As the pace of technological evolution gets faster and faster, the ways we input information into our machines is starting to feel like a bit of a bottleneck.
That could be why everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Elon Musk, to the Department of Defense, is investing in brain-computer interfaces.
That allowed humans to control and communicate with machines using only our minds.
Brain computer interfaces, or BCIs for short, started to be researched in the 1970s and can be divided into three basic categories.
Invasive BCIs are surgically embedded into the subject's brain.
Partially invasive BCIs are surgically embedded outside the brain, and non-invasive BCIs don't require surgery at all.
One of the benefits of invasive and partially invasive BCIs is that they allow for stronger and clearer communication of brain signals.
In this example, a partially invasive BCI uses surgically implanted electrodes to allow the subject> To feel sensations experienced by a robot hand as if it was his own hand being touched.
Blindfolded, the subject was able to identify which fingers were being touched on the robotic hand with nearly 100% accuracy.
However brain surgeries are risky and expensive, which is why many people in the scientific community are pushing for further development of non invasive.
Use of BCIs.
DARPA an agency under the US department of defence has been interested in BCI technology since it's infancy.
Decades later DARPA is still investing in it.
It's latest challenge to the community is a wearable BCI for service members, that would allow them to control drones, cyber defence systems and more.
Researchers from the University of Florida have already proven that a wearable brain computer interface can control a drone's movements.
So a more complex system like what DARPA is envisioning might be closer to reality than you think.
If soldiers controlling drone swarms with their mind is too far out for you, Consider a simpler application of this technology.
Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk have both been developing their own brain computer interfaces for a few years now.
And they seem to have very different goals in mind.
Zuckerberg and his team envision a shower cap like device that could function as a brain mouse to let users navigate augmented-reality apps.
Sounds a bit like MIT's wearable BCI alter ego, which can understand unspoken words and commands to navigate menus and can give audio feedback to the wearer via bone conduction.
Elon Musk's BCI project is called Neuralink.
Founded in 2016, details on Neuralink are hard to come by.
Musk has said his main reason for pursuing BCI technology, is to create a symbiotic relationship between Human Intelligence and Artificial Intelligence.
Perhaps in the hope that we lowly humans can get on the AI's good side before it adversely overwhelms our own capabilities, and we can no longer contain its growth I think danger or AI's much greater than the danger of nuclear war by a lot
BCIs and our ability to make use of them are only going to get better.
Days ago, a study was released that demonstrated two new improvements in BCI technology.
The study participants were tasked with mentally chasing and moving target around the screen.
In the experiments, researchers were testing a new BCI platform that could more accurately interpret fuzzy brain signals, as well as a new way of training people to use BCIs.
As it turns out, learning through a continuous pursuit task Such as chasing the dot around the screen is a for more effective way to train people on a BCI compared to training forks on completion of one specific task.
Together the new technology and new trainign method increase perfomance by 500%.
And when reserchers swapped up the cursor for robot arm.
The transition was seamless.
So BC eyes are coming.
What could that mean?
Well, it's easy to imagine a future where we could use bci's to control Mech suits and other robotic exoskeletons.
We could also someday send messages to other people without saying a word And if we're able to combine BCIs with virtual or augmented reality, we can eventually be able to dream things into a digital existence.
But this technology also poses significant risk.
Merging our brains with computers begs the question, What would a hacker be able to accomplish with a brain computer interface?
Do we trust Mark Zuckerberg, the guy with everyone's face and data, to also have access to our thoughts?
And lastly, if augmentation be a BCI makes people stronger, smarter, and faster, who will access to that technology?
Will it be a privilege for only those who can afford it?
And, if so, will it further exasperate the gap between the haves And the have nots.
Thanks so much for watching What the Future.
I'm your host, Jesse Orrel.
See you next time.