The US Military Wants A Chip To Translate Your Brain Activity Into Binary Code

The US Military Wants a Chip to Translate Your Brain Activity Into Binary Code

It's been a weird day for weird science. Not long after researchers claimed victory in performing a head transplant on a monkey, the US military's blue-sky R&D agency announced a completely insane plan to build a chip that would enable the human brain to communicate directly with computers. What is this weird, surreal future? It's all real, believe it or not. Or at least the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) desperately wants it to be. The first wireless brain-to-computer interface actually popped up a few years ago, and DARPA's worked on various brain chip projects over the years. But there are shortcomings to existing technology: According to today's announcement, current brain-computer interfaces are akin to "two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem". They just aren't fast enough for truly transformative neurological applications, like restoring vision to a blind person. This would ostensibly involve connecting a camera that can transmit visual information directly to the brain, while the implant would translate the data into neural language.

To accomplish this magnificent feat, DARPA is launching a new program called Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) that stands to squeeze some characteristically bonkers innovation out of the science community. In a press release, the agency describes what's undoubtedly the closest thing to a Johnny Mneumonic plot-line you've ever seen in real life. It reads:

A new DARPA program aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide unprecedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the human brain and the digital world. The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemical language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology.

So DARPA wants to turn neural language into digital code, potentially opening up scenarios wherein the human brain can mainline data and people can talk to machines simply by thinking. Like having the internet inside your head — which would not be overwhelming at all.

[DARPA]

Image: Shutterstock


Comments

    >What is this weird, surreal future?
    This is the logical, obvious future.
    Fixed that for you.
    Also: hurry up already.

      Agreed, mind to machine interfaces are not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN.

      Also, the possible debates of SHOULD over CAN will be truncated by the first person who has their blindness/paralysis cured via one of these interfaces.

      There will be a learning curve! Someone will get their brain hacked (e.g. ghost in the shell), and there will be a rise of "Pure Humans" as a movement. But those willing to test boundaries, and embrace change will be the first to benefit from such things as instant mental access to all of human knowledge.

      In 50 to 150 years, the idea that we ever operated computers and machines with simple objects such as keyboards and mice will seem outdated and quaint. Akin to us looking back on the pony express or carrier pigeon.

        Where can I sign up? I want this.

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