“The thing that people, I think, don’t appreciate right now is that they are already a cyborg.”Elon Musk
Elon Musk makes me feel lazy. He’s the guy behind Tesla, the electric car company; SpaceX, the manned rocket to Mars company, and PayPal . (Among probably a dozen other things that are equally amazing. The man gets things done.)
He is also the founder and CEO of a company named Neuralink.
Here is Neuralinks’ stated purpose from their website: “Neuralink is developing ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers.”
Did you catch that? To connect humans and computers via a brain-machine interface. In other words, a chip (or something) implanted in your brain that allows you to communicate directly with your computer…or my computer…or MY BRAIN.
Think about that. No need for a phone anymore. Just have your brain call my brain. Or use your brain to start your car, or shut the garage door, or order groceries, or vote.
Want to go to movies? Your brain is connected to the internet, just mentally download the film, close your eyes and enjoy. Need to look up something on google? Just think about it and there it is.
Our good friends at Google already make a device called Google Home. Here is what their website says about it: “Google Home is powered by the Google Assistant. Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. And with support for multiple users, it can distinguish your voice from others in your home so you get a more personalized experience. It’s your own Google, just for you.”
Amazon makes Alexa. Here is what their website has to say: “Alexa, the voice service that powers Echo, provides capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice. Examples of these skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm or timer and more. Alexa is built in the cloud, so it is always getting smarter.”
Substitute the word “brain” for “voice” in the above paragraphs and you can see where Neuralink is going.
Is this cause for concern? A lot of people think so. A poll taken by the Pew Research Center found, “Americans are more worried than enthusiastic about using gene editing, brain chip implants and synthetic blood to change human capabilities.”
But wait a minute. Listen to Flip Sabes, co-founder of Neuralink, “To a scientist, to think about changing the fundamental nature of life—creating viruses, eugenics, etc.—it raises a specter that many biologists find quite worrisome, whereas the neuroscientists that I know, when they think about chips in the brain, it doesn’t seem that foreign, because we already have chips in the brain. We have deep brain stimulation to alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, we have early trials of chips to restore vision, we have the cochlear implant—so to us it doesn’t seem like that big of a stretch to put devices into a brain to read information out and to read information back in.”
And don’t forget pacemakers, and defibrillators, and electrical implants to control epilepsy and chronic pain. Things that were unthinkable 50 years ago.
As with any new technology, there is always a Pandora’s Box possibility. Things can go wrong. But the future is on the way, and we can either embrace it or hide. I’m not hiding.
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Have a great rest of the week!