Neuromorphic chips should be well-suited to situations where information and demands are fluid, energy consumption has to be low and adaptation to novel situations is required. But as yet there is no “killer app” for early brain-like computing that might demonstrate its potential, and no agreed universal standard for benchmarking how well the field, or an individual device, is progressing. This is going to be a crucial part of the research effort, since it will provide conceptual understanding, incentive for progress and rewards for investment and innovation.14
It is important for the field to begin demonstrations of its potential for fast, low power processing.15 However, it is also important not to try to compete with deep learning algorithms of artificial intelligence research programmes, which have received significant input on extremely specific capabilities, such as machine vision. There are many other sensory modalities, such as hearing and touch, that will be technologically important, and just as important is the ability to do fast, real-time, self-contained sensory processing, rather than rely on connections with a cloud-based data centre.