What is Neurotechnology?
Neurotechnology is any technology which allows us to understand the brain, consciousness and thought processes. Neural networks, on the other hand, are the merger of this biological intelligence with machine intelligence, and is usually referencing the connection between the human brain and computers.
The idea of a brain-computer interface is not new. These devices currently sit atop of your head and allow for communication between brain and machine. They are often used in circumstances of brain injury and help the brain to perform tasks. For instance in March, a man paralyzed from the neck down moved his hand using the power of concentration.
Now however, the relationship between neurotechnology and neural networks is expanding away from one-directional activity (brain to computer), towards bi-directional activity. This allows for messages to be sent from the computer directly to your brain.
The benefits of having this two-way communication stream is said to deliver enhanced intelligence, greater memory retention, improved neural healthcare and understanding. As a result, notable Silicon Valley companies Neuralink and Kernel are leading the research and driving this innovation.
Elon Musk, founder of Neuralink, has ambitions to allow the brain to upload and download thoughts whilst Kernel founder Bryan Johnson is concentrating on improving neural care by gathering large sets of previously unreachable data from the brain.
Whilst this might sound exciting for some (and shocking for others!), it is worth remembering that the technology to deliver these ambitions is still in the planning stages. It is also facing significant challenges from industry. Not only are surgeons unwilling to trial implants in human brains, but it is argued that scientists will develop ways of reading and simulating the brain from the outside. Therefore, negating the need for this ‘neural lace’.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this future development! Are you excited or weary? Please leave a comment below.