Friday, 28 April 2017

Neuralink our Brains?

  As I was just dropping off to sleep the other night, listening to the audio version of the highlights of the Wall Street Journal, (it often puts me to sleep quite quickly) I was jolted into full consciousness by an item about Facebook's 'Building 8'.   Building8, in case you have never heard of it, is a secret project team Facebook has put together.  It is a very science - fictiony sort of cabal with numerous esoteric projects, many to do with developing exotic hardware but the one that jolted me into wakefulness was one led by a Johns Hopkins neurologist, who had helped to develop a mind controlled prosthetic arm.  There is speculation that before long Facebook will have us 'hands-off' typing.  You'll just have to think it and voila - there it is on your screen!   It is a little frightening to an old paranoid curmudgeon like yours truly, who probably read too much science fiction in his youth.  Of course initially we will be reassured that only thoughts that we want to transfer to the screen will be accessible.  However, it won't be long before the international security services everywhere will recognize the potential and get their best brains working on it.  With much of the population 'Trudoping' it shouldn't be difficult to get them thinking out loud. 
  Once I started exploring this phenomenon with Mr. Google, it didn't take me long to find out that Facebook was not the only menace out there.  Facebook, of course, has a head start, because they have already conditioned their slaves to indiscreetly broadcast many of their intimate secrets.  Still that will make it easier for those who follow.  None other than Elon Musk.
   Mr. Musk has founded a new company, called NEURALINK,whose mission  is to link the human brain to the computer, by using micro chip devices.  Apart from restoring function in such conditions as stroke, cancer and brain  injuries of various kinds, Mr. Musk further predicts implanted devices that would enable telepathic communication between healthy individuals, as well as enabling people with brain disorders to function more efficiently.  The device to achieve these ends, he calls a 'neural lace', a concept devised by a science fiction writer.  The 'lace' integrated into the brain, could wirelessly transmit signals to external devices, much more efficient than keying in on a keyboard or even dictating.  We'd just have to think the message.  In effect, the lace directly communicates with neurons, so thoughts could be communicated in either direction.  Musk says it might even be possible to inject the neural  lace into the blood supply to the brain and establish direct contact with the cortical neurons.  Ultimately, Musk feels, if we don't seriously increase our intelligence, artificial intelligence is what will dominate the world - and where would poor humans be then, and who's going to ultimately control our brains?

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