How does a neural network become a brain? While developmental neurobiologists investigate how genes encode the growth of intricate connectivity as a basis for learning, computer scientists design artificial neural networks with random connectivity prior to learning. Are genetic information and developmental growth really not necessary to achieve artificial intelligence? To answer this question, Peter Robin Hiesinger explores how developmental growth unfolds genetic information to produce biological intelligence and how shortcuts to this process may affect artificial intelligence. The Self-Assembling Brain tells the stories of historical and modern approaches taken by the scientists pursuing answers to the question of what information is necessary to turn a neural network into a brain.