some of them.

  15. Remember me? What is the connection ? It is true that the body emits electromagnetic radiation (as a result of the electrical activity in the brain for example, or the action of the muscles) but what is the connection between this and consciousness or thoughts that can continue to exist even when the body dies?

    It's like claiming that because a local radio station transmits through its antennas electromagnetic radiation (music, news...) it will continue to function and create communication outside even after the station building is destroyed and becomes a pile of ruins.

    I'll leave you with theoretical explanations, where we'll talk about proofs for a moment. There are people who claim that they communicate every day with the souls of people who have died, it is interesting that they never manage to get specific information from the souls about an object that is placed behind a curtain in the same room, or to provide concrete information about something that only those who know them know.

  16. Hello "there is a memory after death",
    I did not understand what you mean by "integrative electromagnetic radiation".
    Exactly what electromagnetic radiation would you expect dry bones to emit? How does this transmission take place?
    What information exactly do you think will be embodied in this radiation?
    Do you have any example of a similar mechanism in the known world?

  17. I don't know what a soul is, but surely there is a memory after death. The corpse can be preserved for thousands of years as an organic material or billions of years as a fossil, while the electromagnetic radiation produced by any organism will only be absorbed if there is an absorbing factor in its path. The question is whether this radiation is integrative, so it is possible to perceive it as a representation of who was. I believe it is integrative. I've read some of Gilad's beautiful articles in the previous references, and as far as I've come they ignore the electromagnetic possibility.

  18. Skeptic, in addition to the correct and wise things Camila said, I suggest you watch Henry Markram's lecture, a link to which is given in Uri's first response, where it is detailed exactly what the project will involve and what should come out of it.

    Watch, then speak.

  19. skeptic,
    Have you read the detailed research proposals submitted by the groups of scientists that won the research funds? Are you deeply familiar with the research activities of those researchers who have already demonstrated fascinating discoveries in their field? Or are you just busy prophesying like the last of the fools, with absolute certainty that it is not clear on what basis it is based, that nothing significant came out of these studies?
    Fortunately for all of us, other people appreciate what the contribution of these studies will be. It's lucky for all of us, because people like you will probably also benefit from the history of those studies, judging by the history of technological developments based on discoveries from scientific studies. I would not be at all surprised if the insights discovered during the research would be applied in a variety of fields and beyond the relatively limited goals for which the funds were requested.
    I suggest to all the "skeptics" that they wait a little before making predictions and that if they are already tickled by the spirit of prophecy then that they first read a little about the developments in these fields in the last decade, preferably in the professional rather than the popular literature, so that they don't blurt out incredibly stupid sentences like: "Ten years of fantasizing about the subject without Results.”

  20. According to what is written here, it is not at all clear what the project will deal with. Everyone sees the field of occupation from the reflections of his heart.

    It seems to me that a lot of money will be poured here without results. The money will be taken by scientists with elbows strong enough to push to the top of the queue for allowances, usually elbowing is no guarantee of valuable results.

    Those who expect revelations about artificial intelligence here will be disappointed. Decades of fantasizing about it without results. Until I see robots doing Sisyphean housework, cleaning, cooking, taking care of children, etc., I will not be convinced that there is any point in spending money on goals
    A billion times more complicated, it was said.

    There is a point in brain research but not in unrealistic high goals. For example, it makes sense to better understand brain defects, including neurological diseases, which severely affect a significant percentage of people. For example: schizophrenia, polar mood, attention deficit disorder.

  21. Speaking of optical illusions, a small experiment: take 2 stereoscopic photos (see -
    But now, instead of just watching them, just turn between them, put the right one on the left and the left one on the right,
    (When the right eye sees the right image and the left eye the left image - the face must be brought closer to the images to the point of squinting, and slowly move away from the images, the squinting must be maintained until the images 'intersect'..)

    It's very strange what can be 'seen'..

  22. Those who are interested in knowing that it is impossible to know what consciousness is, are welcome to listen (and break your head) the reasonable doubt 107-108-112
    enjoy (and answer)

  23. 'One more', there is a possibility that is not sure to be patently far-fetched, especially today with brain research, that in the near future real artificial intelligence will appear. Professor Idan Segev says so. It may be a bloated pretense as of today, but are you 'open' enough to this possibility?

  24. Another one (you chose a catchy name),
    There is something common to all the things on your list that there is a willingness to open your mind about (at least on the part of science) for the simple reason that they are at least anchored in theoretical knowledge which predicts that the things are possible. You have made a very wrong link between all of these and between a subject whose definitions of even the basic concepts are lacking to the point of non-existence. Already the identity you made between consciousness and soul is probably completely wrong even without a sufficient definition of these terms (just by comparing the clouds of associations and the uses that are made of these concepts). And regarding "near-death experiences", it is your full right to ignore all the research and facts, including the ability to evoke experiences as mentioned above under controlled conditions, all of which point to an organic source for these types of experiences, and that is probably all they are - experiences, just as an optical illusion is an experience that appears to us Completely real, and not only for us but for most people who are in the same conditions. The fact that many of us have a similar experience and interpret it in a similar way does not mean that this interpretation is the correct interpretation, just like the fact that most of us are mistaken in interpreting optical illusions. This innocence of opinion is all due to a similar organic structure by which we "fall" in the same bin. An orderly and controlled examination is needed to check whether the interpretation represents what is happening in the objective reality or whether it is only a personal feeling and interpretation that does not represent well what is really happening. I will understand you if you find it very difficult to free yourself from your sense of security in your interpretation because you both felt it yourself and there are other people around you who confirm that they also felt exactly the same, but remember that this is exactly the situation that exists with optical illusions, even there who sees the illusion (many times even that he knows it is an illusion) is still completely certain that he is experiencing a certain thing when it can be easily shown that the external reality is completely different and that there is a simple explanation related to the organic structure of the sense organ or of our brain, which fails in this special situation even though in most situations it acts "correctly" and perceives reality approximately Good.

    When they ask you to open your head, you have to be careful not to open your head to such an extent that the mind slips and falls out. How will you know how much to open your mind? Here is a good start:

  25. According to the theory that consciousness/soul is a spiritual element, then the brain is the abode or control room if you will, of our consciousness, and the head should not be hollow
    Admittedly not scientific, but this possibility needs to be considered, in light of the psychophysical problem

  26. There is no real evidence of the existence of a soul except for stories, there is no sense in the matter, if a "soul" can carry out thought processes without physical matter why do we even need a brain? We could live with a hollow head.

  27. Consciousness is the soul, and is not a by-product of brain activity... (my opinion only)

    Before the readers of the science cast an automatic veto
    Allow yourself to open your mind a little to the same extent that you are open to listening to the theory of parallel universes, encyclicals, superposition, the duality of the wave particle (and dependence on the tester) in quantum mechanics, time travel programming, and a host of fascinating theories, which do not fit intuitively at all with our Newtonian logic, and so on. "As we listen and dive into the depth of the phenomenon/theory, what I have listed here is apparently bordering on the delusional, no less than the amounts of "testimony" of people like you and me, who have experienced an NDE

    Record an NDE on YouTube and see that it's not a rare phenomenon like the alien stories, it's right here, right next to us, hundreds of thousands of healthy people subjectively telling their story

    We just have to be like an investigator or a judge in court,
    The judge listens to the testimonies and decides whether to swallow the testimony, or vomit it up on the grounds that the witness is lying,

    I swallowed hard


  28. As someone who deals with artificial intelligence (AI) I doubt that the realization of the dream is close. Replication of a known structure (neurons) a large amount of times without an understanding of thought processes beyond what is known today will achieve advanced movement, vision, hearing capabilities but not necessarily consciousness.

    In the distant future there is no telling when we will be able to achieve artificial consciousness, all this if science is legitimate then.
    It seems to me that now all the predictions that it is on the doorstep are a bit exaggerated.

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