It sounds like the plot of a terrifying sci-fi movie: a team of researchers from Google has built a neural network of computers to mimic the workings of an actual, biological brain, BBC News reported.
This "computer brain" is made up of 16,000 connected computer processors and was built in the Google X laboratory, the New York Times reported. The researchers then turned the brain loose on the internet to see how it would react. Luckily, the "computer brain" didn't try to take over our society or turn other internet users into robot-slaves. In fact, the brain seems rather unambitious: it just wanted to look for cat videos.
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However, the computer brain's apparent obsession with cat videos is more complex than it seems. Researchers exposed the brain simulation to 10 million randomly selected YouTube video thumbnails, Wired Magazine reported. Through the course of the experiment, the brain unexpectedly began to recognize pictures of cats using a "deep learning" algorithm.
"We never told it during the training, 'This is a cat,'" Google fellow Jeff Dean told the Times. "It basically invented the concept of a cat." Google scientists said they hope that the research project will help them improve Google's image searching abilities, speech recognition and machine language translation, the Times reported.