Friday, June 15, 2012

I am in no way a scientist, engineer, geek or any other sort of technorati. I can do math if needed and I can appreciate the niceties of science. But I am not putting myself out there as any sort of expert. I am, however, someone who is attempting to pay keen notice wherever breakthroughs promise to heavily alter our landscape (cultural and otherwise).

Let me give you an example. In ten years we will have the capability to control all electronic devices on the planet with nothing more than a thought. Creepy? More than you might fathom. In actuality, you can do it now! There is even an app for that. Let me start at the beginning. All electronics (any system, really) can be controlled by a simple binary code (0/1, on/off, etc.). This is great news because we are human and humans run on analog systems. Because we are our own starting point (we do not want machines to run the world.....we want to run the world) we are starting with our bodies - an analog system. But everything that we colloquially call technology is in a digital format. So how can we get our old analog systems to control digital systems? Especially when it comes to controlling them by thought? Well, pretty easy stuff actually. They started by looking at the very light electrical charge that your brain creates when it thinks. So if you think left your brain will light up in certain areas in a unique way. If you think right it will light up in a different way. So if you were to put some kind of ECG on your head and record and catalog those patterns you can cue each of those patterns with a command. So if you were in a car with an ecg strapped to your head and the car was controlled by commands can you get it to go where you want?

So they took these monkeys and put a joystick in their hands. The joystick controlled a robotic arm.  They soon found that when the joystick was moved to the left, the robotic arm moved to the left. It probably did not take long for them to learn that if they controlled the arm right it would reach into a bin of fruit and give the fruit to them. Now that these monkeys could control a robotic arm to give them fruit, they cut open their heads (of course). They stuck wires into their brains at the locations that executed a light electrical charge when a particular thought was thunked. So when the area that lights up when you think left the light charge sends a signal to the arm just as the joystick would. Interestingly, the joystick was still in the monkey's hand. So the monkey moves the joystick to the left, thinks left, sends the charge down the wire to the robotic arm and it moves left. The next step - remove the joystick. Picture this now and get excited. The monkeys put their hands down to their side and sat there thinking 'left' and the robotic arm moved left. Finally they put the monkey skull back on their heads and used a wireless transmitter that went from an implant in the monkey brain to a receiver on the robotic arm. Now you see nothing but a monkey a robotic arm and a bucket of fruit. The monkey thinks left and gets a banana.

They do not need to do implants any longer. There are cute little caps. I am sure that it will not be long until there is nothing on your head. If you can control a car or robotic arm you can control anything electric. That means drones, computers, lights, garage doors....anything. Help me fill in this list. I am sure I have not even scratched the surface.

I feel that we are creating some massive abilities out there that we have not thought through. We can not stop it from coming. So we had better start thinking ahead about the consequences.

Computer brain interface:

Car brain interface:

Brain robotic arm interface:

Cool games use Brain Computer Interface:

Is anyone awake?  Why are we making games with this technology? Can you guess what the government/military is doing with it?

No comments:

Post a Comment