Can Brain Science Help Advance Artificial Intelligence?

Event Date: 
November 29, 2023
Dmitri "Mitya" Chklovskii

Contemporary Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, like ChatGPT, are powered by artificial neural networks (ANNs). Originally coined "neural" because they were inspired by the human brain, these ANNs are founded on the century-old understanding of brain function. As brain research has progressed, it's become evident that ANNs bear only a superficial resemblance to their biological counterparts. This presents an intriguing avenue: can we design AI that's more akin to our brains, leading to more intelligent, energy-efficient, and resilient systems? My team is venturing down this path, aiming to reverse-engineer the algorithmic principles of biological networks. Our multifaceted approach encompasses mapping the brain's structure, monitoring its function, and constructing a Physics-like theoretical framework. Not only does this endeavor hold the promise of transforming AI, but it could also unlock invaluable insights into treating various brain disorders.


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Speaker Bio: 
Dmitri "Mitya" Chklovskii serves as a Group Leader within the Simons Foundation's Flatiron Institute and holds a position as a Research Associate Professor at the NYU Medical Center. Dr. Chklovskii’s academic journey began with a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1994 after which he was awarded a prestigious Junior Fellowship at the Harvard Society of Fellows. His career trajectory took a sharp turn at the Salk Institute where he transitioned to theoretical neuroscience. Subsequently he served as Assistant and Associate Professor at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory between 1999 and 2007. His passion to understand brain structure took him to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm as a Group Leader. There, his team achieved a milestone by reconstructing the most comprehensive connectome available at the time. Relocating to New York in 2014, Dr. Chklovskii and his team continue to reverse engineer the brain’s structure and function. They are constructing a theoretical framework, with the dual goals of advancing brain-inspired artificial intelligence and designing treatments for brain disorders.