Lab-Grown Brains Could Become Sentient


A thought-provoking new article poses some hugely important scientific questions: Could brain cells initiated and grown in a lab become sentient?

In Nature, reporter Sara Reardon explains a specific area where the debate over sentience gets very heated, very quickly. In August 2019, Alysson Muotri, a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Cellular & Molecular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, published a paper with colleagues in Cell Stem Cell on the “creation of human brain organoids that produced coordinated waves of activity, resembling those seen in premature babies.”

And those waves, Reardon reports, continued for months before Muotri and his team ended the experiment.

That means the cells Muotri’s group was making in the lab were exhibiting the beginnings of being a “cognitive system” that might end up “sensing and responding to its world” in some way.

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