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Buzz Skyline is embarrassed to be my boss.


Eshel Ben-Jacob and Itay Baruchi
Were working in a laboratory out in Tel Aviv
They were trying to accomplish what no one else could do
And that is teach a neural network something new.

A neural network is some brain cells, attached to a plate
The neurons all connect ‘cause that’s their natural state
They fire in a pattern, electrically
It’s almost like there’s neural choreography.

The neurons have their first memory, a very simple one
Could we record another? It had never been done
Eshel and Itay thought the challenge might be fun
And so this experiment begun.

There are two kinds of neurons inside of every brain
If they didn’t work together, well, you’d probably be insane
The excitatory neurons, they always want to act
The inhibitory neurons say, “hey man, stop that.”

Two methods of training that work for sure
Is to reward a good deed and punish bad behavior
Experimenters had tried both methods and failed
The common wisdom was to no avail.

Neurons make up their own memory, if you just let them be
They’ll fire in a new pattern and this quality is key
A new memory can arise from network creativity
So if you want to teach the neurons set them free.

Itay added stimulant to a point in the network
And if something’s stimulated, you’d think it goes berserk
But to inhibitory neurons, the stuff was like a gag
Now they’re silent, so they aren’t such a drag.

The excitatory neurons, they started to jam
From that point, a new firing pattern began
And even when the stimulant diffused away
The new and old memories stayed.

The network has two memories, they go for three
A second round of stimulant sets neurons free
Another firing pattern busts onto the scene
Without disrupting the others, the method is clean.

Three different memories, existing in a tray
They fire all night and they fire all day
For forty hours those three firing patterns replay
And never do they fall to disarray

So from this experiment, our brains it seems
Form new memories by chemical means
And as an application, wouldn’t it be hip
If your computer used a living chip?


  1. It is a great video.
    I was impressed that they kept the science clear and correct.


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