A leading scientist has claimed that an artificial brain could be built within a decade.
Henry Makram, director of research group the Blue Brain Project, has already created parts of a fully functioning rat brain and hopes to build a human one in the next 10 years.
He told the TED Global conference in Oxford that a synthetic human brain would be of particular use finding treatments for mental illnesses, reports the BBC.
The Blue Brain Project, launched in 2005, aims to engineer a brain from laboratory data, with a software model of "tens of thousands of neurons" reconstructing the brain's circuitry and processes.
"It's a new brain," he explained. "The mammals needed it because they had to cope with parenthood, social interactions complex cognitive functions.
"It was so successful an evolution from mouse to man it expanded about a thousand fold in terms of the numbers of units to produce this almost frightening organ."