A future 'human brain/cloud interface' will give people instant access to vast knowledge via thought alone

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Imagine a future technology that would provide instant access to the world's knowledge and artificial intelligence, simply by thinking about a specific topic or question. Communications, education, work, and the world as we know it would be transformed.

Writing in Frontiers in Neuroscience, an international collaboration led by researchers at UC Berkeley and the US Institute for Molecular Manufacturing predicts that exponential progress in nanotechnology, nanomedicine, AI, and computation will lead this century to the development of a "Human Brain/Cloud Interface" (B/CI), that connects brain cells to vast cloud-computing networks in real time.

Nanobots on the brain

The B/CI concept was initially proposed by futurist-author-inventor Ray Kurzweil, who suggested that neural nanorobots – brainchild of Robert Freitas, Jr., senior author of the research – could be used to connect the neocortex of the human brain to a "synthetic neocortex" in the cloud. Our wrinkled neocortex is the newest, smartest, 'conscious' part of the brain.

Freitas' proposed neural nanorobots would provide direct, real-time monitoring and control of signals to and from brain cells.

"These devices would navigate the human vasculature, cross the blood-brain barrier, and precisely autoposition themselves among, or even within ," explains Freitas. "They would then wirelessly transmit encoded information to and from a cloud-based supercomputer network for real-time brain-state monitoring and data extraction."

The internet of thoughts

This cortex in the cloud would allow "Matrix"-style downloading of information to the brain, the group claims.

"A human B/CI system mediated by neuralnanorobotics could empower individuals with instantaneous access to all cumulative human knowledge available in the cloud, while significantly improving human learning capacities and intelligence," says lead author Dr. Nuno Martins.

B/CI technology might also allow us to create a future "global superbrain" that would connect networks of individual human brains and AIs to enable collective thought.

"While not yet particularly sophisticated, an experimental human 'BrainNet' system has already been tested, enabling thought-driven information exchange via the cloud between individual brains," explains Martins. "It used electrical signals recorded through the skull of 'senders' and magnetic stimulation through the skull of 'receivers,' allowing for performing cooperative tasks.

"With the advance of neuralnanorobotics, we envisage the future creation of 'superbrains' that can harness the thoughts and thinking power of any number of humans and machines in real time. This shared cognition could revolutionize democracy, enhance empathy, and ultimately unite culturally diverse groups into a truly global society."

When can we connect?

According to the group's estimates, even existing supercomputers have processing speeds capable of handling the necessary volumes of neural data for B/CI – and they're getting faster, fast.

Rather, transferring neural data to and from supercomputers in the cloud is likely to be the ultimate bottleneck in B/CI development.

"This challenge includes not only finding the bandwidth for global data transmission," cautions Martins, "but also, how to enable data exchange with neurons via tiny devices embedded deep in the brain."

One solution proposed by the authors is the use of 'magnetoelectric nanoparticles' to effectively amplify communication between neurons and the cloud.

"These nanoparticles have been used already in living mice to couple external magnetic fields to neuronal electric fields – that is, to detect and locally amplify these magnetic signals and so allow them to alter the electrical activity of neurons," explains Martins. "This could work in reverse, too: produced by neurons and nanorobots could be amplified via magnetoelectric nanoparticles, to allow their detection outside of the skull."

Getting these nanoparticles – and nanorobots – safely into the via the circulation, would be perhaps the greatest challenge of all in B/CI.

"A detailed analysis of the biodistribution and biocompatibility of nanoparticles is required before they can be considered for human development. Nevertheless, with these and other promising technologies for B/CI developing at an ever-increasing rate, an 'internet of thoughts' could become a reality before the turn of the century," Martins concludes.


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More information: Nuno R. B. Martins et al. Human Brain/Cloud Interface, Frontiers in Neuroscience (2019). DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00112
Journal information: Frontiers in Neuroscience

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Apr 12, 2019
why is this on phys.org rather than on a science fiction website? it's nonsense.

Apr 12, 2019
You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Apr 12, 2019
This is as much BS as putting a human consciousness in an android body.

Apr 12, 2019
... instant access to the world's knowledge and ... unlimited access to cute kitten videos!

Apr 12, 2019
Yes, if we have magic technology we can do this.

Apr 12, 2019
Science fiction has long envisioned brain/computer interfaces. The trick is not imagining it, the trick is developing interfaces which work and which don't harm the human.

If we were ever to develop such systems, first you would have to prove you were not a robot. Then you would be assailed with cookies and pop up windows.

Probably crash your brain.

Apr 12, 2019
The problem here is reciprocity. They will have access to your thoughts as well. Good luck if you commit a thought crime.

Apr 12, 2019
What could possibly go wrong?

Apr 12, 2019
this way there will be no need for learning, since all the info will be accessible immediately on the cloud. now, cut of the connection and you will end up with useless crowd of morons..., good idea for Big Brother control

Apr 12, 2019
Why it is in this newsletter is that they Have Done This, to a limited extent, already, as far as the article says. They say they did a low sophistication human version of it, which means that it is now 'Science' rather than 'Science Fiction'.

The difference is between theory and experiment, and they have found that yes, it can be done but is still limited by exact bandwidths of the individuals and the slow bit-rate and large size of present probe-sensors and activators.

There are a lot of possibilities here, but as above, too much chance of Big Brother or Nasty Neighbor or Commercialized Corprat's, the present way the internet is run as a free-for-all piracy platform for the commercialization of individual's personal data as far as habits, consumption, social network etc. Very easy to abuse without major firewalls and severe restrictions.

But there is a lot of promise to the tech as well, if we can grow up enough to use it right.

Apr 12, 2019
"if we can grow up enough to use it right"

Aye, there's the rub.

Apr 12, 2019
And if Trump STILL doesn't have a brain, - where is the benefit?

Apr 12, 2019
the science doesn't even exist yet. this is useless scifi speculation until we know more, a lot more.

Apr 12, 2019
And yet a maximally connected network does not exhibit more interesting metrics. And it is by nothing which we distinguish. All this jazz, and lights and mirrors, for the same dimensiality constraints, of persons with the same shallow thesises.
More is not necessarily better. I am deep enough to be shallow, to state the practice of gratitude will make a return. Gratitude for the simple, accessible, trivial, intuit. There is no difference between the recurrence of a concept nonlocally, and its transaction.

Apr 12, 2019
Another missing Component is DNA in Petridish. Is there no way to add it too to the Interface ?
There was some Great DNA News a few hours ago -- They started it all with 55 Base Seed !

Apr 12, 2019
Yes, if we have magic technology we can do this.

Yes.. ALL RELIGIONS. Stupidity Extraordinaires.

Apr 12, 2019
Science fiction has long envisioned brain/computer interfaces. The trick is not imagining it, the trick is developing interfaces which work and which don't harm the human. If we were ever to develop such systems, first you would have to prove you were not a robot. Then you would be assailed with cookies and pop up windows. Probably crash your brain.
Don't ever be NEGATIVE in your THINKING PROCESS which is the Greatest Boon to Human Brain ALONE ! A Lizard knows to survive on insects, but still makes a mistake of scurrying near your feet !

Apr 12, 2019
this way there will be no need for learning, since all the info will be accessible immediately on the cloud. now, cut of the connection and you will end up with useless crowd of morons..., good idea for Big Brother control
Just DON'T CONNECT Animal Brains to this Interface, at least for the present. Then, It will be Good to Go. A Ph.D to Human Infant right away. A Greatness Unimaginable !

Apr 12, 2019
After DNA structure & function more than half a century ago, this Future Greatness !
National Institute of Health finds that Brains may solidify memories of new skills just practiced.
https://medicalxp...ort.html

Apr 12, 2019
faster please®©

And if Trump STILL doesn't have a brain, - where is the benefit?


Most effective president in the modern era. More to come.

Apr 13, 2019
In less than a human lifetime, we will unlock the secrets of brain physiology. In a similar period, our machines will possess artificial general intelligence and beyond. At such time, transferring human consciousness to a machine will be within reach. Humans will make the giant evolutionary leap from biological, carbon based entities to digital.

Apr 13, 2019
And if Trump STILL doesn't have a brain, - where is the benefit?


No brain? He won the presidency, god you are stupid.

Apr 13, 2019
In order for this to work well we will need a personal buffer AI to search and process for us. A secondary personality that is with us throughout our lives, from birth, recording not only everything we do and experience, but all the decisions we make, good and bad, so that it can access relevant info through this interface and feed us what we need.

And this interface will be 2-way, constantly uploading our experiences and decisions to the repository for analysis.

Our vast store of accumulated knowledge will also need a thorough, AI-conducted overhaul to rid it of all the lies and deception and inane bullshit common on human interaction. Until we can fix human brains and protect them from the point of conception on, as we are morally obligated to do, then we will suffer their influence on the collective mental and emotional health of society.

But this 'brain/cloud interface' is just the tool we will need to do that.

Apr 13, 2019
For example
why is this on phys.org rather than on a science fiction website? it's nonsense
-But we are already using this interface in it's most primitive form. Right now your thoughts are traveling through your fingertips to your keyboard, through your computer, and into the internet where primitive search engines and preference profiles are searching, sorting, processing, and feeding you tailored info back through your screen.

Your brain is a machine and thus entirely accessible. Just like any other machine, there is absolutely nothing unphysical about it. No soul, no consciousness, no metaphysical repositories or spiritual black boxes making your decisions for you.

Just a pound or 2 of ill-functioning meat, accumulating damage and decrepitude as you age, creating the illusion that unseen gods or forces are guiding you about.

Your brain functions on electricity. This electricity can be detected, its coding can be deciphered, and sensory interface circumvented.

Apr 13, 2019
Lots of articles on physorg today relevant to this:

"ICU patients with non-brain-related injuries may suffer undetected cognitive dysfunction"

"Microbiome of baby's first stool is associated with overweight at age 3 years"

"Medicaid could save $2.6 billion within a year if just 1% of recipients quit smoking"

-Understanding and solving these problems will become vastly easier once humans join the 'internet of things'.

Apr 13, 2019
I don't care about that, I just want my tinnitus cured, makes me wanna blow my brains out

Apr 13, 2019
I don't care about that, I just want my tinnitus cured, makes me wanna blow my brains out


Go for it.

Apr 13, 2019
Pntaylor, first I'll hunt you down and scatter your brains , you lowlife piece of shit

Apr 13, 2019
And your family too, chump

Apr 13, 2019
stephencrowley214
I don't care about that, I just want my tinnitus cured, makes me wanna blow my brains out


It does suck, doesn't it? I wish there were an effective treatment for that too.

Apr 13, 2019
@stephencrowley214

Dude, it was your idea. Just trying to be supportive.

Apr 13, 2019
The progressive or Islamic echo chambers taken to the next level.

Apr 13, 2019
Tinnitus could be cured by a brain interface that can disrupt the audio signal to your brain, or recalibrate your eardrums not to pick up static. It might be fixed by electrical cranial stimulation even. For me its music running on loop in the back of my head that I can't stop. Sometimes for days. I am hoping for BCI but also I too fear thought control and hacking. Thats said, they can already read your thoughts in real time with a cap, they have shown some capacity for watching peoples dreams, and you can control a computer with your brain with and without implants. They have also stored data and read it back from a strand of DNA after 1000 replications. This isn't fantasy anymore and if you dismiss it as such you just aren't in touch with reality already.

Apr 13, 2019
SciTechdude,
I have read speculation that tinnitus could possibly be cured by some form of audio suppression or brain disruption/stimulation. I doubt that would work for Miniere's disease.

Apr 13, 2019
You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

Yeah. This seems like governments' wet dream. Mandatory introduction of this into the brain at birth.
Supremely hackable and supremely hard to get out.

I love tech, but this? No thank you very much.

And if the 'internet of thougts' is like the comment sections everywhere...(and why wouldn't it beß)...I really don't think we want that.

Apr 13, 2019
There is a therapy for tinnitus called microtransponder, they zap your vagus nerve whilst playing certain tones of audio and supposedly had good success, but still isnt approved in the US yet. I often wonder, why cant I just sign a waiver saying I wont sue and then get the treatment anyway

Apr 13, 2019
I often wonder, why cant I just sign a waiver saying I wont sue and then get the treatment anyway


Because, a waiver that you will not sue will not hold up if something goes wrong. The waiver will be dismissed if you claim that you did not understand what you were doing or risking.

Waivers are generally considered better than nothing, but not by much.

If it were not in the U.S., it would not be such a problem. There are more lawyers than Starbucks in America and most of them are ready to sue.

Apr 14, 2019
Why not connect that of Chimpanzee to it first and Check whether it turns into Einstein-Like Wizard !

Apr 14, 2019
By Researchers at University of California, Berkeley and U.S Institute for Molecular Manufacturing.

Apr 14, 2019
Your brain is a machine and thus entirely accessible. Just like any other machine, there is absolutely nothing unphysical about it. No soul, no consciousness, no metaphysical repositories or spiritual black boxes making your decisions for you.


Yes, but the difficulty in these "collective brain" scenarios is manyfold:

-the "language" of each person's electrical activity is likely to be unique, so you can't develop a collective consciousness simply because the other brains' signals are noise to you. The brain doesn't operate on symbols like computers do, it operates directly on the neural signals it has from the senses, and everyone's are slightly different.

-the latency of communication keeps you from feeling the "other thoughts" as part of yourself. It has the same problem of playing video games through a dumb terminal: I/O lag cannot beat the speed of light. Add 40 milliseconds delay both ways, and things just can't work the same way.

Apr 14, 2019
In video games, the latency issue is solved by local prediction - your computer runs the game ahead of time until it receieves an update of what everyone else were actually doing, and then quickly corrects for the error.

This works because computer games are fundamentally so simple - for the 50-300 milliseconds or so that it takes for everyone to synchronize information, everyone's running local bot versions of all the players. In the dumb terminal version, this isn't possible, so you get terrible lag and real-time games become unplayable.

In the internet of brains scenario, distributed thinking wouldn't be possible because of lag. The brain integrates information at around 10-40 Hz (25-100 ms per cycle) which is basically the "clock speed of thought". You miss that train, and the brain gets confused because it's getting relevant information at the wrong time. It'd probably be a very schizophrenic experience, and prone to feedback loops much like microphone howl.

Apr 14, 2019
So not only do you have a massive amount of information to transmit, you have to do it at extremely low latencies. This is an issue because the internet latencies have gone up with more and more routing hops and larger global routing tables (growing exponentially).

To get low latencies, you need to be hard-wired by direct fiberoptic cables to a local exchange to minimize the number of routing hops and signal transformations along the way. That's how high frequency trading in stocks works: people pay good money to pull their own cables to the closest router into the stock exchange.

Any time a processor picks the bitstream to shove it down another pipe, you get more lag because the message has to be buffered in between. That's how packet switched networks operate. Making it wireless makes the situation even worse, because then you have to deal with allocation of time slots on the channel and wait for your turn to transmit.

Apr 14, 2019
Oh, and this is also the reason why we don't actually have live TV shows anymore. Not really.

It actually takes seconds to minutes to encode and compress the digital video stream and shove it down the transmission network, until your TV buffers it up for half a minute or so to benefit from error correction codes, which means that if you actually call a "live" show today, you could end the conversation well before it actually comes out of your TV set. The network needs to buffer data to use forward prediction in compression, which adds lag.

Back in the analog days, unless you deliberately built a tape buffer between the camera and the transmitter, the lag would be so small that you could hear your own voice echo as it circles through the TV back into the telephone's pickup, and people could play video games using DTMF tones (pressing buttons on the phone). That however required circuit switched phone networks as well, which are depreciated today and no longer exist.

Apr 14, 2019
To make a long argument short:

The distributed brain scenario, even if message translation between brains were possible, runs into the well-recognized issue of Amdahl's law: the potential speedup is limited by the part of the problem that cannot be made parallel: the communication lag.

Worse still, adding more computational units to a network where all units are supposed to be communicating with all others, after a critical number of processing units, throughput drops and the system becomes dumber because the amount of internal communication related to data synchronization in the network grows exponentially.

I.e. linking more brains together means nothing gets done, because all the time is spent on establishing who is supposed to be doing what, who said what... it's only efficient in a master-slave scenario where the network is already organized for specific tasks under central control.

Apr 14, 2019
Pntaylor, first I'll hunt you down and scatter your brains , you lowlife piece of shit
I understand tinnitus is a symptom of homicidal mania.

Apr 14, 2019
Yes, but the difficulty in these "collective brain" scenarios is manyfold
Yeah I dont think dysfunctional human brains trying to think collectively makes any sense either.

These networks will be analyzing our thoughts and responding to them. We have a question, an idea? They feed the answer right into our brains.

AND we in turn will be constantly feeding them realtime telemetry on our physiology, emotional state, biochemistry, etc. They will learn to think and feel just like we do.

No more google, wiki, WebMD, youtube. It's really hard to imagine what this will all be like.

BTW in the future there will be no latency. Local, probably internal, buffers will be supplied enormous amounts of info for potential use based on a lifetime of learning who we are and what we do.

And who knows what the eventual media will be?

"SpaceX latencies to be between 25 and 35ms... 4,425 sats into low-Earth orbits... aggregate downlink capacity of 17 to 23Gbps..."

-and in a century?

Apr 15, 2019
Because you have access to information, does not mean the information will be understood.
People have access to loads of information now. It does not mean they understand it.
I remember E=MC2 but only a very few can understand it fully.
Just because you have another interface to the internet will not mean the information you have access too is accurate. The most worrisome thing is that an interface is two way. NATO gets hacked regularly. It's the most protected computer system in the world. How protected is your head?

Apr 15, 2019
Just because you have another interface to the internet will not mean the information you have access too is accurate
That's why, when AI becomes capable enough, it will be tasked with removing all the junk from our accumulated store of knowledge.

This collection is the most important thing we possess, and needs to be weeded and maintained.

Apr 15, 2019
The other advantage of AI control over info is that you wont be able to lie any more. Liars, cheats, fact-fabricators will be instantly fact-checked, tagged, and restricted. And they will be instantly billed for the effort to do so.

This wont be limited to online activity. Our direct feeds will be constantly monitoring our daily interactions and providing a bullshit alarm when they detect deception, on both sides of the conversation. You will accumulate a 'trust score' which will affect your freedom to borrow and do business.

I suppose people will be able opt out of this service but then who would trust the person who did?

In the future crime will be all but impossible. The guilt of the few who do break the law will be ascertained before they ever get to court.

EVERYTHING of value will be tagged and constantly monitored by the 'internet of things'. No theft, no assault, no vandalism will go undetected. No criminal will go unpunished.

Apr 15, 2019
What was that video game not so long ago that showed your character walking down the street, seeing people with their personal info displayed above their heads? Your identity and trust score on display like a licence plate, for all to see.

You already have a credit score which is about the same thing. You share that with HR depts in order to form valuable business relationships. This new tech will enable the same sort of intimacy with personal relationships.

And again, who would trust the person who opted out?

It will facilitate the formation of trusting, caring relationships which we used to enjoy when we spent our whole lives in a single tribe. Everyone knew our past and our reputation.

This 'human brain/cloud interface' will reconnect us and restore our basic need to belong.

Apr 15, 2019
Oh, sounds known to me "The Global Village" "Net 2.0"... and what did we get? Cat videos, duckface selfies and an idiot at the helm of the USA spreading bullshit to the rest of the planet.

I'm already curious what new type of rubbish such an "internet of minds" can bring.


Apr 15, 2019
A future 'human brain/cloud interface' will give people instant access to vast knowledge via thought alone

I beg to differ, that should read -- "vast information". Knowledge is measured by your comprehension of information. Now, imagine a world full of those who think they "know", everything. I conclude, a very ignorant world, indeed.

Apr 15, 2019
the lying fraud antigoracle wrote:

A future 'human brain/cloud interface' will give people instant access to vast knowledge via thought alone

I beg to differ, that should read -- "vast information". Knowledge is measured by your comprehension of information. Now, imagine a world full of those who think they "know", everything. I conclude, a very ignorant world, indeed.


So, you don't know the difference between "knowledge" and "understanding", despite the fact that you use the word "comprehension" in the very post where you demonstrate your ignorance.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised - after all, you can't tell the difference between 6% and 14% either, as you tried to use a link saying the latter to prove the former figure that you made up.

What remains is the simple conclusion that you are a mentally deficient, dishonest crook who has never contributed anything to humanity and whose only possible use is as a fertilizer for soil.

Apr 15, 2019
Wow!! just in time for summer fun. Imagine the beach/pool scene where one can peek at everything through other's eyes. Dressing rooms won't private anymore. Neither will memories....

Apr 15, 2019
Oh, sounds known to me "The Global Village" "Net 2.0"... and what did we get? Cat videos, duckface selfies and an idiot at the helm of the USA spreading bullshit to the rest of the planet
Thats because humans are still in charge of content and distribution.

The AI we design to replace us will do far better. Thats why we began using tech in the first place - to compensate for our innate deficiencies.

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