Home  Contact Us
  Follow Us On:
 
Search:
Advertising Advertising Free Newsletter Free E-Newsletter
Magazine
  
      2021       2020       2019       2018       2017       2016       2015       2014       2013       2012       2011       2010       2009       2008

TECH: Human Brain Connected to Computer
Share to

Human Brain Connected to Computer
Elon Musk's Idea of Neuralink
By Max Rogers

BT 201711 TECH 08      颠覆汽车业、发射火箭、殖民火星已经无法满足“钢铁侠”马斯克的野心,这位身价亿万的企业家还想让人脑与电脑相连,来帮助人类赶超机器!这位现年45岁的亿万富翁埃隆•马斯克(Elon Musk)推动成立了医学研究与应用公司Neuralink,该公司已于去年7月在加州注册,试图通过研发“神经织网”(neural lace)技术,在人脑中植入电极以便与电脑直接交流。

      人们可能会问,Neuralink的目的是什么?Neuralink将聚焦于创造能植入人类大脑的设备,终极目标是帮助人类与软件合二为一,而从追赶上人工智能的脚步,并与计算机直接通信。其解决方案是开发一个“脑机接口”,即通过颈静脉传输在大脑皮层中植入一层人工智能内壳,拓展人类认知能力的极限,例如通过脑部活动直接与电脑无线交流,在机器上直接上传或下载人脑思想等。

      公司很可能沿袭马斯克创业前期先试水的经营理念,第一个Neuralink的产品很可能被用于治疗一些严重的神经障碍,如重度抑郁症和癫痫。此外,脑电脑界面可以帮助遭受截瘫的患者再次行走。尽管Neuralink公司成立为医疗研究公司,但该技术也将用于医药以外的其他行业。

      如果证明了产品的有效性和安全性,并得到政府机构批准后,该公司产品将有可能进行表层大脑手术以提高人类的认知能力。最近几周Neuralink将美国脑神经科学的顶级科学家也纳入麾下,看得出马斯克和Neuralink对将人机相连的想法可是很认真的,愿人类可以从这一技术中受益。

BT 201711 TECH 04Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, is running a company called Neuralink that will try to connect human brains to computers! Yes, this sounds insane and a bit frightening but it is likely to benefit a lot of people. Let's see what's in the background of this venture.

BT 201711 TECH 14What does Neuralink involve?

This invention is largely based on neural lace technology, which implants very small electrodes into brain cells. That technology could be utilized for direct computing capabilities among others. Elon Musk and his team of experts are developing a brain-computer interface through the Neuralink company. This interface is focused on tiny devices that will be inserted into the human brain. Neuralink has been registered as a “medical research” company in California and it will mostly be funded by Elon Musk.
 

At the World Government Summit that took place in Dubai early this year, Musk said that people should evolve into some type of cyborgs in future in order to achieve artificial intelligence. A merger of machine and biological intelligence would make humans economically valuable, as Elon Musk stated. That will let humans make symbiosis with computers and become more intelligent beings. Neural lace will prevent people from becoming a house cat to AI-based devices, as he said.

BT 201711 TECH 02What's the purpose of Neuralink?

One may ask, what's the purpose of Neuralink? By merging with software, humans will be able to keep pace with the latest advancements and updates in artificial intelligence. The possible purpose of these enhancements is memory improvement and direct communication with computers. That means the people will be capable of downloading or uploading their thoughts from or to a computer in no time. The product in question is meant to allow humans to develop cognitive functions.
 

BT 201711 TECH 12The current brain-computer interfaces are mostly one-way only, enabling people with brain injuries to perform some communication tools and motor control. Musk wants to develop a two-way brain-computer interface with much more possibilities. These types of brain computer interfaces (BCI) only exist in science fiction today.
 

In medicine, multi-electrode array technology has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and the similar illnesses of the nervous system. However, there are only tens of thousands of people in the world with such stimulating devices, while only very few patients have complex medical implants inside their heads. That's because it's very invasive and dangerous to perform such operations on the human brain, and it's only recommended as a last resort for those who have exhausted all the available medical options. By the way, most healthy individuals aren't comfortable with the brainchild of opening the skull to implant a device into the brain.
 

BT 201711 TECH 13The new medical research will help us better understand how our brain works. That said, neural lace will serve as a pioneer surgery technology, involving a variety of implant devices and software methods based on the brain-computer interfaces. Neuroscience experts say we know very little about how the neurons communicate in the human brain, so that it's crucial to collect data on those neurons by means of methods. That involves implantation of electronics inside the skulls.
 

According to The Journal, the first Neuralink's products are likely to be utilized for treatment of some severe neurological disorders like major depression epilepsy. Furthermore, brain-computer interfaces could help patients suffering from paraplegia walk again. Although Neuralink was founded as a medical-research company, this technology will be also used in other industries beyond medicine.
 

Technical approach of Neuralink

Brain tree 1Essentially, this technology is based on a whole-brain interface (also called wizard hat for the brain) that uses a network of very small electrodes. Each of those electrodes is linked to brain cells, enabling humans to wirelessly communicate with the surrounding world, as well as with computers and with other people's brains who have such an interface embedded in their head. Neuralink works on the so-called neural lace technology, which is capable of transmitting our thoughts by implanting brain electrodes. Aside from thoughts, this technology would allow us to share our anxieties, hopes, and fears. Moreover, it would enable us to connect to the Internet at the biological level!
 

By means of a brain extension, this human-computer interface can let us develop cloud-based AI. This way, people would share thoughts directly through “uncompressed communication” instead of “compressing” their thoughts into the certain language (sentences and words) and then having other people “decompress” that package of words. It's a loss making process that takes time. Neuralink has a goal to integrate cloud based AI into humans that will be used as an additional faculty. That will be possible by connecting the brain to ultra-high bandwidth interfaces.
 

However, it's very difficult to create a bandwidth interface that would be compatible with the nervous system. A large amount of data has to be transferred wirelessly between computers and brains at an ultra high speed in order to allow bandwidth to interact with millions of neurons at once. The creation of seamless, genuine BCIs requires stimulating and observing an array of neurons that could consist of several billions of neurons. A single neuron creates about 5 kilobytes (5,000 bytes) of information per second. That means the bandwidth is supposed to handle a few terabits of information per second to interact with 10 million neurons at a time. That's because the human brain contains around 100 billion neurons, approximately 22% of which is closely connected to high-level cognition. This presents one of the biggest challenges for Neuralink and Elon Musk.
 

What do we want the future to look like?

BT 201711 TECH 01Elon Musk said about neural laces: “If somebody doesn’t do it, then I think I should do it.” However, there must be something that will connect human brain and computer programs. Musk has stated at the Vox Code Conference that the best solution is an AI layer that would act as a 3rd digital layer working symbiotically between a human and machine. He added that Neuralink is centered on the bandwidth, i.e., the connection between a person and his/her "digital version," in particular output. As previously stated, that brain-computer interface has the main goal to help humans improve themselves in terms of intelligence.
 

Musk occasionally responds to his fans on Twitter, informing them about the latest progress on “neural lace” achievements of Neuralink. Unfortunately, he doesn't completely reveal the new achievements and only replies from time to time over there.
 

Hopefully, Elon Musk's mission will make the best out of digital intelligence and benefit humanity in future.
 

---END---

    Subscription    |     Advertising    |     Contact Us    |
Address: Magnetic Plaza, Building A4, 6th Floor, Binshui Xi Dao.
Nankai District. 300381 TIANJIN. PR CHINA
Tel: +86 22 23917700
E-mail: webmaster@businesstianjin.com
Copyright 2021 BusinessTianjin.com. All rights reserved.