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Intel’s New Brain-Like Chip Can Adapt to New Jobs

September 26, 2017

The chipmaker has unveiled a prototype processor called Loihi that’s loosely based on the human brain. The so-called neuromporphic chip is the firm's latest effort to use digital circuits to recreate the brain’s electronic spikes, allowing the device to process data but also adjust its connections and adapt to new tasks.

Wired explains that Loihi, which takes its name from an underwater volcano in Hawaii, performs some jobs, like interpreting video, using a thousandth of the energy of a regular chip. That could allow future mobile devices like smartphones to crunch bigger AI problems without rapidly draining a battery.

But for now, the technology remains in its infancy. While Intel has been working on chips like these for years—and you can find out more about such neuromorphic processors in our primer on the tech—they're still some way from becoming a consumer reality. A case in point: Intel will allow a select band of a researchers to experiment with the full version of this device for the first time next year.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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