Elon Musk says a brain-machine interface is coming soon. The serial entrepreneur took to Twitter to explain how is startup Neuralink were close to announcing the first results of their research into an interface to connect humans brains worth computer hardware.
Coming soon— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 21, 2019
The Neuralink company was set up by musk in 2016 but has remained relatively quiet since its inception. Elon Musk has been vocal about the possibly deadly consequences of artificial intelligence and has said that humans will need to augment their brains in order to live alongside hyper-intelligent AI.
Musk doesn't want to submit to AI
At a tech conference in 2016, Musk said humans might become house cats to machines enabled with AI. “I don’t love the idea of being a house cat, but what’s the solution?” he said. “I think one of the solutions that seems maybe the best is to add an AI layer.”
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Neurolink published an academic paper in 2015 that described it's a concept for a human-machine interface. The paper in Nature Nanotechnology explained how a flexible circuit could be injected into a living brain.
Brain-machine interface on the way
“We’re trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits,” said Harvard researcher Charles Lieber, who co-authored the study.
“We have to walk before we can run, but we think we can really revolutionize our ability to interface with the brain.” This type of technology could be used to boost human cognitive abilities.
However, it does come with potential dangers. Experts warn that such hardware could be hacked by rogue artificial intelligence effectively rendering control over to external power.
“Technological developments mean that we are on a path to a world in which it will be possible to decode people’s mental processes and directly manipulate the brain mechanisms underlying their intentions, emotions, and decision,” stated a Nature comment piece written by 27 neuroscientists, ethicists, and machine intelligence engineers.
“The possible clinical and societal benefits of neurotechnologies are vast. To reap them, we must guide their development in a way that respects, protects and enables what is best in humanity.”
World's first brain to brain interface working
A team of researchers from Cornell University has already claimed to have built the world's first human brain- brain interface called BrainNet. The interface combines electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain signals and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to deliver information to the brain.
BrainNet allows humans to collaborate and solve a task using only brain-to-brain communication. In the studies completed so far, two of the subjects act as "Senders" whose brain signals are read in real time using EEG data analysis to extract their decision about whether to rotate a block in a Tetris-like game before it is dropped to fill a line.
Research into our brains and particularly EEG data is only just beginning.
Multitudes of companies are trying to find ways that give us better control over our minds as well as augment our abilities through neurofeedback and other techniques. No doubt in the years to come the way we think about our brains, machines and AI will rapidly change.