Joe Allen – Neuralink is ready to stick chips in humans. Synchron and Blackrock Neurotech have already done it—as have many others.
People talk about brain implants as if they’re an imagined biohorror in the distant future. This is a misconception. Hardwired trodes already exist, they’re more widespread than you think, and they’ll only be more prevalent as time goes on.
Today, it’s an iPhone 14 under the Xmas tree. Come the Singularity, transhumanists hope and pray, it’ll be an iTrode 666 in your cerebral cortex.
SynchronandBlackrock Neurotech, alongside numerous labs funded by theDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency(DARPA), are at the forefront of this human experimentation.
Neuralinkis racing to catch up—burning through lab animals like so much kindling—and will likely take the lead once they’re approved for human trials.
Currently, a brain-computer interface(BCI) can provide quadriplegics and locked-in stroke victims a superior hands-free experience. Patients can move cursors onscreen. They can type text with only their thoughts. They can operate robotic arms tomove beer bottles to their lips. The late Matthew Nagle, whoreceivedthe first proper BCI in 2006, was able toplay Pong“telepathically.”
Enjoying a decent head start, Blackrock Neurotech is the most prolific brain-jack racket. “36 people around the world have an implanted brain-computer interface,” their website states. “32 of them use Blackrock technology.” (If I had to wager, the former number is likely greater.)
These silicon seeds have been planted in a bed of gray matter, and after recent rounds of generous financing, they’re growing fast.
It’s important to note, though, that current BCIs are used toreadthe neurons, notwriteonto them. At least for now. Yes, there are deep brain stimulation implants—wired electrodes that sit under the skull, typically used to control tremors, and more recently, to alter mood. These simple systems, embedded in over160,000 headsaround the world, do provide input signals. But that’s a long way from hearing articulate voices in your head.
However, should the most aggressive developers realize their dreams, readily available BCI systems will read and rewrite our minds like RAM drives. In the near future, we’re told, commercial implants will allow regular humans to commune with artificial intelligence as if we were spirit mediums drawing ghosts out of the aether.
Manufacturers shield themselves from public outcry by promising the lame will walk and the blind will see. That’s already happening, but the openly declared goal is to move from healing to enhancement.
Last week, Synchron had their BCI bankrolledby thepalm-scanning home-invaderJeff Bezos and the island-hopping “Vaxx King” Bill Gates, with$75 million in total investment. Currently, the Brooklyn-based company has jammed chips into multiple human brains. Last summer, they received FDA approval to start trials in the US. Like most BCIs, the device functions like a telepathic touchpad in your skull.
Synchron’s main product, the Stentrode, is much less invasive than its competitors. For instance, Blackrock Neurotech uses a micro-electrode array that sits on top of the brain, requiring doctors to cut through bone for installation. Neuralink’s processor is basically a quarter-sized skull plug, with 1,024 hair-thin wires fanning out like jellyfish tentacles into the gray matter below.
The Stentrode is just a wire-mesh stint, like a tiny pair of Chinese finger cuffs. Surgeons insert this stint in the jugular vein and maneuver it up through the brain’s blood vessels to the desired location. Once installed, the Stentrode monitors brain activity for intention. This information is sent down a cable to an antenna device sitting on the chest under the skin. That data is then transmitted to external devices.
Like its competitors, Synchron’s current projects are focused on the motor cortex. In a series of exercises, the user concentrates on a specific intention. The device then reads the corresponding brain activity, and external artificial intelligence systems create a digital mirror, correlating the brain pattern to the intention. All of this happens in microseconds, allowing for real-time monitoring.
After the brain’s partial mirror image is fleshed out, the paralyzed user can do things like move a cursor onscreen to type text. Synchron’s most famous patient, a locked-in ALS victim, made headlines in December of 2021 for sending the first telepathic tweet. Using the Twitter account of CEO Tom Oxley, he typed out:
hello world! Short tweet. Monumental progress.
And in a follow-up tweet:
my hope is that I’m paving the way for people to tweet through thoughts
Only a monster would deny the obvious benefit of inserting a BCI into a fully conscious but uncommunicative vegetable, allowing him to speak to his loved ones once again. The snag is that brain-computer interfaces won’t stop here. The ultimate goal is cyborg supremacy.
“Synchron’s north star is to achieve whole-brain data transfer,” Oxleysaid last year, evoking a kinder, gentler version of theMoravec Transfer. “The blood vessels provide surgery-free access to all regions of the brain, and at scale.” This means doctors will eventually snake Stentrodes into every lobe and cortex—sort of like having an Alexa in every room of your house—and subsequently create a digital twin of the organin silico.
It’s the ultimate fusion of mind with machine, allowing the user to control digital activity with his thoughts alone. In turn, this gives scientists and artificial intelligence total access to the user’s mental gears. Because most primary functions are nearly identical from person to person, once you’ve mapped one brain, you’ve basically mapped them all.
For many working on BCIs,the prospect of a man-machine merger is intoxicating. Possessed by the same spirit as Neuralink’s owner Elon Musk—who openly states his desire tomerge brains with AI for intellectual enhancement—Synchron’s Tom Oxley hasa more heart-warming visionof our cyborg destiny:
In the future, I’m really excited about the breakthroughs BCI could deliver to other conditions like epilepsy, depression, and dementia. But beyond that, what is this going to mean for humanity?
What’s really got me thinking is the future of communication.
Take emotion. Have you ever considered how hard it is to express how you feel? You have to self-reflect, package the emotion into words, and then use the muscles of your mouth to speak those words. But you really just want someone to know how you feel. …
So what if rather than using your words, you could throw your emotions? … At that moment, we would have realized that the necessary use of words to express our current state of being was always going to fall short. The full potential of the brain would then be unlocked.
Far beyond healing, Oxley wants to transcend the human condition entirely, or at least transform it. In this sense, he’s an obvious transhumanist, even if he avoids the term.
This transhuman orientation is shared across the BCI field. As I’ve covered extensively, various brain researchers affiliated withDARPA, theRAND Corporation, theRoyal Society of London, theNational Institutes of Health,Silicon Valley, theWorld Economic Forum, and countless university labs are aiming for an upgraded Humanity 2.0.
I’m not spinning some “conspiracy theory” here. It’s simply a thing.
Before Charles Lieber wasconvicted for taking Chinese moneyunder the table, the Harvard chemist was developing a nanoscale brain-computer interface that could be injected via syringe. This microscopic neural lace merges with the neurons, creating “cyborg tissue” that can communicate with a computer.
“We’re trying to blur the distinction between electronic circuits and neural circuits,” hetoldSmithsonian Magazine. And if you browse the names offormer Lieber Group memberson Harvard’s website, it’s obvious that Chinese researchers, along with the Chinese Communist Party, share his passion for biodigital convergence.
“This could make some inroads to a brain interface for consumers,” a Rice University tech developer commented.“Plugging your computer into your brain becomes a lot more palatable if all you need to do is inject something.”
These guys take “the jab” to a whole new level.
Another gross misconception is that transhumanismis a purely leftist or globalist agenda. This may be a politically convenient position to take, but it’s indefensible.
Amongst others, the scrappy Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel is, in effect, a Western nationalist. On the Republican side, he recentlyfundedthe senatorial campaigns of J.D. Vance and Blake Masters. On the transhuman side, the multi-billionaire was aninitial investorin Neuralink, and is nowfinancing their rivalsat Blackrock Neurotech.
Philosophically speaking, Thiel is far more articulate than other tech titans like Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or the new Conservative, Inc “superhero,” Elon Musk. While they share the same interests in life extension, brain interfacing, and artificial intelligence, Thiel explicitly steers his projects toward advancing and defending Western civilization.
For right-wingers opposed to the hubris of transhumanism—an unfashionable term that Thielwisely distances himself from—his strange blend of traditional mythos and techno-futurism complicates the standard narrative. In a provocative essay atFirst Things,entitled “Against Edenism,” Thiel urges Christians to accept the inevitability, or at least the necessity, of progress. As civilization hurtles toward apocalypse, there can be no return to Eden.
“The future will look very different from the past,” he writes, citing Genesis and Revelation. “The Garden of Paradise will culminate in the City of Heaven.” In Thiel’s view, the mission to develop technology runs parallel to God’s act of creation, which brought order to the face of the deep:
Judeo-Western optimism differs from the atheist optimism of the Enlightenment in the extreme degree to which it believes that the forces of chaos and nature can and will be mastered. The tyranny of Chance will give way to the providence of God.
Exercising our natural human capacities, we are co-creators in this process—aka, Homo Deus:
Science and technology are natural allies to this Judeo-Western optimism, especially if we remain open to an eschatological frame in which God works through us in building the kingdom of heaven today, here on Earth—in which the kingdom of heaven is both a future reality and something partially achievable in the present.
Looking through Thiel’s business portfolio—especiallyPalantir—this “partially achievable” divine kingdom includeswall-to-wall surveillance grids, mass data-mining,military-grade artificial intelligence, BCI control devices, genetic engineering,vampiric blood transfusionsfrom young donors to aging billionaires, and of course, Bitcoin. Lots and lots of Bitcoin.
Call me cynical, but I see little difference between Thiel’s technocratic “City of God” and the Beast System of the Antichrist. Even so, there’s a quandary that can’t be avoided.
No matter how blasphemous his cosmic vision may be, Thiel’s argument for the necessity of science and technology is essentially correct. If Western nation-states are to compete, or even survive, in the global Fourth Industrial Revolution—“the fusion of the physical, digital, and biological worlds”—we won’t do it with typewriters and sling shots.
We need a plan. And as much as you may despise Thiel’s quest for cybernetic Mammon, at least he has one.
We are in the throes of a civilizational transformation.The idea of “progress” may seem absurd when the potholes multiply and basic commodities grow scarce, but technology is progressing nonetheless.
Each of us is being hardwired for control. On the one hand, we’re granted control over various devices and vast stretches of virtual space. On the other, elites who deploy those devices and police our virtual spaces are taking control over us.
As the brain-computer interface creeps into public consciousness via news stories and propaganda—as the idea is implanted in our minds—it becomes a profound symbol for total control. With each technical advance, that symbol edges closer to realization.
I’m not saying this to freak you out. Alarmist thinking is weak. But don’t tell me “It’ll never happen.”
The intermediate steps toward this man-machine merger have already been taken. Over the past century and a half, humans have acclimated to the telegraph, the telephone, the radio, the television, and the desktop computer. Now, across the planet, we’re fusing with our devices through smartphone-symbiosis.
Holding these screens in our hands, with digital content filling our heads, we already bear a mark that allows us to buy or sell—hovering somewhere between UberEats and the Antichrist. Thenext phaseis anon-invasive BCI skull cap, orbrainwave headband, looming justover the horizon. From there, it’s a small step to getting an iTrode jammed in your dome.
All of us fall somewhere on the caveman-to-cyborg spectrum, with most sliding rightward on the scale. The question isn’t whether society is going there—it’s how far each of us will go.
SF Source Technocracy News Dec 2022
Does Brain Computer Interface exist? ›
There have also been experiments in humans using non-invasive neuroimaging technologies as interfaces. The substantial majority of published BCI work involves noninvasive EEG-based BCIs. Noninvasive EEG-based technologies and interfaces have been used for a much broader variety of applications.What is brain computer interface in simple words? ›
A brain-computer interface (BCI) is a computer-based system that acquires brain signals, analyzes them, and translates them into commands that are relayed to an output device to carry out a desired action. ■ In principle, any type of brain signal could be used to control a BCI system.What is an example of a brain computer interface? ›
In real time, a brain signal is translated into output commands that accomplish the desire of the user. The most common example of use of such technology is the direct control of a computer cursor by a person or animal using a BCI based on electrophysiological signals.How will Brain Computer Interface BCIs affect our lives? ›
BCI could greatly enhance human machine teaming. 'Adaptive' BCIs with the ability to respond to an operator's needs, could help to avoid such cognitive overload (or underload).Why do we need BCI? ›
BCIs may replace lost functions, such as speaking or moving. They may restore the ability to control the body, such as by stimulating nerves or muscles that move the hand. BCIs have also been used to improve functions, such as training users to improve the remaining function of damaged pathways required to grasp.Does BCI technology worry you? ›
Many neuro-ethicists believe that BCI is so robust that if it falls into the wrong hands, it can have drastic repercussions. Technocrats who are thinking about commercializing the technology can use it to read the thoughts and emotions of subjects, even if they have not given their consent.What is the brain of computer answers? ›
Central Processing Unit (CPU) The CPU is the brain of a computer, containing all the circuitry needed to process input, store data, and output results.What is an interface short answer? ›
In computing, an interface is a shared boundary across which two or more separate components of a computer system exchange information. The exchange can be between software, computer hardware, peripheral devices, humans, and combinations of these.What is interface very short answer? ›
In general, an interface is a device or a system that unrelated entities use to interact.What are the 3 types of interfaces? ›
graphical user interface (GUI) command line interface (CLI) menu-driven user interface.
What are the three types of BCI? ›
After experimentation three types of BCIs have been developed namely Invasive BCIs, Partially-invasive BCIs, Non-invasive BCIs.What are the two types of BCI? ›
There are two types of BCI based on the electrodes used for measuring the brain activity: non-invasive BCI where the electrodes are placed on the scalp (e.g., EEG based BCI), and invasive Brain computer interface where the electrodes are directly attached on human brain [e.g., BCI based on electrocorticography (ECoG), ...What problems can BCI solve? ›
The BCI system employs the user's brain activity signals as a medium for communication between the person and the computer, translated into the required output. It enables users to operate external devices that are not controlled by peripheral nerves or muscles via brain activity.Can Brain Computer Interface be hacked? ›
The scenario is even more alarming after confirming that most of the current BCI solutions are seriously flawed due to the lack of control against hacking events. BCI uses well-established algorithms and neural patterns, which therefore are hackable.What is the main limitation of the brain computer interfaces? ›
One of the basic limitations of BCI is that the signals received from the brain are prone to interference.What is BCI in background check? ›
The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI) is a critical function of our office, providing state and national background check services to the public, reviewing and issuing licenses for concealed carry permits in Rhode Island, and maintaining multiple law enforcement databases.What are the health risks of BCI? ›
Health-related BCI Risks Include Security Breaches, Infringement on Mental Privacy, and Data Inaccuracy. Security Breaches: Security breaches are some of the most prominent risks in the health BCI space. Like other technology-based medical devices, BCIs are vulnerable to cyber risks.What negative effects does technology have on the brain? ›
Technology Use Can Create Structural Changes in the Brain.
Pings, alerts, rings, and notifications can shift our focus in a way that can lead to long-lasting difficulties with paying attention. Difficulties paying attention can lead to poorer performance on academic, personal, and professional tasks.
Recent research suggests that excess use of the internet over prolonged periods of time may negatively affect some cognitive functions, particularly attention and short-term memory.What Is The computer Question Answer? ›
A computer is an electronic device that manipulates information, or data. It has the ability to store, retrieve, and process data. You may already know that you can use a computer to type documents, send email, play games, and browse the Web.
What is the computer system Question Answer? ›
A computer system is a basic, complete, and practical hardware and software setup with everything necessary to execute computing performance.Is the brain of the computer quizlet? ›
CPU is the abbreviation for central processing unit. Sometimes referred to simply as the central processor, but more commonly called processor, the CPU is the brains of the computer where most calculations take place.What does having interface mean? ›
: the means by which interaction or communication is achieved at an interface. : a surface forming a common boundary of two bodies, spaces, or phases.Why does interface mean? ›
Meaning of interface in English. a connection between two pieces of electronic equipment, or between a person and a computer: My computer has a network interface, which allows me to get to other computers.What is the meaning of computer interface? ›
An interface establishes a physical connection between two computer systems, a conversational syntax, a format for logical messages passed between the systems, and a data-encoding structure understood by both systems. Interfaces are usually implemented as software modules and consist of three "layers."What does an interface do? ›
Interfaces provide volume control for at least one pair of speakers and some provide multiple headphone and speaker outputs.What is an example sentence for interface? ›
The different components all have to interface smoothly. He had interfaced all this machinery with a master computer.Why is interface so important? ›
Why is user interface important? User interface is important to meet user expectations and support the effective functionality of your site. A well-executed user interface facilitates effective interaction between the user and the program, app or machine through contrasting visuals, clean design and responsiveness.What are the main interfaces? ›
There are three main interface connections: the memory/IO interface, interrupt interface and DMA (direct memory access) interface.What is the most common interface? ›
Of the four types of user interface, the graphical user interface is by far the most common, followed by the touchscreen variation. Despite the alternative technologies that already exist and continue to emerge, the GUI remains the preferred standard. This is largely due to the simplicity and ease of use.
What are the 4 components of an interface? ›
- Input Controls.
- Navigation Components.
- Informational Components.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that measures electrical activity in the brain using small, metal discs (electrodes) attached to the scalp. Brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even during asleep. This activity shows up as wavy lines on an EEG recording.What is the first step in BCI? ›
A BCI is an artificial intelligence system that can recognize a certain set of patterns in brain signals following five consecutive stages: signal acquisition, preprocessing or signal enhancement, feature extraction, classification, and the control interface .Is a cochlear implant a BCI? ›
Human BCIs include cochlear implants and a host of experimental devices including retinal implants (Niparko et al., 2010; Klauke et al., 2011).How much does a brain computer interface cost? ›
The cost of this device is within $350 (for 24 electrodes), which is significantly lower compared to similar systems on the market, especially at this performance level.Can hackers hear you? ›
Can hackers hear you? Yes, hackers may be able to hear you if they've gained access to your phone's camera and microphone.Can hackers see my computer screen? ›
Can a hacker access my computer camera, microphone, and screen? Yes. Cybercriminals use malware like spyware to remotely access and control your camera, microphone, and screen.How would you know if your device is hacked? ›
Poor performance: If your phone shows sluggish performance like crashing of apps, freezing of the screen and unexpected restarts, it is a sign of a hacked device. Unrecognised apps: If you notice any unrecognised applications downloaded on your device, it could be the work of a hacker.Is a brain implant possible? ›
Neural implants are already being used to treat disease, rehabilitate the body after injury, improve memory, communicate with prosthetic limbs, and more. The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) have devoted hundreds of millions of dollars in funding toward this sector.Can the human brain ever be emulated? ›
And we aren't even sure if the mind can be emulated. The projected timeline: Whole brain emulation is at least several decades, if not more than a century, away. The major players: Neuroscience research labs across the world are demystifying the human brain, one small step at a time.
Is Neuralink a brain computer interface? ›
Neuralink Corporation is an American neurotechnology company that develops implantable brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) based in Fremont, California. Founded by Elon Musk and a founding team of seven scientists and engineers, Neuralink was launched in 2016 and was first publicly reported in March 2017.Can you replace a brain with a computer? ›
With about 100 billion nerve cells, each of which is connected to another 10,000 or so neurons, the natural neural network inside our heads is a very complex thing. In particular, the ability to process many stimuli and signals in parallel is still underdeveloped in computers.Can a brain grow back? ›
And one of the most exciting and important recent discoveries is that brain cells DO regenerate throughout your entire life. We now know that neurogenesis — the formation of new brain cells — is not only possible, it happens every day. This is not simply a fascinating piece of information, it's news you can use.Does Elon Musk have a brain chip? ›
In Short. Elon Musk has announced that this Neuralink chip would be implanted in his brain. It is an artificial intelligence-powered microchip that can read and record brain activity.Can a piece of brain grow back? ›
“The brain's ability to repair or replace itself is not limited to just two areas. Instead, when an adult brain cell of the cortex is injured, it reverts (at a transcriptional level) to an embryonic cortical neuron.Can you upload your mind and live forever? ›
Uploading your mind is not a pathway to immortality. Instead, it will create a possibly hostile digital doppelgänger. While it is theoretically possible to perfectly model a unique human brain down to the level of its synapses and molecules, doing so will not allow you to become immortal.Is it possible to download consciousness? ›
Although downloading consciousness is still only the stuff of science fiction, recent research has led scientists to claim that an artificial brain could be constructed in as little as ten years (Fildes, 2009).Can a brain be alive without a body? ›
It's well known that a comatose brain can be kept alive for at least decades. That is the case with brain-dead people whose families elect to keep them attached to ventilating machines. Less well explored are artificial means of maintaining a brain wholly separated from its body.Is Neuralink FDA approved? ›
Is Neuralink FDA approved? Neuralink has yet to gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to implant its technology into humans, but Musk says he expects approval in the near future.What will Neuralink brain chip do? ›
Neuralink's device has a chip that processes and transmits neural signals that could be transmitted to devices like a computer or a phone. The company hopes that a person would potentially be able to control a mouse, keyboard or other computer functions like text messaging with their thoughts.
How long until we can upload consciousness? ›
As of December 2022, this kind of technology is almost entirely theoretical. Scientists are yet to discover a way for computers to feel human emotions, and many assert that uploading consciousness is not possible.Can a person rewire their brain? ›
Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural pathways throughout life and in response to experiences. While the brain usually does this itself in response to injury or disease, when humans focus their attention enough, they can slowly rewire these pathways themselves.Can you rewire your brain at any age? ›
Experts previously believed that after a given point in life, your brain could no longer change or develop further. Now they know this isn't true. With a bit of time and patience, you can rewire your brain, which may help with certain mental health symptoms and protect against cognitive decline.