I have created a world where the main character is a cyborg, a petri dish with neurons inside a machine, how smart could a neuron culture in a petri dish be?

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    $\begingroup$ Hi and welcome to Worldbuilding! There are a lot of details missing in this question. What do you mean by "smart"? If the machine is a computer running a neural net using the neurons as a wetware co-processor, it could appear very intelligent, but just be a chatbot. If there's true AI in your setting, it could legitimately be intelligent and the neurons could just be a legal requirement. How big is the "petri dish"? Neurons cannot be independently cultured on agar, so presumably this is a very specific petri dish - about which we would also need to know the details. $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Aug 31, 2022 at 18:52
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    $\begingroup$ (Additionally, the use of the xenobiology tag suggests there's something else we should know about the cells involved?) $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Aug 31, 2022 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Brains have a complex three-dimensional structure for a reason. Without the inner parts connecting with the outer ones for example, there wouldn't be memory as we know it. $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2022 at 19:44
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    $\begingroup$ @AngryMuppet The brain's 3d structure is mostly to allow it to fit inside the skull. The actual processing of the brain is relatively two dimensional. For example, the neocortex can be thought of as a multi-layer "sheet" with very little intraplanar connections. $\endgroup$
    – stix
    Aug 31, 2022 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ True, maybe with the computer-part supplementing that, you don't need the support structures. @stix $\endgroup$ Aug 31, 2022 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


Really crushingly stupid.

Because once you have neurons in a petri dish you can make them what you want to be. And super smart cyborgs smirking their super smart smarmy smirks has been done enough, I think. I am tired of them. ALso tired of the fact that they always have super strength and are often pretty hot.

This will be a really dumb cyborg. Not able to learn without a manipulation of the cells and addition of some new ones, which it gets from chickens. Running pretty much on reflexes. Every living being is smarter than this cyborg. Even the chickens (it keeps some handy for the above reason) outsmart the cyborg and steal its cyborg food pellets. It must have living things tell it what to do. Chickens should not be included among those living things that can tell it what to do but it has not learned that yet.

The cyborg can still be pretty hot but it looks silly because it struggles to put on clothes and wears a cyborg mumu. The cyborg mumu can be shiny silver, because this is the future.


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