| BioEdge | Saturday, May 6, 2017 |
More details are emerging abaout Elon Musk’s dream of plugging the human brain into the internet. The Silicon Valley megastar and billionaire, whose other projects include Tesla and Space X, says that his new company Neuralink will be able to help people with severe brain injuries.
The company’s website gives little away, but says that its goal is to develop “ultra high bandwidth brain-machine interfaces to connect humans and computers”. It is hiring a wide of “exceptional engineers and scientists” with talent and drive.
"The first use of the technology will be to repair brain injuries as a result of stroke or cutting out a cancer lesion, where somebody’s fundamentally lost a certain cognitive element," Musk told website Wait But Why . "It could help with people who are quadriplegics or paraplegics by providing a neural shunt from the motor cortex down to where the muscles are activated."
However, Neuralink’s ultimate ambitions are far more ambitious. Its goal is a “whole brain interface”, a network of tiny electrodes linked to your brain which will communicate with the internet without the need for written or spoken language. Although Musk has mused about the idea of neural-lace, he is also considering other technologies.
If this neuro-revolution is successful, it could be the most disruptive technology ever. As Christopher Markou, of the University of Cambridge, writes in The Conversation:
A whole-brain interface would give your brain the ability to communicate wirelessly with the cloud, with computers, and with the brains of anyone who has a similar interface in their head. This flow of information between your brain and the outside world would be so easy it would feel the same as your thoughts do right now.
However, there are gigantic problems to work through, Markou points out:
Saturday, May 6, 2017
Euthanasia is such a controversial topic that it is dividing healthcare professionals and organisations. In Canada, some doctors are vigorously protesting moves to make effective referral for euthanasia mandatory. And in Belgium, a Catholic religious order seems to have split over whether its psychiatric hospitals should offer euthanasia for non-terminally-ill patients. Below we feature interviews with the main players in this drama: Brother Rene Stockman, the Rome-based head of the order who is fighting a change of policy, and Raf De Rycke, who helped to shape the new policy.
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BioEdge: Would you plug your brain into the internet? Elon Musk thinks it’s a good idea