Scientists Teach a Petri Dish Cell to Play

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Content Summary

In the content, we discuss a brain cell learning to play ping pong by itself and what discoveries this development may lead to.

Organoids are simple and primitive organs formed in a petri dish by taking one or a few pieces of our cell. Thanks to these organoids, scientists can examine the microstructure of organs and search for new treatment methods.

In fact, with the stem cell technology developed after the 2010s, human beings can even create an organ from the beginning, but our topic today is not about this. Our topic today is that a simple organoid formed from a single brain cell can learn the ping pong game much faster than artificial intelligence and can play it without errors.

If you ask me, medical developments concerning the human mind have only just begun

If you ask me, medical developments concerning the human mind have only just begun

Australian researchers from Cortical Laboratory taught a brain cell, placed in a petri dish, to play the game of ping pong in a laboratory setting. The brain cell managed to play the game flawlessly in five minutes. It takes about 90 minutes to teach the same game to artificial intelligence.

For this, the scientists placed the brain cell on the microelectrode array. To show where the ping pong ball was, he sent electrical signals to the cell depending on whether the ball was going left or right. So the brain cell fired neurons that would move the paddle to meet the ball.


In an interview with New Scientist, the researcher, Brett Kagan, likens the situation to the Matrix and states that the brain cell sees itself as a racket. He states that the virtual world feeds the brain with electrical signals sent according to movement, allowing him to learn the game and draw the pattern of how to control the paddle.

This is what an organoid looks like

This is what an organoid looks like

While we think for a moment that cells can replace AI, Kagan interrupts and explains: While organoids can learn to play, they are no better at playing games than AI.

I think the research is very striking in many ways.

While artificial intelligence needs to make 5000 rallies to learn a game, the organoid’s ability to learn it in 10 to 15 rallies is the kind that will open the door to new technological discoveries where computer science and human biology intersect.

The study, which shows that organoids and even a single brain cell can self-organize, can also be considered as a concrete example in the field of neuroscience.

Considering that a brain organoid in Dusseldorf developed a primitive light-sensitive eye structure in a period of five months and transmitted what it saw to other cells with neurons, it seems that this field will have many breakthrough developments.

When people don’t read, everything that can be found in the world has been found, we are at the limits of technology, and they think that nothing new can be found anymore. However, the more it reads, the more it believes that we are only at the beginning of the road, and that despite the political dystopias, science will shape our future with great prosperity.


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