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"The point sticks in your head: physics rules. Virtue does not triumph unless the physics allows it."
- Larry Niven

Artificial Brain  
  A non-organic device structured like a human brain.  

This is a very early use of this idea. Note that the "brain-stuff" is structured like the brain.

No doubt it was a startling proposition, to construct an artificial brain that would possess consciousness, memory, reasoning power...

...Detmold had attacked the problem from a different standpoint. It was his theory that the sensations of the nervous system are flashed to the brain as electric currents, or vibrations, and that it was the action of these vibratory currents on the brain-stuff that caused consciousness and thought. Thus, instead of trying to make simple, living cells and from them work up the complicated structure of the brain, he had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless, yet whose atomic structure he claimed was analogous to the atomic structure of a living brain. He had then applied countless different electrical vibrations to this metallic brain-stuff, and finally announced that under vibrations of certain frequencies the organ had showed faint signs of consciousness.

From The Metal Giants, by Edmond Hamilton.
Published by Weird Tales in 1926
Additional resources -

Here are more details:

...he turned to a table on which rested the artificial brain.

It was very simple in appearance, resembling an egg of black metal, some ten inches in length. Inset in its jupper surface was a small lens of glass, and leading into each end of the thing were three wires, which were connected to a complicated tangle of electrical apparatus on the other side of the room.

Compare to the neuristor brain from Home is the Hangman, a 1976 novella by Roger Zelazny, and of course neuristors from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the 1966 novel by Robert Heinlein.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Metal Giants
  More Ideas and Technology by Edmond Hamilton
  Tech news articles related to The Metal Giants
  Tech news articles related to works by Edmond Hamilton

Artificial Brain-related news articles:
  - 'Neuristor' Acts Like Your Brain's Neurons
  - Nanowire Memristor Networks Form 'Brains'
  - First Commercial Artificial Brain?

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