In a step towards creating intelligent cyborg brains, Cortical Labs in Melbourne have trained lab-grown brain organoids to play a classic 1970s video game. The team explains how the brain cells live in a Matrix-like, simulated world, where all they know is Pong.
And there’s more AI news, as the team digs into DeepMind’s invention of a ‘search engine’ style supercomputer, one much smaller than its competitors. The team discusses sleep, and how manipulating the hypnagogic phase of sleep can lead to bursts of creativity. As the holiday season approaches, Omicron shows no signs of letting up, so the team brings you up to speed on what we know so far. And they bring two bird related stories, one about the superpowers of zebra finches and the other about the link between personality types and feather colours in turkeys. On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page, Clare Wilson and Matt Sparkes. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.