An AI upgrade for your brain, Elon Musk teases the Neural Lace

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Worried that AI’s one day could make us their pets Elon Musk is teasing a new brain-hacking tech

There’s no doubting that Elon Musk is one busy guy. Whether he’s trying to land on Mars with SpaceX, running Tesla, buying SolarCity, investing in the future of AI, building Giga factories or throwing out Hyperloop concepts for fun but it’s increasingly apparent that he’s giving a huge amount of thought to the day when advanced AI’s become the most intelligent form of “life” on the planet.

With the advances that we are already seeing in AI it’s inevitable that one day – sooner rather than later humans will, comparatively speaking, be as intelligent to an AI as pets are to us today. To that end, the billionaire polymath has revealed he may be working on something called a “Neural Lace”, a nanotechnology based device that you can think of as being a digital upgrade for your brain. Human intelligence combined with the power of AI – a digital layer directly overlaid onto the brains cortex.

 

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For those of you that think that this type of technology is just some billionaires sci-fi fuelled whimsy then think again. As far fetched as it sounds it’s not all science fiction and there may be actual basis in verifiable science and we may, at least, already have the mesh part locked down. In 2015 nanotechnology experts developed an ultra fine mesh  that managed to seamlessly merge with the brains of mice, creating a seamless interface between machine and biological circuitry.

Called “Mesh Electronics” the device is so thin and supple that it can be injected with a needle. At the time the researchers described their device as “syringe injectable electronics,” and said it has a number of uses, including monitoring brain activity, delivering treatment for degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, and even – and more pertinently for Musk – enhancing brain capabilities. Elon Musk is simply looking to take the device to the next level, which, given the vast advances we’ve seen in technology over the past decade might not be as hard as you might think.

 

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The concept of the neural lace was first thought up in the culture novels written by Iain Banks where futuristic post-humans installed neural laces – meshes that grew with their brains – as a way to help them program their neurons to release certain chemicals with just a thought.

Musk’s version of the neural lace goes further though and seems to be a mesh that would allow AI’s to work symbiotically with the human brain. Signals will be picked up and transmitted wirelessly, but without any interference to our natural neurological processes. Hence the digital brain upgrade. Imagine, for example, writing and sending texts just using your thoughts and without the need for today’s clumsy looking Brain Computer Interface (BCI) devices.

According to Musk, expect more announcements soon… and, for all those future fans out there it would be remiss of me to then pose the question – what if we apply Neural Lace’s to human brains, that are not in people, but in jars

Have fun theorising the possible.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, Futurist and Founder of the 311 Institute is described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers.” Among other things Matthew keeps busy helping the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers ideate the next five generations of smartphones, and what comes beyond, the world’s largest chip makers envision the next twenty years of intelligent machines, and is helping Europe’s largest energy companies re-invent energy generation, transmission and retail.

Recognised in 2013, 2015 and 2016 as one of Europe’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an award winning author, entrepreneur and international speaker who has been featured on the BBC, Discovery and other outlets. Working hand in hand with accelerators, investors, governments, multi-nationals and regulators around the world Matthew helps them envision the future and helps them transform their industries, products and go to market strategies, and shows them how the combination of new, democratised, powerful emerging technologies are helping accelerate cultural, industrial and societal change.

Matthew’s clients include Accenture, Bain & Co, Bank of America, Blackrock, Booz Allen Hamilton, Boston Consulting Group, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deutsche Bank, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Du Pont, E&Y, Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, HPE, Huawei, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, Lloyds Banking Group, McKinsey & Co, PWC, Qualcomm, Rolls Royce, SAP, Samsung, Schroeder’s, Sequoia Capital, Sopra Steria, UBS, the UK’s HM Treasury, the USAF and many others.

Comments
  • Jerry greelis#1

    10th December 2016

    This is cool, however, still needing technology to transfer the AI output to the recipient. We need a method beyond EM to get information across wide areas of space. Something like telepathy, real telepathy, not some apparatus like Google Glasses, or Telepathy One using Bluetooth.

    Reply
  • Matthew Griffin#2

    11th December 2016

    Thanks Jerry, funnily enough there was a recent breakthrough in telepathic communication, albeit a “basic” one, between two volunteers in the US using brain computer interface equipment and it worked – here’s a link to the article: https://www.fanaticalfuturist.com/2016/08/the-worlds-first-telepathic-interface-is-getting-better/

    Enjoy,

    Matt

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