Brain-hacking? Kind of a Frankenstein term.
The human brain has 100 billion neurons firing away all day and night. Can they be channeled, stimulated or directed in some way that benefits society? No surprise, here comes Elon Musk and Neuralink. His and four other companies are all approaching the idea that human-machine interface can change everything — especially for those suffering neurological disorders, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, these could be life transforming.
Here is Elon’s mission statement (and this site is a one-pager!): Neuralink is developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers. Initially, the Brain Computer Interface (BCIs) will be used for medical research, but the ultimate goal is to prevent humans from becoming obsolete, by enabling people to merge with artificial intelligence — perhaps even avoiding death.
Sounds amazing…but what does it really mean? Basically, why is this hot?
First, because they all seem to be heading towards an even more grandiose vision; avoiding death. No joke.
Second, the four companies means the competition is real:
FACEBOOK: a few weeks after Neuralink was launched, they announced an initiative to “let people type their thoughts”. Imagine a child with autism, someone with a mental disorder, so many sufferers, being able to “speak” this way. The news reports say it will take two years for a prototype medical implant and is being developed in their top secret Building 8 facility.
KERNEL: Kernel plans to build a flexible platform for recording and stimulating neurons, with the goal of treating diseases such as depression and Alzheimer’s.
EMOTIV: (Their home page says it all):
EMOTIV Mental Commands and SDKs makes our technology an highly effective Brain-Computer-Interface and can put EMOTIV at the center of the Internet of Things and the ability to control the world around you.
DARPA: Ok, the government, but still, they are investing in several companies to develop a device that will record 1 million neurons and stimulate 100,000 in the brain. DARPA wants it the size of a nickel. Since they ‘invented’ the Internet, I’d say they have a good chance of pulling it off.
I encourage you all to visit their web sites and learn more. After all, can brain hacking help us live forever? Or is it hype?