10 Year Documentary To Follow Bluebrain Project (Video)

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bluebrain year one

Hutton explores what Markram has done, is doing, and will do in Bluebrain | Year One. The filmmaker plans on following the BBP for ten years.

Henry Markram isn’t afraid to make optimistic predictions for his enormous endeavor to map and model the human brain. Noah Hutton isn’t afraid to film him doing it. The budding filmmaker has recently released a mini-documentary on the first year of IBM’s Bluebrain Project. The BBP is a mammoth undertaking but Markram has repeatedly claimed that his team will finish in a decade. That’s a bold claim considering the complexity of interactions that must be understood from the molecular to the intracellular level in order to accurately simulate a brain in a computer. Yet in Hutton’s Bluebrain |Year One we see Markram’s resolve, as well as some of the work that’s already been completed. As the BBP races towards its 10 year deadline, Hutton is on track to record all of its successes and pitfalls in his own 10 year documentary. Which is the bigger endeavor? Check out Bluebrain | Year One below and decide for yourself.

There are reasons to be hopeful that Markram and others in the field will make reasonable progress in modelling the brain by 2020. As he points out in the video, modeling a single neuron used to be a PhD thesis in and of itself. Now, he can create thousands at the push of a button.  As Markram mentions, we don’t have a complete understanding of how many drugs or diseases affect the brain. Nor do we fully understand the nature of memories. A brain simulator could be profoundly helpful as we care for our aging minds. Those minds have at least a decade to wait before we know if Markram and the BBP will be successful in transforming the field of neurology into a computer problem. It’s too early to tell if it will work, but it’s not too early to watch them try to do it. Enjoy the film:



[screen capture and video credit: Noah Hutton, Couple 3 Films]

Discussion — 9 Responses

  • eablair February 12, 2010 on 10:36 pm

    Interesting, and I really wanted to watch but I had to bail out. That horrible, repetitive and LOUD “music” bed all but drowned out the voices and it was driving me frantic.

    • doc3osh eablair July 9, 2010 on 10:21 am

      seriously– why the “music” torture test?? There is no chance I could sit through a whole movie of those dissonant chords hammering my ears. Ridiculous choice. I think there was a really interesting topic underneath the wall of sonic pain though.

  • Dave February 13, 2010 on 1:04 am

    Pretty exciting stuff. As someone who follows 'singularity projects', this has to be among the top 2 or 3 projects in the whole world. Makes you wish that smarty-pants like Markram had an unlimited budget

  • Rey0208 February 13, 2010 on 4:30 am

    they should make a documentary about similar kind of work being done in Toronto by Dr. AR McIntosh at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute (http://bit.ly/cLU3fQ)… while Markram is taking a more bottom-up approach, McIntosh is taking a more top-down approach… which is nicer for people like me who consider themselves more cognitive scientists than neuroscientists

  • Brain 3000 February 21, 2010 on 6:09 pm
  • Eleanor February 23, 2010 on 12:44 am

    most annoying music i've ever heard throughout this whole video!!! made it so hard to concentrate on what they were saying!

  • Rick February 23, 2010 on 1:59 am

    I quite liked the music… thought it was very appropriate for the tangled brain visuals near the end!

  • doc3osh July 9, 2010 on 2:21 pm

    seriously– why the “music” torture test?? There is no chance I could sit through a whole movie of those dissonant chords hammering my ears. Ridiculous choice. I think there was a really interesting topic underneath the wall of sonic pain though.

  • anyman75 August 13, 2011 on 4:11 pm

    I believe this is the craziest (in the good sense) project I’ve ever heard of. It makes “going to the moon” look like caveman technology.
    I hope to see it end with success within the period of my lifetime.
    This will be the ultimate answer for religious idiots talking about soul and God’s creation and all those other bullshit.
    Although Markham tries to explain their goal in humble words (like a new PET scan machine), they will be creating consciousness, a real person, not just a software program.
    Wishing them all the good luck…