Will it make the SMART AND BRAINY obsolete?
Smart and Brainy. These two nerd attributes are probably the most sought after goal that everyone has across different fields. Everyone likes to be the know-it-all in some way, at least in front of some people. What is smartness anyway? In simple terms, I can say it as the rate of transfer of stored data from the brain. But is that not what computers do? Can machines do it better? Can machines help us do it better? Can everyone in the world become smart at the same time?
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”
– Albert Einstein
Neuralink is a company working on this problem. For those who do not know, neuralink hopes to achieve scalable Brain-machine interfaces(BMI). So far they have created a high-bandwidth Brain-Machine Interfaces, by inserting a series of flexible electrode threads into the brain surface and a robotic arm that can insert it with micron perception. These wires are then connected together into a control device and single USB-C cable provides full-bandwidth data streaming from the device, recording from all channels. This technology may allow for the monitoring, recording, and even manipulation of many types of brain-related information at the cellular and organelle levels. For more information on their work, please follow this link.
On hearing news like this, one might get the impression that a trustable working model is not very far away. This poses an important question on the threat to human uniqueness. How is one able to differentiate between one another if everyone at a point of time has the same skill sets? If our brain is connected to internet somehow, will our thoughts be still the same?
On following a press-release by Witts-University, we find out project Brainternet which is basically a connection of Neurological activity in the brain to a Raspberry Pi computer. This works by converting electroencephalogram (EEG) signals (brain waves) in an open-source brain live stream. This turns the connected brain into a node in the Internet-of-things (IoT) web. This provides endless possibilities as the brain not only connects us to other brains, which are in the network but also to other smart devices as well.
On the other end of the spectrum, one might see it as a stepping stone to go further into creating more meaningful improvements, such as speeding up and increasing Ram and storage capabilities of our physical brain. This might just be a tool like a paintbox which provides the same amount of distinct colors to everyone, but people do different artworks with it.
On reading discoveries like this, one gets the thought are we near the thing that is out of reach for centuries, even for the affluent. Immortality. If one could upload, store, and share all our data from our brain in the clouds, would our mind live forever on the web? That is not the exact thing one would expect out of the term Immortality. But that is better than nothing.