The starting place for a discussion about innovation is a discussion about hurdleswhat are you even trying to innovate past? His plan with Mars isnt to try to convince humanity that its pros and cons of cochlear implants essay a good idea to build a civilization there in order to buy life insurance for the speciesits to create an affordable regular cargo and human transit route. Being able to read it out is an engineering problem. EEGs record electrical activity in different regions of the brain, displaying the findings like this: 34 EEG graphs can uncover information about medical issues like epilepsy, track sleep patterns, or be used to determine something like the status of a dose of anesthesia. While eating, we feed data to our cognitive apparatus. It made computing chips smaller and smaller until there was a powerful computer in everyones pocket. The authentic voice trying to get you to stop worrying so much what others think and just be yourself. Elons vision for the Wizard Era is that among the wizard hats many uses, one of its core purposes will be to serve as the interface between your brain and a cloud-based customized AI system. Well go through the very basic ideas that are relevant for our purposes. Our maximum today is a couple hundred electrodes able to measure about 500 neurons at oncewhich is either super far from a million or really close, depending on the kind of growth pattern were. The internet gave billions of humans instant, free, easily-searchable access to the entire human knowledge tower (which by now stretched past the moon). I hope thats okay.
But 50,000 years after the brains great aha! You two share the equivalent of a five-minute discussion about the sceneyour favorite parts, which other places it reminds you of, etc. That means an average cubic millimeter of cortex contains about 40,000 neurons. And lets get hungry for lunch around noon. The Human Colossus has reached an entirely new level of powerthe kind of power that can overthrow.8-billion-year eraspositioning us on pros and cons of cochlear implants essay the verge of multiple tipping points that will lead to unimaginable change. White matter is made up primarily of wiringaxons carrying information from somas to other somas or to destinations in the body. But most useful was sharing what they had learned. Heres how this essentially maps out on our real brain: Lets take a look at each section: The Reptilian Brain: The Brain Stem (and Cerebellum) This is the most ancient part of our brain: 10 Thats the section. This is a major topic at Neuralink. And say the answer was three inches? You look in the mirror and see your body and your face and you think thats youbut thats really just the machine youre riding.
But if enough chemicals touch his hair to raise his charge over a certain pointthe neurons threshold potentialthen it triggers an action potential, and our guy is electrocuted. Its not that hard to see why. These people are all working on this arrow: Its a relatively small group right now, but when the breakthrough spark happens, thatll quickly change. Finally, there are the blood vessels. The neuron could then act as another kind of remote control. When youre sleeping, the thalamus goes to sleep with you, which means the sensory middleman is off duty. The brain has a volume of about 1,200,000mm3, so a high-resolution fMRI scan divides the brain into about one million little cubes. He says he has to get back to what he was working on, so he cuts off the sense connections except for vision, which he reduces to a little picture-in-picture window on the side of his. When this happened, each tribes tower of accumulated knowledge could be shared with the larger super-tribe, forming a super-tower. What you actually are is a zany-looking ball of jello. The ability to record sensory input means you can also record your memories, or share themsince a memory in the first place is just a not-so-accurate playback of previous sensory input.
In other words, the progress of science, business, and industry are all at the whim of the progress of engineering. To make a neuron diagram, we can start with a guy: And then if we just give him a few extra legs, some hair, take his arms off, and stretch him outwe have pros and cons of cochlear implants essay a neuron. In on a snapshot of the world right now, out on the big story of how we got to this moment and what our far future could look like. Remember, the Human Colossus is creating superintelligent AI for the same reason it created cars, factory machines, and computersto serve as an extension of itself to which it can outsource work. Rather than launch into the full, detailed explanation for how action potentials workwhich involves a lot of unnecessary and uninteresting technical information you already dealt with in 9th-grade biologyIll link to this great Khan Academy explainer article for those who want the full story. People will be a lot more powerful, which is scary, but like Elon said, if everyone is Superman, its harder for any one Superman to cause harm on a mass scalethere are lots of checks and balances. Thats crazy slow communication. Just like if you dont will your mouth to talk, it doesnt talk. Where Id have thoughts and opinions and I could cite passages and have discussions about the themes? Then a little pacemaker computer is implanted in the upper chest and wired to the electrodes.
It has no idea what it will be like when the Computer Colossus can think for itselfwhen it one day opens its eyes and becomes a real colossusbut with its core goal to create value and push technology. So our guys body stemthe neurons axon has a negative resting potential, which means that when its at rest, its electrical charge is slightly negative. Sensory communication This one is intense. Brain interface bandwidth will get better and better as the procedures pros and cons of cochlear implants essay to implant them become simpler and cheaper. Still, todays cochlear implant allows deaf people to hear speech and have conversations, which is a groundbreaking development. As for what kind of interface theyre planning to work on first, heres what Elon said: We are aiming to bring something to market that helps with certain severe brain injuries (stroke, cancer lesion, congenital) in about four years. And you can literally trace from your retina, through your thalamus, to your visual cortex, and youll see an actual mapping from this point in space to this point in the visual cortex. Which got me thinking about the concept of how many years one would need to go into the future such that the ensuing shock from the level of progress would kill you. You can record as much video with sound as you want, take a zillion pictures, have them tagged with who they are and when it took place. Most cochlear implants have about.
Because, as the human history case study suggests, when theres something on the planet way smarter than everyone else, it can be a really bad thing for everyone else. Im pretty sure that gaining control over your limbic system is both the definition of maturity and the core human struggle. Making BMIs high-bandwidth alone would be a huge deal, as would developing a way to non-invasively implant devices. So with the electrode array implanted, researchers have the person try to move their arm in different directions. But the soma is only a tiny piece of each neuron. In the baseball stadium, LFP is a single microphone hanging over a single section of seats, picking up a crisp feed of the sounds in that area, and maybe picking out an individual voice for a second here and therebut. In these developments are the seeds of other future breakthrough technologieslike brain-to-brain communication. This group could have been in four different countries while this was happeningwith no external devices in sight. If thinking about this concept is giving you the willies, Elon has news for you: We already have a digital tertiary layer in a sense, in that you have your computer or your phone or your applications. Theres a similar revolution underway in the world of blindness, in the form of the retinal implant. But its possible to decode all of those things in the brain without truly understanding the dynamics of the computation in the brain. FMRI voxels have gotten smaller as the technology has improved, bringing the spatial resolution.
At first, this would seem odd to the pros and cons of cochlear implants essay patientbut eventually the brain can learn to treat that signal as a new sense of touch. Part 6: The Great Merger, part 1: The Human Colossus 600 million years ago, no one really did anything, ever. I think I might finally have a descriptive picture of a piece of our shocking future. So the human brain doesnt really have to learn to use the motor cortex as a remote control, because the brain already uses the motor cortex as its remote control. Part 5: The Wizard Era The budding industry of brain-machine interfaces is the seed of a revolution that will change just about everything. Your limbic system isnt making you eat your ninth Starburst candy in a row because its a dickits making you eat it because it thinks that A) any fruit that sweet and densely chewy must be super. Ive also heard 100,000 as a number that would allow for the creation of a wide range of incredibly useful BMIs with a variety of applications. We dont want to develop digital superintelligence too far before being able to do a merged brain-computer interface.
The auto industry sees the shift in consumer preferences this is beginning to create, and in the nine years since Tesla released its first car, the number of major car companies with an electric car in their. If language let humans send a thought from one brain to another, writing let them stick a thought onto a physical object, like a stone, where pros and cons of cochlear implants essay it could live forever. The foundation for that discussion is an understanding of what brain-machine interfaces are, how they work, and where the technology is today. If we really want an effective brain interface, well need something other than single-function, stiff electrodessomething with the mechanical complexity of neural circuits, that can both record and stimulate, and that can interact with neurons chemically and mechanically as well as electrically. Now, two years later, heres what he says: I was trying to really sound the alarm on the AI front for quite a while, but it was clearly having no impact (laughs) so I was like. The cortex is like a great command center, and it beams many of its orders out through the mass of axons making up the white matter beneath. If the tip is sharp enough, this wont destroy the cellthe membrane will actually seal around the electrode, making it very easy to stimulate the neuron or record the voltage difference between the inside and outside of the neuron. I feel like I could have come up with that pretty easily.
Ian Stevenson and Konrad Kording published a paper that looked at the maximum number of pros and cons of cochlear implants essay neurons that could be simultaneously recorded at various points throughout the last 50 years (in any animal and put the results on this graph: 45 Sometimes. The signals head into the spinal cord and up to the somas in the somatosensory cortex. I dont even know if it came from the cloud or if it was stored in my brain. But the stuff in betweenall that middle stuff about how each part of the brain actually does its thing? So a second boss developed in mammals to pair up with the reptilian brain and take care of all of these new needsthe worlds first limbic system. Your brains wizard hat electrode array is a new brain structure, joining your limbic system and cortex. Heres Paul again: The neural chatter in everyones arm movement part of the brain is a little bit differentits not like the neurons speak English and say moveits a pattern of electrical activity, and in everyone its a little bit different. 10 A dinner napkin.
Currently, the only speaker your ear inputs can play out of is your auditory cortex. V1 is the first area, where its tracking little edges and colors and things like that. And the beginning of this video shows the physical struggles of a man with a perfectly functional motor cortex but impaired proprioception. So people gaining monopolistic control of AI is its own problemand one that OpenAI is hoping to solve. Max Hodak, who worked on the development of some groundbreaking BMI technology at Miguel Nicoleliss lab at Duke while also commuting across the country twice a week in college to run Transcriptic, the robotic cloud laboratory for the life sciences he founded. A whole-brain interface can stimulate any part of your brain in any wayit has to have this capability for the input half of all the communication examples above.
Elon talked about this: I think that the protection of the collective is important. The era of mass communication had begun. This makes sense thoughyou need to make incredibly nuanced facial expressions and your hands need to be unbelievably dexterous, while the rest of your bodyyour shoulder, your knee, your backcan move and feel things much more crudely. A word is simply an approximation of a thoughtbuckets that a whole category of similar-but-distinct thoughts can all be shoved into. Based on what I learned from my conversations with Elon, Ramez, and a dozen neuroscientists, lets look at what the world might look like in a few decades. Part 6: The Great Merger Imagine an alien explorer is visiting a new star and finds three planets circling it, all with life on them. Weve established that Elon Musk wants to build a wizard hat for the brain, and understanding why he wants to do that is the key to understanding Neuralinkand to understanding what our future might actually be like. Youd have killed George Washington and messed everything. And its why we can form new habits and break old onesyour habits are reflective of the existing circuitry in your brain. His as this ; be at but not have had from will are they -! But unlike computer transistors, the brains neurons are constantly changing. Well the truth is, we seem to be on a lot of historic timeline boundaries.
Humanity, on the other hand, is a superintelligent, tremendously-knowledgeable, millennia-old Colossus, with.5 billion neurons. It turned our ox-drawn carts into speedy locomotives and our horse-and-buggies into shiny metal cars. Ramez has written about the effect group thinking might have on the world: That type of communication would have a huge impact on the pace of innovation, as scientists and engineers could pros and cons of cochlear implants essay work more fluidly together. Right now, your eyes are making a specific set of horizontal movements that allow you to read this sentence. More critters, not too much different. Unfortunately, it does badly on both other criteria. The magic is heading into our brains.
Weve spent the whole post so far in the past, building up to the present moment. The brain is covered with all those Russian doll layers, including the skullwhich at 1,000X would be around seven meters thick. The Human Colossus had always had to do all of its own computing. I wanted to know what life was going to be like once this all became a thing. On our scale, that means that in our cubic meter, theres a kilometer of blood vessels. He says that neural dust is inspired both by microchip technology and rfid (the thing that allows hotel key cards to communicate with the door lock without making physical contact) principles. Then I lost. These shelves became humanitys grand instruction manual on everything. And in the frontal lobeyou know, that part of the brain where you really livetheres no topography at all. As weve discussed before, knowledge works like a tree. In other words, putting our technology into our brains isnt about whether its good or bad to become cyborgs.
The Human Colossus has been inventing things ever since, getting continually better at it with time. When a guitar string or someones vocal cords or the wind or anything else makes a sound, its because its vibrating, which pushes nearby air molecules into a similar vibration and that pattern expands outward in a sphere. And the tens of millions of synapse connections in our cube would be regularly changing sizes, disappearing, and reappearing. No problemjust think out to him to request a brain connection. All of this is currently in your brain. But I bet the telephone and the car and the moon landing would have seemed like insurmountable technological challenges to people a few decades earlier. We need higher bandwidth if this is gonna become a big thing. This is what it looks like from the outside: In other words, an artificial ear, performing the same function the ear does. 2 Mass-produced books allowed information to spread like wildfire, and with books being made increasingly affordable, no longer was education an elite privilegemillions now had access to books, and literacy rates shot upwards. Neural interfaces, by contrast, can stimulate just one area at a time, can be tuned in real-time, and can carry information out about whats happening. We often dont think of the brain as so smooshy, because its normally suspended in water.
You know, thats like one year later. The axon terminals in the nerves have a little fit and start action potential-ing, sending the signal up to the brain to tell on the fly. You could save a great sex experience in the cloud to enjoy again lateror, if youre not too private a person, you could send it over to a friend to experience. Finally you have the pia mater (soft mother a fine, delicate layer of skin thats fused with the outside of the brain. The Brazil rat had the key knowledgebut the way the experiment worked, the rats only received treats when the US rat pressed the correct lever. You can see this when they do surveys of like, how long do you want to be away from your phone? Think of how much easier it is for people today to express their individuality and customize life to themselves than it was 50 or 100 or 500 years ago. But making our brains the device cuts out those tiny straws, turning all of these: To this: Which preserves all the meaning with none of the fussand changes the graph to this: Wed still be using straws, but far bigger, more effective ones. The AI would.
Theres all these levels of things going on in the brain, and visual perception is a great example of that. And he knows that the Human Colossus will work toward a goal if (and only if) theres an economic forcing function in placeif its a good business decision to spend resources innovating toward that goal. Imagine that the brain is a baseball stadium, its neurons are the members of the crowd, and the information we want is, instead of electrical activity, vocal cord activity. He responded: Genetics is just too slow, thats the problem. Right nearby, above the pia, would be a 3mm-sized device that could communicate with the dust sensors via ultrasound. Two people, in separate buildings, worked together to play a video game. What appeared to be a random infant was actually the early version of the neocortex, and though he didnt say much at first, as evolution gave rise to primates and then great apes and then early hominids. This generates a ton of competition for the secretive early pioneers, and it becomes less likely that any one inventor can create a magic wand long before others also. And with enough time, perfect vision or hearing will be restorable.
This is a ridiculous time to be aliveits just hard for us to notice because we live life so zoomed. This would have blown George Washingtons mindbut in the Wizard Era, youll be able to actually experience almost anything for free. Todays fMRI voxels can be as small as a cubic millimeter. Thats why hes such an unusual visionary. And because fMRI can scan through the whole brain, results are 3-dimensional: fMRI has many medical uses, like informing doctors whether or not certain parts of the brain are functioning properly after a stroke, and fMRI has taught neuroscientists. Because Id rather just be a gawking member of the audience, watching the movie from the edge of my seat and rooting for the good guys. Also, engineers are not operating on a bunch of brains in a lab. 6 All while operating on only 20 watts of power (an equivalently powerful computer runs on 24,000,000 watts). That means that if we were trying to record signals or stimulate neurons in this particular cubic area, wed have a lot of difficulty, because in the mess of spaghetti, it would be very hard to figure out which spaghetti. And just say all of this comes together perfectlya high-bandwidth, long-lasting, biocompatible, bidirectional communicative, non-invasively-implanted device.
The Colossus seems to be taking the treat, and a change in behavior may follow. We look at the world, and theres just this physical 3D world out therelike you look at a cup, and you just see a cupbut what your eyes are seeing is really just a bunch of pixels. Say youre on a beautiful hike and you want to show your husband the view. Now put it down. Part 3A: How Happy Are You That This Isnt Your Problem Totes.
Flip weighed in on this topic too: pros and cons of cochlear implants essay If it were a prerequisite to understand the brain in order to interact with the brain in a substantive way, wed have trouble. An NBA player could send out a livestream invitation to his fans before a game, which would let them see and hear through his eyes and ears while he plays. This is a great way to learn about that persons experience at the game, but it also gives you no context, and you cant really tell if the sounds and reactions of that person are representative of whats going on in the game. Each electrode only records a broad averagea vector sum of the charges from millions or billions of neurons (and a blurred one because of the skull). FMRI scans have a literal resolution, like a computer screen has with pixels, except the pixels are three-dimensional, cubic volume pixelsor voxels. In the future, sensory organs will be only one set of inputs into your sensesand compared to what our senses will have access to, not a very exciting one. None of this stuff will take any effort or thoughtwell all get very good at it and itll feel as automatic and subconscious as moving your eyes to read this sentence does to you now. Lets zoom back out and look at another cross section of the brainthis time cut not from front to back to show a single hemisphere, but from side to side: 22 Brain material can be divided into whats called gray matter and white matter.
Using simple EEG headsets, pros and cons of cochlear implants essay the player who could see the game would, without moving his hand, think about moving his hand to press the shoot button on a controller. He recommended I talk to Ramez Naam, writer of the popular Nexus Trilogy, a series all about the future of BMIs, and also someone with a hard tech background that includes 19 software-related patents. Creating computers that can think will be our greatest invention yettheyll allow us to outsource our most important and high-impact work. I feel like I took a time machine to the future, and Im here to tell you that its even weirder than we expect. Every new generation has this knowledge tower installed in their heads as their starting point in life, leading them to new, even better discoveries that build on what their ancestors learned, as the tribes knowledge continues to grow bigger and wiser. Finally, electrodes can fully defile the neuron and actually penetrate through the membrane, which is called sharp electrode recording.
As time passed and Earths animals started inventing intricate new body systems, the bosses got busier. The AI is just going to go by itself, because its too slow to talk. Interface bandwidth allows incoming images to be HD, incoming sound to be hi-fi, and motor movement commands to be tightly controlledbut its also a huge factor in communication. And just like that, everyones homes became magical. And we get the big picturewe know how many neurons are in the brain and what the major lobes and structures control and how much energy the whole system uses. I talked to Ramez about how accessing information in the cloud might work. For our demonstration, lets pull out a cubic meter of our giant cortex to examine, which will show us what goes on in a typical cubic millimeter of real cortex. How easy does colonizing Mars seem right now. Elons point is that the thing that makes a cyborg a cyborg is their capabilitiesnot from which side of the skull those capabilities are generated. _ If youre into Wait But Why, sign up for the Wait But Why email list and well send you the new posts right when they come out. 35 And for reasons discussed above, that kind of thing worries him: What I came to realize in recent yearsthe last couple yearsis that AI is obviously going to surpass human intelligence by a lot.
And theres other areas looking at more complicated objects, and theres all these different visual representations on the surface of your brain, that you can see. Your car (or whatever people use for transportation at that point) will pull up to your house and your mind will open the car door. Then phones became cordless. The clean version of this post, appropriate for all ages, is free to read here. For the by the people and for the people parts, he and Sam Altman created OpenAI a pros and cons of cochlear implants essay self-described non-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence. And now the bad guys development efforts can benefit from all of the innovations being published by the lab. Or, if youre running code, on a schedule. It looks like this: And his initial thinking about a new company always starts on the right and works its way left.