The United States military has invested millions of dollars to develop an implant that would allow us to plug computers directly into our brains. Or looking at it another way: an implant that would allow us to plug our brains directly into computers. The end game is some kind of socket or wireless communication chip that could transmit information in either direction: machines would transmit experiences, such as touch or vision, directly into our brains; and we would be able to control computerized devices with our thoughts alone.
This article is the second in a series about using technology to overcome the most primal challenges to humanity: disease, aging and death.
When I taught Introduction to Cognitive Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, I put the following thought experiment to my students: Imagine that we could study a single neuron in your brain so well that we know everything about it. We know how it reacts to signals from other neurons, we know how it responds to neurotransmitters and hormones. We know exactly how it affects the rest of your brain and body. And with that knowledge, we build a tiny artificial imitation of that one neuron, and we replace the original neuron with our imitation. Nothing is different about how your body or brain works: as far as everything else in your body is concerned, nothing has changed.
This is the first in a series about using technology to overcome the most primal challenges to humanity: disease, aging, and death.
In 2011, Russian multi-billionaire Dmitry Itskov founded the 2045 Initiative, a nonprofit research-supporting organization focused on the goal of “indefinite life extension”-- that is, allowing people to live as long as they choose (barring catastrophic accidents) by finding a way to transfer human minds into completely synthetic bodies.