Artificial brain
Artificial brain is a term commonly used in the media to describe research that aims to develop software
Computer software
Computer software, or just software, is a collection of computer programs and related data that provide the instructions for telling a computer what to do and how to do it....

 and hardware
Computer hardware
Personal computer hardware are component devices which are typically installed into or peripheral to a computer case to create a personal computer upon which system software is installed including a firmware interface such as a BIOS and an operating system which supports application software that...

 with cognitive abilities similar to the animal or human brain
Human brain
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but is over three times larger than the brain of a typical mammal with an equivalent body size. Estimates for the number of neurons in the human brain range from 80 to 120 billion...

. Research investigating "artificial brains" plays three important roles in science:
  1. An ongoing attempt by neuroscientists
    Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, it deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue,...

     to understand how the human brain works, known as cognitive neuroscience
    Cognitive neuroscience
    Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by the brain...

  2. A thought experiment in the philosophy of artificial intelligence
    Philosophy of artificial intelligence
    The philosophy of artificial intelligence attempts to answer such questions as:* Can a machine act intelligently? Can it solve any problem that a person would solve by thinking?...

    , demonstrating that it is possible, in theory, to create a machine that has all the capabilities of a human being.
  3. A serious long term project to create machines capable of general intelligent action or Artificial General Intelligence.