Last week, Neuralink gave a conference about the things they have been working on for the past 2 years, excellent news in general, here I tell you about what they said in summary:
During their two years of work at Neuralink, they managed to considerably improve the duration, efficiency and speed of the two-way communication technology and the methods to receive and write information on neurons; they greatly reduced the level of invasion and damage required at the time of implanting this technology in the brain.
The initial user base will be people with neurodegenerative diseases in which the first test in a real patient will be at the end of the year 2020. The main devices to be controlled will be the smartphone, mouse and keyboard. Once enough experience and information has been obtained with the initial user base, the user base will be expanded for the rest of society, which means that anyone will be able (at will) to put this technology in their brain.
Neuralink's brain-computer interface will not only be able to read information from the brain and neurons but also to write information.
In future phases of the project, people with this interface will have available an artificial intelligence layer to which they can, if they wish, connect.
In the Q&A they mentioned that they foresee an open platform for interested third parties to contribute to the development of this technology, you can think about this platform in a similar way to how the app store works today. Obviously applications and companies that have an advertisement as a source-of-income/business-model, will be banned from the platform for ethical reasons.
- My opinion about it:
The advances they made in the course of 2 years are great compared to the progress that this type of technology has had in past decades.
I think the approach they adopt with respect to applying this technology with an initial user base to obtain vital information and experience and then later expanding it to the rest of society, is very strategic.
It's admirable how they managed to reduce the level of invasion and damage required to implant this technology in the brain, but nevertheless, it is still necessary to go through surgery to install the electrodes inside the brain of a person. This reduction in the level of invasion for many people represents a breakthrough, which clearly is, but also represents an entry barrier for the rest of society that wants to access this technology. I foresee that this entry barrier can weigh much less, if we place it on a scale, compared to the benefits that will be obtained once you decide to install this technology in your brain in the coming decades.
Following the thread of the advantages and benefits that would be obtained, some of them are: increased cognitive capacity and intelligence in general; access to a layer of artificial intelligence and knowledge; increase in the speed of processing and reasoning of the information; increased communication speed with existing smart devices; among others... . On the other hand, within the context of the disadvantages, I foresee that there may be a great disparity in society, where companies and institutions give priority to symbiotic people due to their high performance and capacity. Finally, this disparity could be the pressure point to force people to acquire and install this technology in their brains.
I consider the mention they make about banning companies and applications that have advertisement as a source of income to be very important, obviously this is how it should be in this kind of technology, although, this doesn't necessarily mean that they cannot sell the Information they collect from people, does it sound familiar (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp)?, In fact a few days ago in a Telegram group to which I belong, we were talking about how Instagram and WhatsApp might use the microphone to listen to our conversations to extract the information from there to make you advertisement targeting; now imagine that scenario but directly with the information you are thinking about.
What exciting times to be alive!
Below I leave the video of the conference in case you are interested (highly recommended if you want to be aware of the advances that are coming in artificial intelligence, brain-computer interface, and technology in general).
Let me know what you think about it!