By: Zoë Corbyn | Are brain implants the future of thinking? | Neuroscience | The Guardian
Brain-computer interface technology is moving fast and Silicon Valley is moving in. Will we all soon be typing with our minds?
Almost two years ago, Dennis Degray sent an unusual text message to his friend. “You are holding in your hand the very first text message ever sent from the neurons of one mind to the mobile device of another,” he recalls it read. “U just made history.”
Degray, 66, has been paralysed from the collarbones down since an unlucky fall over a decade ago. He was able to send the message because in 2016 he had two tiny squares of silicon with protruding metal electrodes surgically implanted in his motor cortex, the part of the brain that controls movement. These record the activity in his neurons for translation into external action. By imagining moving a joystick with his hand, he is able to move a cursor to select letters on a screen. With the power of his mind, he has also bought products on Amazon and moved a robotic arm to stack blocks.
Elon Musk worries about the threat posed by artificial intelligence and claims BCIs may provide a way of keeping up with it
Beyond typing, no one is too specific. Brain commands to smart speakers? Brain-to-brain communication? Enhanced memory?