Could we build a true simulation model of the Human Brain?

We have discovered and invented lots of things in computing since Charles Babbage invented his Analytical Engine and Ada Lovelace started programming it. Our quest has been to mimic the human brain and its functions. There are many areas we have gone way past the abilities of the human brain – fast numerical computations, massive data analysis like in internet search, etc.

But we still dont understand how the human brain works.

Lately we have started understanding the fundamental biology, chemistry & function of the neuron (fundamental unit of the brain) much better than ever before.
         – We are able to map the complete neuron structures of small insects
         – We are able to tap into the ends of neurons, sense their signals (audio) and make them control machines (bionic hands)
         – For many decades now, we have used the “postulated” principles of the brain in Neural Networks and Genetic Algorithms. We have even attempted to replicate the human brain as a software model for Machine Vision applications.

Now that we begin to understand the “real” function of the neurons and their connections, the question is:
       – Could we build a true software model of the human brain, provide it some “sensory input” and let it freely “think”
       – Not to solve a specific application. Not to control any robots. Not
       – But just to understand how our own brains “think”

Why would we want to do this? We’ll “know better” once we actually build it. 🙂