The defense program DARPA is working to create an artificial brain—but what will it mean for humanity if it succeeds? The Los Alamos National Laboratory sits at the top of a mountain range in the high desert of northern New Mexico. It is a long, steep drive to get there from the capital city of Santa Fe, through the Tesuque Indian Reservation, over the Rio Grande, and into the Santa Fe National Forest. I am headed to the laboratory of Dr. Garrett T. Kenyon, whose program falls under the rubric of synthetic cognition, an attempt to build an artificial brain.

Roboticists define artificial brains as man-made machines designed to be as intelligent, self-aware and creative as humans. No such machine yet exists, but Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) scientists like Dr. Kenyon believe that, given the rapid advances in DARPA technologies, one day soon they will. There are two technologies that play key roles in advancing artificial intelligence, and they are computing, which involves machines, and neuroscience, which involves the human brain. FULL REPORT