This is a very interesting article sent in from our Subscriber at Mint Condition Dental
Facebook’s exploits and profitability are well known and now this Silicon Valley giant is partnering with Neuralink to venture into a field that has troubled scientists for more than half a century. Neuralink is a new company associated with the electric-car maker Tesla and these two financially endowed companies have set on an extremely ambitious program – to find out how the human brain communicates with the rest of the body. Since the 1960s, this is a mystery that scientists have tried to grapple with but have never made any major breakthrough.
How they plan to go about it
The project envisaged by Facebook and Neuralink plans to implant electronic devices into human brains. Since the computers of the future will be more powerful than what we have today, these implants are supposed to help humans keep up with them. According to the creators of the project, the implants will also help in the study of the brain-body communication.
Responding to the project details which emerged in mid-April, many scientists, while welcoming the endeavor, expressed fears that the project is unlikely to bear fruit soon and certainly not within the time-frame set by Facebook and Neuralink.
One of the biggest hurdles envisaged is getting people to accept to have sensors implanted into their brains. Currently, that technology is used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries and those suffering from seizures. Implanting of sensors also comes with a high risk of injury and it might therefore be difficult to get people to willingly take part.
Another hurdle that scientists foresee is the inability to accurately record the activities of the brain. For the scientists, it is hard to tell how the brain communicates with, say, the arms to tell them to move.
To scientists, figuring out how the brain truly works is extremely difficult. According to one scientist, associate professor Bradley Wyble of the Penn State University, it is hard to compare the working of a computer with those of the human brain. While both computers and human brains perform similar functions in the storage and transmission of info, the human brain tends to be very selective in what it transmits. Unlike the computer which responds to specific commands, the brain decides which stimuli it will act on and which to ignore.
So, is this new project likely to bear fruit in a decade? The funding provided by the two companies involved is massive and we can only wait to see.