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At the Lab Episode 11: AI brainiacs

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NeuroAI seeks to unite neuroscientists and computer scientists worldwide. How does Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s NeuroAI Scholars Program foster this collaboration? In our latest episode of At the Lab, CSHL NeuroAI Scholar Kyle Daruwalla gives us the inside scoop.


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Sara Giarnieri: You’re now At the Lab with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. My name is Sara Giarnieri, and this week At the Lab, AI brainiacs.

SG: There’s a symbiotic relationship between neuroscientists and computer scientists worldwide. These specialists come together in a field called neuroAI. Their collaboration both aids our understanding of brain function and improves artificial intelligence.

SG: CSHL’s NeuroAI Scholars Program recruits young AI experts to work with neuroscientists on campus. Last summer, Long Island locals heard the inside scoop from one of the program’s recent participants.

SG: NeuroAI Scholar Kyle Daruwalla discussed his work during Cocktails & Chromosomes, our monthly science talk held at Industry Bar in Huntington, New York.

{A drink is poured.}

Kyle Daruwalla: All the great neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor—they provide the insights from biology that I use for my research, and I collaborate with them. And what I bring to the table is my background in computer science.

SG: Daruwalla trains AI based on how the human brain learns and adapts. Like the human brain, AI learns by making connections. But it doesn’t have the same neural patterns that make this process so efficient for us.

KD: Our brains are made up of cells, full neurons, and these neurons are connected to each other. And they’re not just connected to each other randomly. They have a very specific pattern to those connections. They’re very structured. And this is why our brains are able to do all the things we’re able to.

SG: The Human Genome Project took 13 years to complete because human biology is so complex. The same could be said for human intelligence—the product of millions of years of evolution. Now, scientists are looking for a way to help artificial intelligence catch up.

KD: We’re trying to port this idea of a genome—an idea of having a structured pattern as soon as we start out—to AI models.

SG: Herein lies the promise of neuroAI. With the help of neuroscience, AI could become easier to train and more energy efficient. That would make it more accessible for everyone. In turn, AI could teach us more about the human brain. This could lead to a better understanding of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, depression, autism, and more.

SG: Thanks for listening to At the Lab. Please subscribe to get another fascinating story like this delivered each week. You can also find us online at cshl.edu. For Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, I’m Sara Giarnieri, and I’ll see you next time At the Lab.