The are some that believe that artificial intelligence left unmanaged represents one the biggest terminal threats to mankind. Others believe that there are risks with A.I. but we can manage them and the gains outweigh the dangers. Artificial intelligence science is now progressing at an amazing speed.
Currently AI programs using deep learning programs that learn from their mistakes and rewrite their own pieces of code in response to what they learn are better at many things than humans. Chess and the game-show Jeopardy are but two examples of this. You have to ask given the current pace of development, where is all this going.
We are pursuing A.I. for what seems like all the right reasons. A.I. promises to provide step changes in autonomous ( driver-less vehicles and all the jobs that go with that), machine control, simulation programs for education and healthcare, domestic robots, augmented reality, space travel and just about any other area of human endevour.
Elon Musk who you may know of as the brains behind the Tesla Electric car company turned energy company that also develops batteries and solar panels, Space-X and other new ventures like The Boring company which plans to build underground tunnels for high-speed transportation. Actually this is only a partial list of his bright ( wild ) ideas.
Elon is firmly in the camp that artificial intelligence development is placing us on a road that will end in the ruin of the human race. However he has an idea that will give us the same perceived benefits of A.I. without the inherent dangers. The idea is that if we could connect the human brain through a direct interface to computers we could stay in control over the ever improving processor speeds of computers thereby replacing the need for A.I.
This connection if done seamlessly would in effect open up a world of consciousness that we have a hard time even contemplating. What if you had unlimited recall of events, access to all of the data of the internet and the ability it offload computations to the hard side or virtual part of your brain? Will this give us all of the advantage that we foresee with A.I. Good question right?
Elon is betting that it will and has started a new company that will focus on the development of ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers. The company is named Neuralink and they are hiring right now for a location is San Francisco. The technology will initially feature something they have called Neuralace which is brain sensor network that is planned to be implanted under the skin on your head. This will act as the connection between the signals of the brain and the computer.
This science is real and so are the research dollars pouring into this research. Let’s hear from an expert about the very real technology of brain-computer interfacing and what they see happening in the not so distant future.
The way humans interact with computers has evolved from punch cards, to the keyboard and mouse, to much more sophisticated user interfaces, but the kinds of connections imagined in movies like The Matrix, Avatar or Pacific Rim still seem like science fiction. Polina Anikeeva is working to turn fiction into fact, not to help with virtual reality technology, but to help amputees restore full functionality to prosthetic limbs – not just to control the muscles, but to be able to feel and touch again. To achieve this, you need the precision of a virtuoso pianist to connect neural tissue to the prosthetic limb. The key to this precision is finding the right materials.
About the video:
Dr. Polina Anikeeva is an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and a principle investigator of the Bioelectronics group. Her research lies in the field of neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces. Together with her group she explores optoelectronic, fiber-based and magnetic approaches to minimally invasive neural interrogation. Her group was first to demonstrate multifunctional flexible fibers for simultaneous optical stimulation, electrical recording and drug delivery in the brain and spinal cord, as well as magnetic nanomaterials for wireless magnetic deep brain stimulation. Her work at the interface of materials science and neurobiology earned a number of junior faculty awards including NSF CAREER and DARPA Young Faculty Award and was recently featured across popular press. She received her doctoral degree in Materials Science from MIT.