Move over, artificial intelligence. Scientists announce a new ‘organoid intelligence’ field

Key Points:

  • Organoid intelligence involves using lab-grown brain tissues to create energy-efficient biocomputers.
  • Brain organoids have the potential to revolutionize pharmaceutical testing and provide insights into the human brain.
  • The development of organoid intelligence raises ethical concerns, and a socially responsible approach is emphasized.


A team of U.S. researchers is exploring the innovative realm of “organoid intelligence” by harnessing the power of human brain cells to create biocomputers exceeding the efficiency of supercomputers. These lab-grown brain organoids, initially developed by Dr. Thomas Hartung from skin samples, are envisioned to transform pharmaceutical testing, unravel mysteries of the human brain, and reshape computing.


Brain organoids, while not exact replicas of human brains, exhibit neural functionality akin to brains, leading to the concept of “intelligence in a dish.” Published in Frontiers in Science, the researchers’ groundbreaking plan outlines the potential of biocomputing to transcend current technological limits, bridging the gap between artificial intelligence and human cognitive capacities.


Distinct from traditional silicon computers, the human brain offers unmatched energy efficiency, vast information storage, and superior cognitive performance. Despite the computational prowess of supercomputers like Frontier, their energy consumption far surpasses the brain’s capabilities, emphasizing the need for more efficient computing models.


Organoid intelligence aims to replicate cognitive functions by enhancing brain organoids to scale and enabling bidirectional communication for real-time interaction. Ethical considerations regarding consciousness and rights of brain organoids remain pivotal, prompting a collaborative effort between researchers, ethicists, and the public to ensure ethical practices in OI development.


The potential applications of organoid intelligence in medicine are profound, offering insights into neurological conditions, drug testing, and cognitive impairment research. Brain organoids derived from patients could revolutionize personalized medicine, presenting a promising future for unraveling the complexities of human cognition and neurological disorders.


However, as the field of organoid intelligence advances, ethical dilemmas surrounding consciousness, sentience, and public acceptance necessitate careful consideration to ensure moral boundaries are upheld. The merging of human cognition and machine intelligence raises pertinent questions about societal implications and underscores the importance of ethical discourse in shaping this transformative technology.



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