IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 11

developing ultra-high-bandwidth BCIs to connect humans
and computers.
In an interview with the news outlet Axios, Musk said
Neuralink's mission is to build a hard drive for the human
brain, with the long-term aspiration of achieving a symbiosis with artificial intelligence (AI). Musk says his new technology will be able to seamlessly combine humans with
computers, invasively, through an "electrode-to-neuron
interface at a micro level," and "a chip and a bunch of tiny
wires" that will be "implanted in your skull." Musk believes
this is obtainable "probably on the order of a decade."
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that some scientists associated with Neuralink outlined a way to rapidly
implant electrical wiring into the brains of rats in an
unpublished academic paper. Described as a "sewing
machine" for the brain, at its essence the method embeds
flexible electrodes into brain tissue. Bloomberg writes
this could be a path forward to monitoring-and potentially stimulating-brain activity with minimal cranial
harm, which would allow Neuralink to build a device
with artificial intelligence that people could access with
their thoughts.
Brain/Cloud Interface
The results of a study published earlier this year in Frontiers in Neuroscience suggests that BCIs, like much else,
may eventually migrate to the cloud.
The study, led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley and the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, reports that advances in nanotechnology,
nanomedicine, AI, and computation will lead to the development of what the researchers referred to as a "Brain/
Cloud Interface," or B/CI for short.
B/CI will connect neurons and synapses in the brain to
cloud-computing networks in real time, giving people
instant access to vast knowledge and computing power via
thought alone, according to the study. Dubbed "neural
nanorobotics" by the researchers, it involves the use of
implanted nanorobots that are connected to a network in
real time. These "Matrix"-style downloads could be realized in as soon as 20 to 30 years.
"These devices would navigate the human vasculature,
cross the blood-brain barrier, and precisely autoposition
themselves among, or even within, brain cells," said Robert
Freitas, Jr., the study's senior author. "They would then
wirelessly transmit encoded information to and from a
cloud-based supercomputer network for real-time brainstate monitoring and data extraction."
According to a co-author of the report, Nuno Martins, a
professor of electrical and computer engineering at the
University of Maryland, "A human B/CI system mediated
by neural nanorobotics could empower individuals with
instantaneous access to all cumulative human knowledge
available in the cloud, while significantly improving
human learning capacities and intelligence."

	

While the authors estimate that today's supercomputers possess sufficient processing speeds capable of handling the neural data for B/CI, other barriers exist.
"This challenge includes not only finding the bandwidth for global data transmission," says Martins, "but
also how to enable data exchange with neurons via tiny
devices embedded deep in the brain." One proposal is the
use of "magnetoelectric nanoparticles" to effectively
amplify communication between neurons and the cloud.
While neural nanorobotics will be in development for
decades to come, it is a strong indicator of where this technology likely is headed.
Internet of Minds
As neuro-technologies advance, we can soon expect the
development of the "Internet of Minds" (IoM), in which
computing devices are neuro-controlled, says Michael
Smith of the Center for Neural Engineering & Prostheses
at the University of California, Berkeley. Instead of controlling the Internet of Things with our smartphones via
our fingers, Smith suggests in the future we will control
the IoT with our smartphones via BCI wearables (and AI,
which will also play a major role).
Smith says the earliest stages of the IoM are likely to
focus on devices that can decode motor responses and verbal commands directly from the brain. "Such devices
would dramatically simplify our ability to interact with
devices such as smartphones, self-driving cars, translation
devices and so on," he says.
Soon thereafter, Smith said, it is likely IoM devices will
be developed that can decode information that has not
reached the level of conscious awareness or volitional control. This would enable entirely new applications such as
self-driving cars that react instantly to dangers perceived
by the occupants, or devices that convey emotional states.
According to Smith, these kinds of IoM technologies
pose serious ethical challenges regarding privacy, and they
open a potential side-channel for downloading information
directly from the brain without either consent or awareness of the hack.
In the long term, technical advances will likely lead to
full two-way, bi-directional communication between minds
and machines. Such devices will bypass the limitations of
our five senses, potentially increasing the bandwidth of
the brain dramatically. However, writing information
directly to the brain introduces even more serious ethical
challenges, because that could fundamentally alter one's
sense of agency, and perception of the world.
At that point, says Smith, "The question is, will we control the phone, or will the phone control us?"
About the Author
John Delaney is a freelance technology writer based in
New York City.


Ju ly 2020

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE	

11



IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020

Contents
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - Cover1
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - Cover2
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - Contents
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 2
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 3
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 4
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 5
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 6
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 7
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 8
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 9
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 10
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 11
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 12
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 13
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 14
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 15
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 16
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 17
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 18
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 19
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 20
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 21
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 22
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 23
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 24
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 25
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 26
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 27
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 28
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 29
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 30
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 31
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 32
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 33
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 34
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 35
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 36
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 37
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 38
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 39
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 40
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 41
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 42
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 43
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 44
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 45
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 46
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 47
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 48
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 49
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 50
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 51
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 52
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 53
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 54
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 55
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 56
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - Cover3
IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/smc_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_1017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0717
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0417
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0117
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_1016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0716
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0416
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0116
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_1015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0715
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0415
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/ieee/systems_man_cybernetics_0115
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com