Lately all players started to spend real money on brain-computer interfaces and mating of the two in some ways. Amongst them there is Neuralink of Elon Musk, the 100 million-dollars Kernel of Braintree, the works of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP), and Facebook’s own Building 8 project.
But the joint intelligence and military efforts are much older, so it is time to close the gaps, some apparently said in these circles. This time it means that under the blanket name of Neural Engineering System Design (NESD), a system “with the goal of developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world” is being developed.
A myriad of heavy-hitters are financed trough this program to come up with something useful, like the Brown University, the Columbia University, and the UC Berkeley. Meanwhile, Paradromics is granted a lump sum of 15-some million to start actual work on the topic.
While it is clearly a military-funded experiment, DARPA calms us down by stating that “such an interface would convert the electrochemical signaling used by neurons in the brain into the ones and zeros that constitute the language of information technology, and do so at far greater scale than is currently possible. The work has the potential to significantly advance scientists’ understanding of the neural underpinnings of vision, hearing, and speech and could eventually lead to new treatments for people living with sensory deficits”, so it is with some uncertainty to think that it will be used for something else, other than healing neurological patients. But it certainly can not be ruled out, that is the problem.