Technology has shown that it can bring many science fiction scenarios to reality. The invention of the smartphone is one such example. But, have you ever imagined being able to save your memories in a machine? While it sounds a bit irrational, this is what Neuralink, the Elon Musk company that wants to make history by merging your brain with a computer, raises.
This neurotechnology firm intends to treat our memories as a digital file. This means that we can access them at any time and place. Although the idea sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, this is the company’s purpose.
The Neuralink story begins in 2016
Neuralink is a company founded in 2016 by Elon Musk and Max Hodak – who recently left the project. The company is headquartered in the city of San Francisco, United States, and is presented as an alternative to enhance human consciousness.
Neurolink proposes to implant a chip of approximately 8 mm in diameter in our brains. It is a device made up of “more than 3,000 electrodes connected to flexible wires” and, with the ability to “monitor the activity of 1,000 brain neurons.” And, it focuses on areas responsible for the motor and sensory functions of the human body.
For what purpose? Help in the treatment of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and cerebral embolism. Therefore, it is presented as an option to help people get out of the confinement of their minds, managing to communicate their needs, desires and thoughts. All this through a human machine interface. Even that they can control electronic devices and operate software with their minds.
University of Pittsburgh Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Jennifer Collinger describes this project as “truly revolutionary technology in the difficult space of medical technology.”
But what does it mean to combine human intelligence with AI?
As Neuralink’s approach gains traction, so is the question about what it means to combine human intelligence with AI. So far, the company has only conducted tests on animals. Specifically in monkeys and pigs.
In the first case, a chip was implanted in the brain of a primate so that it could play video games with its mind. On a Clubhouse forum, Musk commented: “You can’t see where the implant is and he’s a happy monkey. We have the most beautiful monkey facilities in the world. We want them to play MindPong with each other. ” Similarly, a device was inserted into the skull of pigs. Not precisely to play games, but to measure their brain activity.
What would this fusion look like in humans? We really don’t know, but Musk has stressed that “people need to merge with artificial intelligence to avoid a scenario where AI becomes so powerful that it destroys the human race.”
We are facing a scenario where a millimeter device can help transmit images from the visual cortex of one person to the brain of another. This would be like downloading information from the cloud or sharing our memories. Will we be able to process such amount of data? What implications does this technology have?
Certainly, the most intimate space we can have is in our mind. Now, since this neurological chip works wirelessly, the situation implies new risks. For example, they could hack into our brains and steal part of our memories. Even control motor functions of our bodies.
The fact that other people can enter our minds, reminds us of the movie “The Origin”, where through dreams they instilled an idea in a certain character to the point of making him lose the ability to differentiate between the real and the unreal . Can you imagine waking up one day with memories that are not yours? How would you react?
Undoubtedly, this situation implies ethical problems and a violation of the rights of our brains. It sounds a bit far-fetched, but it is an idea that is already in the making.
Preparing for the future: Chile is processing legislation that safeguards the neuro-rights of people
Advances in neurotechnology are great and bring us closer to a future where human beings and AI are part of the same body. As we have been mentioning, this technology can cause a person’s mental registers to be modified and occasionally change their essence.
Given the potential of the idea, Chile is preparing for the future by processing a constitutional reform that ensures neuro-rights of people. The idea is to protect the “physical and mental integrity” of human beings. In particular, from organizations that intend to use your brain without prior consent.
In this way, the South American country seeks to implement legislation that enshrines “in its Constitution the ‘neuro-rights’ or rights of the brain.” In this regard, the senator and promoter of the reform Guido Girardi expressed:
“If this technology manages to read, before you are even aware of what you are thinking, emotions, thoughts, life stories that are not yours can be written in your brain and that your brain will not know how to distinguish if they were the product of designs. or yours “
This bill focuses on four key points. The first of these is to defend the neuradata in people’s minds. Second, to set the limits of neuroalgorithms and neurotechnology, either for reading or writing actions in the brain. And, ultimately, who will have access to this technology.
The story goes that over the years science fiction scenarios like the one proposed by Neuralink are scary. However, this modality has been applied for some time in patients with depression or Parkinson’s. This to stimulate the emotional charge and symptoms of these people. Even in people with hearing disabilities so that they can hear by stimulating brain areas.
In this sense, neurotechnology is expected to become an ally of medicine and contribute positively to the treatment of neurological diseases. On the other hand, the legislation promoted by Chile tries to protect the “last frontier of the human being: his mind”.
In this way, Neuralink aims to revolutionize the area of neurotechnology and mark a milestone in the history of the human race. Is this the way to the consolidation of artificial intelligence? Are we ready for that?
Can Neuralink change appointments as we know them?