Brain Computer Interface

The WSJ reported yesterday that Elon Musk is developing yet another company, this one based on neural lace technology, to create a brain computer interface.

Neural lace technology, as I understand it, involves implanting electrodes into the brain so that the brain can control machines directly without the need for an IO device like a mouse, keyboard, or voice interface.

I have no idea how advanced this technology is and whether it is ready for commercialization or if this is basically a research project masquerading as a startup.

But in some ways that doesn’t matter if you believe that at some point someone or some group of scientists and medical professionals will figure out how to directly connect our brain to machines without the need of an IO device.

There are so many times that I have thoughts that I don’t do anything with. They sit idle and maybe go nowhere. But if my brain passively passed those thoughts onto a machine for storage or some other action that could lead to a more productive train of thought that could be incredibly valuable. Or it could drive me insane.

I generally subscribe to the theory that all progress is good as long as we understand the negatives of the technology and we (society) engineer controls and the proper repoanes to it (nuclear weapons being​ an example).

But every time something as mind bending as the idea of connecting our brain to external processing, storage, and communication infrastructure comes before me I do have to pause and ask where this is all going.

At times like this it helps to have a belief system (progress is good). I am all for pushing the envelope of progress as long as we spend an equal amount of time and energy thinking through what might go wrong with things like this.

Hat tip to Niv Dror who read yesterday that I wasn’t sure how I was going to post today and encouraged me to write about this topic.

#machine learning

Comments (Archived):

  1. gregorylent

    in the future, looking back, this will look like bloodletting does to us todaythe multidimensionality of consciousness, the extended mind, and the brain’s role as effect of consciousness (think brain plasticity) and mere 3d locator suggest that “brain computer interface” thinking is the same mechanistic mindset that has created all the abuses on the planet in fueling the industrial age

    1. gregorylent

      intention-driven devices will exist .. early stages, not from electrodes but from brain waves in future, as instrumentation becomes more subtle, the field of mind around the body will be the input

  2. awaldstein

    Read that piece.It’s coming but it excites me less than the solar ecosystem he is building which starts with people and the planet at the center not the tech.That is where inspiration truly works for me.

  3. Adam

    My concern would be how quickly the tech in your brain becomes outdated just like every other piece of technology we own today.

  4. John Pepper

    Season 3, Episode 1 “Nosedive” of the series Black Mirror gives us a look into a possible future when this becomes the norm… and an example of what could go wrong. I hesitate to declare it a must-see, but I would strongly suggest downloading it for an upcoming flight or train ride. While on one level I was fascinated and excited about the implications, mostly I worried for my kids as I watched it, as well as for all of us if we don’t, as you say, “pause and ask where this is going”.

  5. Vendita Auto

    Seemingly the key is to competing is the crucial ability to directly process information (cortex). IMO that is the only possible option for our species to continue to evolve (mortal consciousness)D-wave computers are commercial genies out of the bottle they are part of our evolutionary process.

  6. Claire Belmont

    Parking aside the technological risks & ethical debate, the most exciting part for me is using the IO capabilities of such innovations to address the physics of optics in AR, which is what’s making AR challenging today (see this article for more info:…. Rather than try design a new interface, like glasses, why don’t we use the power of our eyeballs instead? To gather & project data. After all, no one so far has managed to make a smaller optical device.

    1. Vivek Kumar

      Perfectly blending the real and the virtual. The ideal approach would be to manipulate signals at a higher layer rather than using our eyeballs. Our brain continually refines reality and what we “see” is different than the information that is hitting our eyeballs at a particular time.

    2. Kevin Hill

      We do currently have such devices that are approved for implantation in blind people. It uses direct stimulation of the visual centers of the brain. Unfortunately the resolution is something like 1024 points of light. Not 1024 x something, just 1024. And no color.It might be interesting to apply something like Neuralink’s ‘electrode lace’ directly to the eyeball… if it happens it will probably happen in cases of severe cataracts first.

  7. WA

    Visceral first reaction; Borg risk. Opt out. Intellectually & philosophically: worth study. A superb ethics debate indeed.

  8. JimHirshfield

    Yeah, now that you mention it, I could use a memory wipe and reinstallation of my OS. iOS is a bit too closed (minded?) for my liking; think(?) I’ll go with Android’s beta Airhead release.

  9. Mike Cautillo

    Transhumanism comes to mind and so does living indefinitely, assuming our planet/nature agree.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      Put my consciousness in a robot! Sign me up. That, itself, does lead to some pretty trippy potential outcomes.

  10. kenberger

    There is buzz around this:Controlling your computer and TV: https://www.technologyrevie…FB has some sort of “telepathy” project I heard about:…But I’m much more interested in the input side of things: give me an alternative way to read, not using my eyes or ears. Let me transmit, or even download, a book or article straight to the “I/O Bus” of my brain. I have a Stanford professor friend working on this for years. This is an unspeakably huge type of advancement, my friend isn’t sure how far out it will actually be.

  11. DJL

    32 years ago I attended a talk by Charles M. Vest – then President of MIT. He said something that I never forgot: “My fear is that technology will quickly outpace our ability to regulate it. Politicians are just not capable of keeping up.” It just gets more true with each passing year.

    1. LE

      Or, as I mentioned with healthcare advances, the ability to pay for it.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Very true.In embryo genetic engineering may result in superchildren – for some.

      2. DJL

        Once we accept the idea that something expensive (healthcare) is a basic human right we get for free – bankruptcy is right around the corner.

        1. LE

          I don’t think the issue is healthcare for everyone. I think the issue is whether everyone gets the gold amex card all you can eat of healthcare. In other words there may be treatments that are available that could extend life or make suffering less but that is maybe not something that everyone should have access to, just like lack of money also prevents access to many things in this world for many people.

  12. marcoliver

    I am currently studying Cognitive Psychology and did some research on the topic of memory encoding and retrieval strategies – the stuff you need to function/think/behave/react/attend/etc.. To make it short – it will be possible. Professor Christine Ann Denny did some fancy stuff with neurons using fluorescent molecules. It’s tricky though – we still don’t completely understand which neurons for example stored the word (memory code) “left” and which ones stored the world “right”. Which could be a problem. More here:

  13. leigh

    The brain is fascinating but it’s also one of the least understood parts of our anatomy. This is a sci fi movie in the making (omg and can you imagine the hacking of your brain situations?)

    1. JamesHRH

      Anyone in their teens who shows any interest in this area gets a heavy dose of “this is a major frontier in the next 20 years’ if I am within earshot.

  14. Gareth Kavanagh

    Everytime I hear someone use the phrase “neural lace” in relation to Elon Musk, I wonder if he’s talking about the neural laces from Iain M. Banks Culture novels.In one of those stories, one of the characters is in a kind if museum that shows torture devices from around the, the final exhibit is a neural lace.

    1. Twain Twain

      Yes, Iain M Bank’s Culture novels are the reference points for Neural Lace.

  15. Guy

    Here is where the tech community and non-tech community talk past each other. My father-in-law had electrodes implanted in his brain for the Parkinson’s Disease treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS, the Medtronic device). The two surgeries were invasive and left scaring and noticeable bumps on along the top of his head. Additionally, the battery pack, near his shoulder under his skin, was a large lump. The two surgeries were not easy.So the idea Musk spoke about sounds wonderful but the execution, the reality of brain surgery, isn’t unless there are considerable advancements made in implantation.I’d agree with the comment from Adam earlier – how long before the tech in your brain is obsolete – then what do you do? Another brain surgery or two under general anesthesia?

    1. Twain Twain

      Thanks for sharing your story, Guy. I hope your father-in-law has recovered well from his surgeries.

  16. pointsnfigures

    My friend Bryan Johnson has been working on this at Interesting to see where it could go-other’s have talked about Parkinson’s, Alzheimers. Fred alluded to “normal” people using it. I wonder about people that are severely disabled, or people with ALS. You could see the dark side of this easily, but it’s much better to look on the other side.

    1. William Mougayar

      Indeed, applying it to cases like that would be a breakthrough.

    2. LE

      other’s have talked about Parkinson’s, Alzheimers.How do we pay for the cost of all of these advances in healthcare when we can’t even pay for what we can do today for people? Where does and will the money come from? Especially if life is prolonged or improved just a few more years. That is at the core the difference between health care costs today and just 30 years ago. Things we can do that we couldn’t do before.

      1. Richard

        Answer will be Estate recovery : Medicaid, which covers long term care health (skilled nursing, home health) has required that you 1) deplete your liquid assets before you are eligible for care. And after death Medicaid can recover costs against from your estate (home 401k). My guess is that at some point the costs of your healthcare will be recoverable from your estate. This will keep insurance rates in check and arguably makes a lot of sense.

        1. LE

          Oh but people game that by giving away their assets many times.

          1. Richard

            These rules can be tightened. Presently, there is a 5 year look back rule for Medicaid long term health coverage. Most people aren’t smart enough or quick enough. I fact most people don’t even have a will! It could be written into the estate tax regs, etc.

      2. Kevin Hill

        That’s why this won’t be a large scale business any time soon. Most people who get neural implants today are part of research studies where the researchers are paying for the surgery. Some smart-prothstetics are reaching health-care level adoption.

      3. Pete Griffiths

        First world health systems were affordable when all that was required as antibiotics and post second WW surgery.The plethoria of new treatments have indeed bust the bank.

    3. Twain Twain

      Yes, the argument is made that an invasive brain prosthetic that enables connection to the Cloud where we’ve stored our memories (social media updates, videos etc) sounds great for Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.Except …. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

  17. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Have you read Sapiens yet? We just can’t help ourselves. We’re programmed to advance, ignoring everything we destroy along the way.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Interesting book.

  18. William Mougayar

    Imagine if your brain would inform other brains that you are thinking about them. Talk about brain spam. The end of silent thoughts. I will put my brain on mute for now.We’ll need to learn a new Brain Programming Language.

    1. leapy

      Danger in the workplace 😉

    2. Kevin Hill

      There will probably be a python library for it 😉

      1. Lawrence Brass

        Yes, probably a wrapper around a C library that does the real work. 😉

    3. Lawrence Brass

      Brain spam, most probably the only way to monetize the neural connections of the poor. What would be the equivalent of click-bait in that alt-reality?

    4. Adam Sher

      Let South Park inform you in “Let Go, Let Gov” (2013).

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    So many creative, interesting comments today 🙂 You’re the person who turned me on to futurism and futurists like Ray Kurzweil. Thank you for that!If Musk gets into downloading my consciousness into a storage that can be transplanted to a robotic body, sign me up!Don’t we kind of have the beginnings of this with some prosthetics?… I know someone with an assisted hearing device that I believe is connected to his brain.Confession: I’m a proud owner of this… (and it’s as dull as it looks, ha ha!).

    1. LE

      That’s hilarious! How does it actually work? Does it sense the tension in your head exerted on the headset?

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Ha ha! I’m not 100% sure what it’s sensing, but basically, if you focus very intently, the power behind the airstream increases. That makes the little foam ball float higher on the air stream.So, it really doesn’t matter if you focus on “blow harder, fan!” or reciting the lyrics from “Walk on the Wild Side” in your head. The result is the same. You just need to think about something very intently. Meditating might have the same result, I’m not sure.

    2. Lawrence Brass

      OK, a copy of your consciousness has been transferred to a brand new XE-207 body. You wake from.. sleep?.. First decision you have to make, according to the tech-doctor is decide what to do with ole’ fully human Kirsten lying there in cryogenic sleep…

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Ha! So many fun thought experiments, one of which you’ve illustrated very nicely!

        1. Lawrence Brass

          I love technology and if offered any chance to live longer in good shape will probably go for it but humanity will have to solve a lot of ethical questions before something like this can happen. Imagine the chaos if we extrapolate our current situation to a market driven ultra high tech society. The option of immortality would be only for the rich.

          1. Lawrence Brass

            Haha.. sorry.It must be something I took for breakfast.

      2. ShanaC

        that was a college application question In a book entitled The Mind’s I, by Douglas Hofstadter, philosopher Daniel C. Dennett posed the following problem: Suppose you are an astronaut stranded on Mars whose spaceship had broken down beyond repair. In your disabled craft there is a Teleclone Mark IV teleporter that can swiftly and painlessly dismantle your body, producing a molecule-by-molecule blueprint to be beamed to Earth. There, a Teleclone receiver stocked with the requisite atoms will produce, from the beamed instructions, you—complete with all your memories, thoughts, feelings, and opinions. If you activate the Teleclone Mark IV, which astronaut are you—the one dismantled on Mars or the one produced from a blueprint on Earth? Suppose further that an improved Teleclone Mark V is developed that can obtain its blueprint without destroying the original. Are you then two astronauts at once? If not, which one are you?—A favorite reissued in 2004–05 from 1984.http://magazine.uchicago.ed

  20. LE

    Elon is a new and special type of businessman. By his fame (as a result of the high profile of the other things he is involved in, as well as the adulation of the business and mainstream press) is able to attract both investment and sycophant employees to carry out what really amount to his dreams. I think he is actually closer to Howard Hughes than Steve Jobs. With a bit of Trump mixed in as well [1][1] Both of them have degrees from Wharton Undergraduate.

    1. jason wright

      It’s a cult of personality. I wonder what % of ‘his’ companies he actually owns? PR guy.

  21. Amar

    I think you hit it on the head when you saidAt times like this it helps to have a belief system (progress is good). I am all for pushing the envelope of progress as long as we spend an equal amount of time and energy thinking through what might go wrong with things like this.I was meeting with a young man yesterday who was on his way to a google UX internship this summer. He is smart, talented and seems to have the “X” factor. He kept gushing about how Facebook now has 2B users.The question I posed to him was as a UX designer say you have a platform that has the power to influence/dictate reality to 2B users — are you spending equal time and energy thinking through what this power means or are you just thinking all that matters is more DAU/MAU/Revenue, etcAt some point success becomes so big that it behooves those who succeeded to ask a broader set of questions than what got them there in the first place. We seem to be really bad as a species in doing that :-pI was making my point to him by comparing Google Maps to Facebook. Google maps can try to change my reality but there is a check and balance. If google maps says this alternate route is 4 mins faster – i have to trust it, i cannot challenge it. There is no other equivalent large scale cloud system that can run multiple TSP algorithms in real time. So I just take it on faith whether it is true or not. But if it says you are on “Euclid” street, I look up and the street sign says “West”. I don’t immediately go “Pshaw reality is broken, google is right” …Harder to do the same with Facebook. I just believe what i read there. In a sense there is a generation that is trained to interpret reality first through facebook and then by looking outside their window — what does this mean to their decision making process?

  22. Steve S

    Will be as natural as the smart phone appendige in your pocket 50 years from now…

  23. curtissumpter

    This is a great post.Seldom do you hear anyone in the tech community asking the larger question: where are we going with this?I don’t even purport to have an answer but I do know this.If this works we will have fundamentally changed as a species.We will be the first pack species (think dogs, lions, hyenas) to self-evolve into a hive species, a true hive species.Fuck you Steven Spielberg. This is bigger than fiction.

  24. Kevin Hill

    I don’t have any insider information, but I do have a Phd in Neuroscience and currently do AI work so I’ll give my 2 cents. This is almost certainly a research project as a startup. Given the large single funding source that doesn’t really bother me and honestly I’d love to be involved if the opportunity presented itself.The current state-of-the-art in humans uses an electrode array placed in between the skull and the dura matter, or tough coating over the brain. This tech is called electrocorticography (ECog) and has been around for about a decade in humans. This type of array allows you to measure from large sections of the brain with a resolution of maybe a couple hundred thousand neurons. And the deeper in the brain you go, the weaker the signals get. Luckily lots of interesting things like motor control and vision are right there on the surface.The key tech barriers aren’t really adding more electrodes to that array, but getting through the dura mater (which almost certainly increases the risk of infection) and getting electrodes close enough to neurons to measure a resolution of dozens to hundreds of neurons. We currently do these type of implants in rats etc (my favorite neuroscientist who uses this technique is David Redish at the Univ of Minnesota) but it does seem to involve some moderate amounts of brain damage, and scar tissue builds up around the electrodes, lessening their effectiveness over time. So, I’ll guess the biggest hiring challenge for Neuralink is going to be finding good Neuroimmunologists.My guess is that the Neuralink tech will be a step up from ECog, and useful in humans. This would find a limited market in rare medical conditions like ALS, and possibly it could find a decent market in prosthetics.Thoughts like you describe are harder. We aren’t even exactly sure where to look for them in the brain. The current best theory imho is that complex thoughts are formed through cortical loops. So information is cycling through multiple parts of your brain, being modified as it continues on the loop. And these loops are thought to involve very deep parts of the brain, so could be very hard to measure. We are certainly more than a decade away from understanding and measuring those types of neural signals in commercial products.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      You should totally hire yourself out as a professional dinner guest. Fascinating!

      1. Kevin Hill

        As long as the dinner is n the Denver area I’d be happy to do it for free 😉

        1. JaredMermey

          At least get dinner paid for 🙂

      2. Lawrence Brass

        Yep, fascinating. But I am not completely sure about wanting to have dinner with Kevin, so many Lecteresque similitudes.. all in for coffee or beer! 🙂

    2. Twain Twain

      Thanks for your intelligent and considered comment. I dived into Neuroscience years ago because my Dad was in a coma and I needed to understand what the neurosurgeons were saying when they said he was “unconscious”. [I later showed the neurosurgeons that their models, fMRIs and EEGs were wrong. We simply don’t know enough about the brain yet.]In January I tweeted this to Elon when there were rumors he was working on such a project: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…Yesterday, after his announcement, I tweeted these: https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…I do grasp Elon’s concerns about the “AI Apocalypse” scenario. That’s because, at the moment, DeepMind and other AI researchers (including Elon’s OpenAI), are focused on enabling the AI to solve zero-sum optimization games where there is only 1 winner (and the AI typically wins).So if the current forms of AI were to optimize against humans and our data, then we would lose that mathematical game.I also agree with Elon that, “We humans should collectively be the AI.” However, I disagree that this needs an intrusive brain prosthetic that attaches directly onto our cortical neurons and his views, “It’s mostly about the bandwidth, the speed of the connection between your brain and the digital version of yourself, particularly output. Some high bandwidth interface to the brain will be something that helps achieve a symbiosis between human and machine intelligence and maybe solves the control problem and the usefulness problem.”It’s not the bandwidth (speed of thought processing) that enables control.Humans don’t kill each other because of two factors:* language understanding* love and empathyInstead of getting into an AI arms race with Larry Page because of a conversation he had with DeepMind’s founder (…, Elon should actually fund AI that balances out the current autistic logic of the machines and enables them to understand our language, culture and values.Then the AI is likelier not to treat us as “house pets” as Elon fears but as agents it can relate to, understand, respect and appreciate.

      1. Kevin Hill

        Thanks for the reply. I’d say I agree with about half of what you say.I agree that invasive brain prosthetics probably aren’t needed. There is a bandwidth problem as Elon expresses, but we can get pretty damned good bandwidth out of a game controller or mouse paired with voice for input and audio and AR/VR output.Above that bandwidth I think you are right to point out that other factors that become important. I’d label these ‘game theory’ rather than zero-sum optimization problems. Game theory has some wonderful mathematical proofs that there are hard limits on intelligence and strategy for competitive and cooperative games. It matters much more about the structure of the game and the preference functions of the players. So again I think you get to half the right answer with your focus on culture and values.AI will certainly be players in these games in the future. And, if the AI wants to be successful it will face the same basic problem we all face: when to work with other players and when to work against them. And unless the games shift dramatically, cooperation usually produces the longest term positives in our world, which gives me a lot of hope. Trust, empathy, etc will be important features that won’t just be nice-to-haves, but fundamental capabilities that makes AI useful.

        1. Twain Twain

          Language, culture and values are 50% of our intelligence.Game Theory is a % of our Mathematical Logic, Mechanics and Prob+Stats intelligence. I’m a maths grad, a dev and multi-lingual.AI researchers define our intelligence as “information processing that reduces probabilistic risk” and Game Theory maths lends itself to this definition.HOWEVER, the definition of intelligence by AI researchers and in IQ tests etc is NOT the whole picture of our intelligence.Importantly, we need to be mindful that Game Theory’s narrow examples of competitive and collaborative dynamics do NOT apply universally across cultures or even across disciplines such as Language Acquisition and Knowledge Understanding.ShanaC, an AVC regular, shared a great link before ‘We are not the World’:*

          1. Kevin Hill

            Again, you are about half right. Game theory involves mathematical proofs, and as you’d know from your math studies, proofs don’t change with culture. Different cultures play different games with different assumptions by the players, but they are all bound by Game Theory.Same goes for Information Theory. There aren’t different types of information just because the information travels on different channels or is encoded in different ways. We face the same basic I/O, probability, trust and preference challenges that AI will face. The differences are much more superficial that you are accounting for. Bandwidth, pattern detection, strategy and preference are at the heart of language, culture, values, love, etc.You are right to worry that AI might have very different preferences than us, and face very different strategy choices because eg, they might do just fine in a nuclear holocaust world, but there are more similarities than differences between us and the next generation of AIs being developed.

          2. Twain Twain

            We don’t face the “the same basic I/O, probability, trust and preference challenges that AI will face.” Moreover, “Bandwidth, pattern detection, strategy and preference are at the heart of language, culture, values, love, etc.” is not true or mathematically valid.Chris Manning of Stanford, a foremost authority on NLP, said this at Deep Learning Summit SF in Jan 2016: “Higher-level language (i.e., natural language understanding) has a different nature to lower-level pattern recognition (i.e. probability and statistical pattern matching).”The work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky from 1970s has shown “Our brains aren’t built to follow the rules of probability.” There is also research from Charles Gallistel of Rutgers which he presented at Harvard’s Distinguished Lecture Series in 2013/4 in which he observes:* We perceive distance, duration, rate, probability etc — the abstract dimensions of experience* So do rats and mice.* But these precepts have no qualia.* And no readily identifiable stimulus.This month, Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz posted ‘How Aristotle Created the Computer’ and that makes clear how computer logic thinks like an “idealized, perfectly rational person”:*…Since no “perfectly rational person” exists, it’s clear that the fundamental basis (building blocks) upon which computer logic+intelligence has been built is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT from our human building blocks.Additionally, on 02 March 2017, I sat through a presentation by Google Research in which they showed their studies into applying Deep Learning (a machine version of our cortical neurons) to language understanding. They posed the question “Can we infuse intuition into Formal Logic?” and their results were poor (between 23.5% and 67%).So “Bandwidth, pattern detection, strategy and preference are at the heart of language, culture, values, love, etc.” is not the case.Google has more bandwidth (including D-Wave quantum servers as well as their Cloud), pattern detection (via Deep Learning), strategy (via DeepMind Wavenet, Tensorflow and their business knowhow) and preference (via search data and other data they have that go into their Embedding Vector Networks in the Keras Python library) than anyone else.So if even Google can’t get their 1000s of machines to solve Natural Language Understanding, something other than “bandwidth, pattern detection, strategy and preference” is needed.There are tools that have not (yet) been invented. Or maybe they have been invented but haven’t yet been shared by the inventor or people aren’t aware of them.

          3. Kevin Hill

            Don’t take one line from one researcher out of context. Read Spikes…I did my post-doc research on the modern extensions of Kahneman and Tversky’s work and that statement is absolutely false. We don’t treat all wagers as the simple sum of their outcomes weighted by probability, but our behavior does conform to a mathematical and statistical model. Their entire body of work is about trying to define that behavior in a mathematically rigorous way.In fact there’s is no way for it to be otherwise, at least not in any useful sense. If it can be written down or explained it MUST conform to a mathematical model. This is the problem of qualia, not that it exists, but that rather if you posit that exists you are stuck with a paradox. If you can explain it, it is no longer epiphenomenal, and therefore no longer qualifies as qualia.Formal logic isn’t statistics, they are different branches of mathematics. Computers can do both.

          4. Twain Twain

            It conforms to a mathematical and statistical model only because the way the experiments are set-up are fitted to do so. The quantification of something is not exactly the same as qualifying its existence or validity.Maths as an invented language has been useful for modeling stochastic behavior of metaphysical phenomena with multiple variables.However, there is a difference between the stochasticity of atoms, the weather and dice compared with the stochasticity of humans.Principly that we have subjective consciousness and embodied entanglement between objects and our perceptions of them.And by perceptions I don’t only mean the maths of visual optics.For sure, 1st Order Logic (algebra, mechanics to a degree) is different from Higher Order Logic (Prob+Stats, Game Theory). And both of these forms of Logic was what Google Research applied in their Deep Learning and language understanding experiments.In terms of Prob+Stats and their issues, it’s worth reading this:*…Now, I’m not disagreeing with you that it has to be some mathematical model because, well… it has to be machine-readable.The question is two-fold:(1.) If 1st Order and Higher Order Logic can’t model how our minds understand language, then what’s the missing toolset?(2.) How could that toolset be independent of 1st and Higher Order Logic and yet complementary with it so quanta+qualia co-exist, coherently.

          5. cavepainting

            Qualia is experiential and hard to replicate without the thing that causes it. So what causes it? We really do not know. It is consciousness or something like it. What is that? We do not know either, except that it is causing all experience on the planet. How does the brain interface with consciousness? We know nothing about that too.When we ask deeper questions about the very nature of existence, we are stuck in a loop that seems to make no sense. Could it be that the answers lie not in logic, but in realms beyond?

          6. Twain Twain

            Logic is only 2000-ish years old. Meanwhile, language may be up to 200,000+ years old (and this is why it’s ILLOGICAL to try to fit language into logic’s boxes — lol, see what I did there?)Meanwhile, Consciousness precedes both language and logic. It’s in the very nature of stardust and the Big Bang.Also, we have to make the distinction between Aristotelian logic:* All men are mortal.* Socrates is a man.* Therefore, Socrates is mortal.And Turing’s logic (in a letter to his friend, Norman Routledge, shortly after his arrest for homosexual activities):* Turing believes machines think.* Turing lies with men.* Therefore machines do not think.Yours in distress,Alan.Aristotle’s logic is literal, Turing’s form is lateral. Notably, the consciousness of Aristotle is different from that of Turing. Turing refers to “believes” rather than to a definitive statement of the mortality of men.Turing applies the double entendre of “lies” (either means “is untruthful” and/or “sleeps with.”) and a paradoxical invalidation of Aristotle’s logic.On top of this, he wraps it with an emotion condition.Meanwhile, Descartes defined logic as the “separation of mind from body from emotions” so, by his definition, Turing is illogical!What the logic definitions of these three giants of Philosophy-Maths-Science shows is that what one person defines as “logical” is not the whole picture. Their versions of logic are manifestations and representations of THEIR individual states of mind (at a specific time-space context) that got universalized over to general populations …BUT, if we were to apply Statistics 101 … 3 guys are statistically unrepresentative as a sample population for 7.5 billion people’s logic.

          7. ShanaC

            that’s kinda cool

          8. Twain Twain

            I want to pick up on this point about “(mathematical) proofs don’t change with culture.”In fact, PROOFS DO CHANGE WITH CULTURE. For example, before, there were Roman numerals which were a lot harder to do any form of calculation with than Hindu-Arabic numerals.Arabic culture also affected how we do proofs of the unknown, x:*…Even within a culture — say an English-speaking one — a mathematical proof changes, depending on who’s viewing the proof and their educational background.Sit a mathematician and an English major down and ask them what “.” is and you’ll discover maths proofs do change with culture. The mathematician will answer it’s a dot product whilst the English major interprets it as a full stop.

        2. ShanaC

          Doesn’t game theory have WEIRD problems

    3. creative group

      Kevin Hill:the AVC blog is very fortunate to have contributors in about every discipline. That really contributes to the enlightenment of the blog. On topics involving science our first read usually has been Twain Twain. Now hopefully you will weigh in on all science to add another tool for the blog to consume. At least us.And for any reason you run afoul on any other postings we will be sure to comment.Thanks for your contribution.#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

    4. cavepainting

      great analysis! We need to understand the brain and its functioning before we can start to harvest thoughts! Right now, the brain is a black-box EXE file and we have no clue about what the source code may look like.

    5. ShanaC

      “into the dura” – ewwww (I could never be a doctor, once you get past a certain size, stuff grosses me out)why is this a startup if this is really a research project? where did research funding go?

      1. Kevin Hill

        by really a research project I mean that if you were to try and shop this idea to normal investors you’d likely not get very far.The funding comes mostly from Elon. He could have made a number of research grants to universities, but he wants to keep it all in house I guess, hence making it a company.

  25. jason wright

    The Krell.

  26. John Revay

    War Games and Terminator – thoughts come to mind #skynet

  27. BSchildt

    For a glimpse of where it might be going, I recommend Infoquake… , by David Edelman (a former co-worker of mine). His vision of bio/logics is fascinating.

  28. JaredMermey

    Unless we have already figured this all out and are living in a simulation.(Which I believe Elon is in the record as saying he believes we are in. At which point what does this project mean relative to said simulation?)The simulation seems circular in its development. I am now confused.

  29. jason wright

    In your dreams, in your nightmares, and it can all come to be.

  30. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!POTUS (TRUMP) signed at least 7 Bills curbing rules that actually affect every American, even his supporters.He used the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used tool that allows Congress to fast track bill to reverse regulation, a law used successfully only once in its 21 year history.Four bills on Education that hurt disproportionately those who are poor.Overturning regulations baring Social Security recipients with mental impairments from buying guns, restricting the dumping of mining waste in streams and rivers, and requiring energy companies to disclose how much their paying foreign governments.The “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule which barred companies from receiving federal contracts if they had a history of violating wage, labor or workplace safety laws.…We do find it interesting supporters of POTUS (Trump) will defend deregulation established to protect their rights.Bill O’Reilly comment (apologized real quick but knows those who supported and defended his comment didn’t require sheets) regarding Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) was an assist to deflect, distort and re-frame the focus on Investigations of Russian influence and multitude of issues with this Administration. Nunes fiasco. No shame.Progressives are so f’n weak! Just copy the Tea Party. Just damn passive.#UNEQUIVOCALLYUNAPOLOGETICALLYINDEPENDENT

  31. Pete Griffiths

    Time to rewatch ‘Forbidden Planet’ and grok the fate that befell the Krell.

  32. creative group

    Kevin Hill:would it be correct to view Neurolink with Kinesiology and not something that Elon Musk has created but is using and developing with Scientist smarter than himself? Elon Musk is an Engineer…….

  33. David Pethick is ranking AVC #1 for “repoanes”.Yes, I looked it up. I thought it was a cool new word that had some deeper meaning about how society should ethically manage scientific discovery. I wanted to use it in a sentence today.

  34. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!Lighten this room up a little….Rick Braun – Kiss of Life (Sade)

  35. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:OFF TOPIC ALERT!We just viewed a clever ad via youtube on Grammerly. A company a Contributor on AVC suggested.

  36. Sierra Choi

    The problem with implanting electrodes directly into the brain is that eventually, the brain will form scar tissue around the implants, making the implants unviable. This has been already been shown in the animal and human model, for people with TBI (traumatic brain injury), paralysed people and monkeys.The best methodology for BCI (brain computer interface) I think is NON-INVASIVE (no implants needed) and transferring information wirelessly by reading cranial nerve activity from the surface of the head using near-infrared spectroscopy. In addition, the brain has measurable electrical signals and outputs many waves (alpha, delta, etc).Currently many researchers are using DNA nanotechnology to repair the brain, and moving into using it for BCI. Although this has been successful with the animal model, the long term effects are not known for human health.Quite personally, I wouldn’t want to be a test subject for an invasive procedure that has a long-term failure output.

  37. howardlindzon

    this would cause some rogue trades for me!

  38. Caleb Kemere

    As the PI of a neuroengineering research laboratory, I was super excited to see this come out yesterday. I know several of the principals well and it’s much more interesting to have Neuralink operating not in stealth mode.Addressing a couple of points people raised:(0) Non invasive high resolution brain interfaces are a fantasy as far as I can tell. The challenges of foreign body response in the brain are significant, but a number of investigators have been working on solutions. I think we’re close. The fact that the current administration proposed to maintain the big NIH investments in brain technology (even while cutting funding elsewhere) is going to be a big help.(1) Reading out from the brain is not the only application. A super exciting research field are things like cortical visual prostheses (for people who become blind and are not eligible for retina-based therapies). These are still R&D, but with enough $$ there’s nothing that seems unsolvable.(2) Even for a fairly prevalent challenge such as Parkinson’s disease, the market for brain implants is in the 100K-1M range, ALS and full quadriplegia are around the same. It’s hard to imagine a successful company being able to bring the scaling technologies of Silicon Valley to bear for those sorts of market sizes. So somewhat curious that they perceive now being the time for this.(3) Medical technology can appear expensive, but my understanding is that the data does not support this as being the primary driver of health spending. Hep C is a great example – yes, they’ve priced the drug regimen at $84K, but when analyzed over a person’s lifetime this is cheaper than the consequences of long term liver damage, eventual transplants, etc. Keeping people healthy longer is almost always going to be cheaper in the long run. On the brain implant side, some people believe that brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease can delay symptoms from worsening.(4) There’s a gulf between therapeutic applications and a consumer device. FDA approval of safety and, critically, efficacy is a marker of the former. I don’t know how we get to a world where Fred’s doctor will give him a brain implant to help him write down his ideas. This is a bigger cultural gap than any Elon Musk has tackled before, but this sort of thing is his speciality, so my fingers are crossed!Exciting times!

  39. Francois Royer Mireault

    Browsing history for brains!

  40. Jeff Lunsford

    Recommend you read Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.… Plus a lot of science fiction!

  41. Donnie Wayne Ellis

    I have a brain interface o.s already established to neural linking into neural network. Interested?

  42. Kevin Hill

    I think you are right that “just about every protection against negative uses has been breached in some way” but that leads me to a slightly different conclusion that you.I think instead of creating tight controls we need to do exactly the opposite. We need to spread the tech (and esp knowledge behind the tech) as broadly as quickly as possible. There will almost certainly be problems and negative uses, but actually ethical behavior towards those in our social circles IS intrinsic behavior for 90% of humans. The real problems come when that other 10% are disproportionately represented in the group that controls a new technology.

  43. FlavioGomes

    Fire has been such a great discovery. Cooks our food, enables us to create new materials, warms us…but it also burns our fucking houses down 😉

  44. awaldstein

    dunno my friend.sure there are abuses and to count on common decency as a universal value is wishful.but in every chunk of tech we have had in our careers i see more possibility and upside than down.the entrepreneurial tech possibility for one obviously.

  45. Pete Griffiths

    It may be worth noting that there are many people who quite literally do not believe in ‘the general good’ as a value or policy objective.

  46. creative group

    Charlie Crystle:OFF TOPIC ALERT!we thought about you in Pennsylvania when we heard the Allentown, PA nativeold tune.Rick Braun- Hollywood & Vine sounds great!

  47. ShanaC

    Yeah, I was thinking of that weird scene in the beginning of Snow Crash, when the virus uploads into a brain and people frizt out on the VR dance floor

  48. awaldstein

    something will my friend unfortunately.the greatest choices we have is what we believe in and how to build a life around those choices.been thinking alot about this lately.this spring i should come out and visit for a day and evening, see you plant and see this town that means so much to you.

  49. Pete Griffiths

    Yes and no.Bear in mind that the founders were of the ‘white landowning males’ propensity.

  50. Pete Griffiths

    Indeed we do.