You are a cyborg.
Imagine life without a smartphone. I know, I can’t either. More and more, humans are becoming intertwined with computers. What used to be giant lumbering machines are now pocket-sized powerhouses. While computers are getting faster and faster at break-neck speeds, the way we interact with computers has actually taken a back-step.
Sure, the ever increasing ability of computers to carry out complex mathematical operations at unfathomable rates has enabled some pretty amazing things. Advanced capabilities such as image recognition, voice recognition, and machine learning have drastically increase the accuracy and diversity of information that computers can use to understand what we are trying to tell them. Still though, the most common way to interact with any given computer system is through a keyboard.
Ladies And Gentlemen, The 103-Key IBM Model M Keyboard
Introduced in 1986, a year before I was, the IBM Model M keyboard was an extremely successful product simply due to its ease of use. With the Model M, people no longer had to convert their typewriters for computer use or build their own custom solution. The Model M had a very high build-quality which gave typists the confidence and satisfaction of tactile feedback, through a high degree of accuracy and comfort. The only real complaint that any of its users had was that the ‘Enter’ and ‘Shift’ keys were apparently not large enough for the majority of people’s preferences.
With over a hundred keys and a place to put each finger, the PC Keyboard provided an efficient and familiar way to interface with computers technology. Remember, humans had been using typewriters for quite a while and by then, were already highly adapted to the typewriters QWERTY layout.
The thing is, what we used to use all of our fingers for is now done with only a pair of thumbs. Touchscreen phones and tablets have become the dominate form of computers in the consumer market and while their ease of use and surprising level of effectiveness has enabled us to do all kinda of interesting and amazing things that could not have been done with a traditional keyboard, overall, the speed in which a human can enter data into a computer has dropped over time.
What We’ve Got Here Is A Failure To Communicate
You see, some computers you just can’t reach. Enter Neuralink.
One of Elon Musk’s two brain-machine interface companies, Neuralink, has scheduled an event this week to give us an update on its progress since last year. While details are scares at the moment, we are pretty sure there is going to be some sort of live demonstration. Let’s just hope it goes better than the Cybertruck windows.
Elon Tweeted: ‘Will show neurons firing in real-time on August 28th. The matrix in the matrix.’
Elon also teased about the announcement Neuralink made earlier this year . Musk wrote, ‘Wait until you see the next version vs what was presented last year. It’s awesome. The profound impact of high bandwidth, high precision neural interfaces is underappreciated. Neuralink may have this in a human as soon as this year. Just needs to be unequivocally better than Utah Array, which is already in some humans and has severe drawbacks.’
Neuralink’s over-arching goal is to facilitate human symbiosis with AI (Artificial Intelligence). In order to do that, one must connect electrodes to various portions of the the brain. Only then can you get a good enough and signal in large enough numbers to achieve a high level of human-computer interaction. Done this way, a massive amount of data can be obtained and Neuralink’s software uses that to learn how those signals are used and propagated through the brain to give the rest of your body its commands.
Neuralink also has great potential in the medical industry. Neurologically compromised patients would majorly benefit from the technology as it would be able to aide and, in many ways, enable research and therapies that are currently difficult or otherwise impossible. Doctors will be able to restore and improve human movement, limb functions, and enable eyesight. They will be able to bring back people’s hearing, and even help with diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Elon let us know via Twitter that the event is going to take place at 6PM Eastern Standard Time tomorrow, August 28th.
According to Elon, the version of Neuralink that will be in the demo is going to be ‘awesome.’ It’s not that the last version he demoed wasn’t amazing or anything, it’s just that at that time, it was pretty clear that the device had a long way to go before it was ready.
The device that he will be showing Friday, though, is going to be closer to a working prototype.
CNET is going to be covering the event live on their ‘Highlights ‘ YouTube channel, so if you want to check it out, that’s the best place to do so. We will embed the live stream here. Right around 3PM Elon’s time (PST) things will get going.
Remember, the goal here is to connect the brain to provide a high bandwidth interface between the human mind and computers. This will be achieved by installing ultra-tiny electrodes into the brain. They connect wirelessly to a small device that sits behind the ear. That device then connects to your phone. This device will also be very useful for those that neurological damage and spinal cord injuries.
As Elon has stated, Neuralink will change the world, but what honestly, what does this man do that hasn’t revolutionized whatever industry he did it in? The man is brilliant. He said, ‘Don’t want to get too excited, but the potential is truly transformational for restoring brain & motor functions.’ on Twitter back in February. There are still many, many unanswered questions, but that’s what this demo is for.
Featured Image Credit: [Neuralink]