The ability to merge minds with machines will imminently allow technology to overcome the mental limitations of mankind. Futurist Craig Vachon, author of The Knucklehead of Silicon Valley, thinks the emerging tech has many applications as a force for good. He told Express.co.uk: “We will become better humans, more responsible and more empathetic.
“I think humanity’s next evolution really does involve technology, where we use AI as a benefit to advance our learning, to enhance our memories and share empathy.
“With brain-computer interface, I can share when I’m discomforted, anxious or elated.
“Humans enhancing themselves with technology will allow us to better communicate and better – which is at its at its core what the internet is about.”
BCI tech is considered the next step in blurring the boundary between humans and machines.
“Where they need to get tomorrow is to the place where full thoughts can be transcribed.
“10 years from now, this will be sort of very common, us thinking as opposed to speaking.”
At the moment, however, most of the techniques are “pretty clunky” involving large neural nets sitting on patient’s heads.
Fluidic Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machines are required, which do not allow metal nearby free movement.
But the future took again step forward in September, when researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Kent and Wichita State University published a study detailing how they’d developed a wireless and portable brain–machine interface.
Flexible scalp electronics and a deep learning algorithm was used to control a wheelchair, a small robotic vehicle, and a computer device.
Study co-author Woon-Hong Yeo, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech said in a statement: ”This work reports fundamental strategies to design an ergonomic, portable EEG [electroencephalography] system for a broad range of assistive devices, smart home systems and neuro-gaming interfaces.
“The primary innovation is in the development of a fully integrated package of high-resolution EEG monitoring systems and circuits within a miniaturised skin-conformal system.”
But while BCI techn offers a tantalising horizon for those suffering from neurological conditions, this research is being increasingly followed and even funded, by technology giant like Facebook.
This has led to some experts like Mr Vachon fearing the price to pay for these cognitive devices is surrendered cognitive liberty for more streamlined online services and better targeted ads?
He said: “It is interesting that Facebook recently bought CTRL-Labs, which has been a leader in this space and I think that signals BCI is going to become fast-tracked, with hundreds of billions of dollars and 10s of thousands of engineers working on this type of project.
“Facebook, owning that kind of interfaces is an interesting thing, especially when you have the fluidic ethics of a company like Facebook.
“I’m being very kind when I say ‘fluidic ethics’ as these guys are pretty dirty rotten scoundrels when it comes to users’ privacy.”