Quote of the day—Isobel Asher Hamilton

The chip Neuralink is developing is about the size of a coin, and would be embedded in a person’s skull. From the chip, an array of tiny wires, each roughly 20 times thinner than a human hair, fan out into the patient’s brain.

The wires are equipped with 1,024 electrodes which are able to monitor brain activity  and, theoretically, electrically stimulate the brain. This data is transmitted wirelessly via the chip to computers, where it can be studied by researchers.

The second is a robot that could automatically implant the chip.

The robot would work by using a stiff needle to punch the flexible wires emanating from a Neuralink chip into a person’s brain, a bit like a sewing machine.

Isobel Asher Hamilton
February 17, 2022
Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to embed microchips in people’s skulls and get robots to perform brain surgery
[This sounds like such a great idea it should be mandatory… for politicians. The data should be posted on the Internet in real time.

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader on the feedback to be applied when the dislikes exceed the likes by a factor of two to one.

On a more serious note, I expect there will be people eager to do this. It will depend upon what sort of “apps” are available. Being able to give yourself almost instant orgasm will probably be a best seller with some people. Direct Internet access will be sufficient for others. And the math coprocessor will be the “killer app” for many of the nerds. But I don’t expect the concept will get full market penetration until virtual reality is nearly indistinguishable from the real world.

Just as with recreational drugs Darwin will provide the negative feedback and limit the adoption of this technology.—Joe]


19 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Isobel Asher Hamilton

  1. Do we really understand how to connect electrical impulses to meaningful apps? Or is this just a refined electroconvulsive therapy used to treat some mental patients or is it just a data recording device which they hope will enable them to understand the functioning of the brain.

    More likely, I would expect such a device would be used to disable a person who is doing something that the authorities don’t like or want to restrict a person to a certain area (like invisible fences for dogs).

    This could allow a Judge to sentence a person to have this device implanted rather than prison term. Such a device would be much more ‘intelligent’ allowing, for example, no contact regardless of location (using proximity) and many other applications.

    The possibilities are endless if you are a socialist.

    • I think there was a science fiction story about this concept … Something about a ring based system…?

      Ah, yes. The Ring, by Anthony and Margroff. (thanks ddg)

    • There are lots of SF stories featuring things like this. Neil Smith has a bunch. James P. Hogan had something similar (I think it was “the Genesis Machine”).
      For a dystopian variation, see “Single Combat” by Dean Ing. His notion of an accessory attachment to the implant would be well suited for implants installed into politicians. Especially if you then apply the ideas from “Lone Star Planet”, a lovely novel by H. Beam Piper.

      • Re Lone Star Planet, I believe it was you who pointed me towards Piper.

        Thank you for that.

        LSP has been in my thoughts a lot recently, for some odd reason.

    • There were low resolution (16 x 16 pixels IIRC) demonstrations of duplicating what a cat was seeing on a monitor when we were both at Microsoft. If you read the article linked to above, you will see they currently can detect the positions of a pig’s legs as it runs on a treadmill.

      So, “reading” gross sensory input seems to be doable now. I don’t see many people voluntarily signing up for that sort of thing. It will take input to make it interesting for commercial use. I suspect input will, at least initially, go in through nerves connected to sense organs such as eyes and ears rather than direct brain stimulation.

      • You’re right, and no I don’t remember seeing demonstrations of duplicating what a cat was seeing when we were at Microsoft.

        I was thinking of control rather than reading the mind using an app connected to such an implant. And yes they have worked out control on a primitive basis. The monkey video is convincing.

        However, much good this tech, like the cell phone as a private detective in your pocket, I still see the possibility of misuse as troublesome along with more restrictions on our freedoms. Even the example I used of creating virtual personal prisons is disturbing because it could be used limit where you can go if you are carrying based on the license you are granted.

        I still question if advancements in tech will let us retain our freedoms. Or are we destined for a world where everyone is monitored and controlled living in a collectivist society.

        • It wasn’t a MS demo. It just happened during that time frame. I remember talking to someone about it in the halls at MS.

          It is tough to say what effect tech has on freedom. I can serve to expose tyrants as well as repress individuals.

          • It seems to me that it is twofold. One, tech enables control unlike any in history. And two, tech makes successful rebellion to regain freedoms lost all but impossible.

  2. I remember 30 years ago some professor saying that since computers were doubling in intelligence every 10 years. That it was just a matter of time before computers could outthink us.
    So we needed away to hook ourselves up to computers so that we would be able to control them. Wait, what, huh?
    If I don’t want a computer to outthink or run my life anymore, I can just unplug it.
    But if I’m hard wired into it? That’s the only way it could control me.
    Well, we see what passes for logic in academia.
    And we thought the vax mandates were bad.
    This may go over a lot of hardhats. But were getting dangerously close to a Sodom and Gomorrah moment.
    God only puts up with so much of this crap before the sweet meteor of death somehow finds our tiny rock in all the vast reaches of the universe.
    Like wowa, good shot dad!
    When children no longer stand a chance of being less wicked than their parents. Look up, for our time is at hand.

    • When I saw the words “vax mandates” I thought you were talking about the computer model of that name. 🙂
      “Doubling in intelligence every 10 years”? I suppose you could say that, considering the fact that any multiple of zero is zero. The reality is that computers do not have any intelligence (not even artificial “intelligence”) and anyone who claims they do is confused. “AI” is merely a shorthand for “a class of algorithm whose properties we do not and cannot know”.

  3. Are these the same people who want government-accessible kill switches on cars?

  4. Harrison Bergeron.
    Resistance is futile (sorry, wrong universe) the head of the department will shoot violators dead.
    Even he could not imagine a world in which it could be done by remote control.

    What was the young adult trilogy? The White Mountains? The coming of the Tripods? Everyone got capped at 15 or 16. It was bad enough that the Japanese engineers at Sony wanted to replicate the continual music of the wireless seashell earpieces in Fahrenheit 451 with the Walkman, but now the engineers want us all to be controlled like the cockroaches that have the chip implanted so they can be driven like cars, but with six legs.

    • When the Tripods Came/ the White Mountains/ the City of Gold and Lead/ the Pool of Fire, by John Christopher.

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