Over the last twenty years, neuroscientists have been working on BrainGate. BrainGate is a revolutionary technology that connects computers to the human mind wirelessly and it has just hit the world stage. Entrepreneurs in the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have joined the race. The race is to discover how to convert computer chips into brain chips. The focus of Zuckerberg and Musk means the potential for giant leaps forward.
However, the question that needs our attention is whether our machine dependence and technology has ultimately gone too far. Countries celebrate their independence annually from other countries and it appears we should kick-off asking more questions about our personal independence.
Reality of Brain Chips
There is a revelation that every app, virtually, on your smartphone is calibrated to ensure you use it as long as possible. There is an important point here: a relatively low number of engineers working in Silicon Valley are experimenting with brain function and human behaviour. They are working on it with little insight for long-term consequences. It looks the fight for independence is now on the digital front.
We are standing on the rock face of significant developments in what scientists name brain chips or Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs).BCIs are sometimes named Brain Machine Interfaces or BMIs. BCIs are synonymous to electronic microchips that are inserted into the brain to connect human minds to computers — basically, brain chips.
Brain Chips – Where we started from
Consider two things before you let them out of hand: First, computers are creeping closer to brains since their creation. What begun as huge mainframes became desktops then laptops and now we are in the era of smartphones and tablets that we hold inches away from our faces. Secondly, brain chips or brain-computer interfaces already exist – for almost twenty years.
Brain Chips – Where we are now
Now, brain chips have almost become mainstream in a massive way. We have recently learned that no less than both Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are deeply involved in nurturing BCIs. Imagine Facebook without typing, or driving a Tesla using your mind.
Vision of Mark Zuckerberg
Zuckerberg has cards stick with his chest and he hasn’t revealed details yet. It is an open secret that about one year ago, Zuckerberg hired Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, to run his Facebook’s experimental technologies division and is known as Building 8. The division has 60 full-time engineers and scientists with billions of funds and that’s a huge commitment towards resources. The resources could generate rapid technological developments.
Vision of Elon Musk
Vision of Tesla owner goes beyond Zuckerberg’s. While Facebook CEO has defined external brain sensors that allow to “type” 100 words in a minute with your mind, Musk desires to mingle computers and brains more deeply via brain chips that both receives and sends information.
The probabilities of brain-computer interfaces or brain chips are exciting and frightening at the same time. The communication capabilities with others through thought is exciting., However, providing others with the ability of mind reading is really frightening. Controlling a car with one’s mind is exciting; the odds of others controlling your brain is terrifying. It might look cool to have an ideal memory but it would be frightening if your memory could be hacked. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make humans smarter would be significant. However, creating artificial intelligence that could grow much smarter and more powerful than us is the stuff of nightmares.