Technology Biocomputer gets to the heart of the matter

Biocomputer gets to the heart of the matter

Ever tried asking Siri for dating advice?

For all the hype, artificial intelligence still can’t answer the truly important questions in life.

But what if computers could incorporate human nature, rather than just imitate it?

That’s the dream of Queensland University of Technology’s Associate Professor Dan Nicolau whose work involves merging artificial intelligence with natural processes and materials.

He believes such machines may be able to do what current computers cannot: undertake multiple, complex calculations in parallel with other tasks. In other words, multitask.

And he’s done just that. Dr Nicolau has created a “half-living” biocomputer, assembled partially from living things.

“Our microscopic bio-computer has proved it is capable of working in parallel to do a hard problem, like a millipede moving all its legs at the same time,” he said.

“Maybe computers need to have some of the design and hardware of living things to reinvent themselves and help us in the challenges of our time,” he says.

“That’s the hope for bio-computation.”

According to Dr Nicolau, such multitasking is a fundamental human trait that allows us to live with uncertainty and answer tricky questions – like who to marry – without precise data.

Research to advance technology is only possible if we support our universities. To keep Australia clever, please sign the petition below.