Science 3 min read

Scientists Theorize Brain-to-Brain Communication for the Near Future

What is neurotech could make you a telepath? Elon Musk's "Neuralink" poses this exact question with research into brain-to-brain communication.

Ozen Guney | Shutterstock.com

Ozen Guney | Shutterstock.com

Some would say that communication is the basis of connection, interaction, and progress.

Written, verbal, non-verbal–even Emoji–communication plays an integral part in day-to-day activities. Consequently, when communication doesn’t happen or goes awry, catastrophe can strike.

What if you could hold entire conversations with someone using just your brain?

Musk Aims to Achieve Telepathy with NeurotechClick To Tweet
Elon Musk | LA Times

We recently covered news that humans would soon be able to interface directly with computers. You remember: the tech right out of The Matrix.

This opens up possibilities in the realm of understanding technology and AI to potentially stave off the robot uprising. But it also enables humans to break into a new frontier of technology innovation with neurotech.

As usual, Elon Musk already thought of, considered, and planned for this possibility. To Musk, however, this is not a possibility, but a certainty.

A Key in Fighting Neurological Decay

Neuralink Logo | Neuralink

In April, Musk announced a new venture known as “Neuralink”. Using neurotech, humans can combat memory loss diseases or paralysis. We will also more easily acclimate to a society with artificial intelligence, in theory. Due to the nature of this tech, it requires a neural implant or electrodes wired directly to the brain. This allows for telepathy and physical benefits, but it allows for uploading and downloading memories, too.

For someone so against AI in software, Musk has an AI-future mindset.

Due to his investment in Neuralink, Neurotechnology leaders lauded Musk’s move into the field despite the sci-fi sound to his speculation. While the neurotech industry produces $165-billion USD in revenue every year, the focus is on pharmaceuticals for neural diseases and not brain-to-brain communication. Musk’s proposed neural implant calls into question more than just profits and industry disruption.

Does Telepathy Need a Firewall?

Preventing misunderstandings with brain-to-brain communication is definitely useful, but the cutting-edge neurotech could encroach upon privacy of thought.

Specialists in the field of neuroscience and neurotech raised concerns beyond hacking or information theft. Co-founder of the National Core for Neuroethics and professor, Peter Reiner, said this:

Most important is privacy of thought. When a computer is hooked up to me and knows what I’m thinking, that becomes a very challenging area to navigate.”

Reiner goes on to question impulses with a concept called “reason bypassing”. If you make a decision under the influence of another source–be it organic, written, or robotic–are YOU the one making that decision?

Hive Mind or Next Stage of Evolution?

Sir Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard | Star Trek: Next Generation

Concerns of reason bypassing raise further questions of potential “hive mind” collectives such as the Borg from Star Trek: Next Generation.

Could a whole group of people become psychically linked?

Could a job offer include an NDA for your brain?

The possibilities are endless, but Musk necessitates answering these important questions. And if “cyborgs” sound like the stuff of total science fiction, check out artist Neil Harbisson.

Will brain-to-brain communication technology become the new “instant message”?

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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