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Brains, Computers, and Robots – What it Means For Psychology, Disability, and Enhancement

Before we end up with some kind of Bad Hollywood Sci-Fi AI that for some reason uses the horribly inefficient human body as a power source, we’re stuck with the mind. We are already doing with our minds what machines do with humans in the classic movie ‘The Matrix’.

Animal brains, that is. Scientists at the University of Reading removed the neural cortex of a fetal rat, placed it in a nutrient- and neuron-rich broth surrounding a circuit board, and waited. More than 300,000 rat neurons eventually made their own new and unique connections to the cortex and circuit board:

“After about five days, patterns of electrical activity can be detected as neurons transmit signals around what has become a very dense network of axons and dendrites. The neurons appear to fire randomly, producing voltage pulses known as action potentials. However, many or all of them will detonate together, a phenomenon known as “detonation”.

After this bio-computer was sufficiently mature, they equipped it with wheels and sensors. Interestingly, it moved automatically and avoided walls in a rat-like manner. The full article and demo video are at New Scientist. Don’t expect your mechanical Roomba to become obsolete anytime soon, but you better teach your cat some self-control while you wait.

There are also test flights of moths that are controlled with high precision by human hands due to an insect brain-chip interface. Using a specific type of moth whose flying trigger is a simple on/off signal, rather than requiring a signal for each beat of its wings, was a big leap. Scientists can now control these insects remotely with much less battery power, greater precision (even checking their position and speed in flight), and better video feedback systems. Cockroaches are old news when it comes to this kind of insect dominance, they can already be considered vehicles perfected to the level of remote control toys.

Obviously everyone will be concerned about privacy. Forward thinking: Invest in the fumigation and extermination industry while it’s still cheap.

When it comes to human brains, we are a bit more complex than insects, so luckily we have a few decades left before total domination by evil technocratic elitist corporations funded by Illuminati machine lords. But there are actually brilliant studies going on right now in human neuromechanics that will surely fuel the debate between conspiracy theorists and religious fundamentalists worldwide.

There are already many robots that are controlled entirely by human thoughts with no physical controls. Brown University (Shameless Plug: Go Bruno!), is leading research into brain control of robotic prosthetics for the disabled with the BrainGate program. Many deaf people can now hear well because of the direct brain-implant interface.

Where does this all lead? Renowned futurist and engineer Ray Kurzweil predicts that many of us will choose to add computing power and knowledge to our biological brains (as well as the rest of our bodies), enhancing our mental health, abilities and intelligence while maintaining our basic personality, individuality. and humanity. Some say we will lose our unique individualism as we merge with machines, I predict the opposite. Just as an uneducated, starved brain from the medieval dark ages or poverty-stricken Africa is limited compared to an educated healthy brain, in the future our minds will expand and become more diverse in psychology, ideas, creativity and perception, as we voluntarily tamper with our intelligence, speed of thought, memory, and even the way the basic elements of our brain are organized. Similar to how a prosthetic leg helps someone walk again or a pacemaker allows someone to live extra years, brain-computer interfaces will be just another step.

Evolution, however random, is pretty inefficient. Evolution has brought us to great places, but also to great suffering. As Kurzweil says, we will overcome the limitations of our biology.

Another step in the natural evolution of the universe, I believe.

What do you think;

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