If you want to learn about popular and trendy science and technology, it is a good choice to read Musk’s news. This science madman has always been the target of media coverage. He has used practical actions to pull the science fiction world into real life step by step. At the end of August this year, Musk inserted his company’s newly developed brain-computer interface chip into the head of a pig at a press conference, and demonstrated the process of reading the information in the brain by the chip. Another video at the press conference showed , The thinking of the pig’s stride in the brain is almost completely consistent with every movement of the pig, and the accuracy rate is extremely high. There are several highly-used words in media reports: fantasy, madness, genius, scalp tingling.
“Hope the chip preserves and replays human memory”
Neuralink was founded in 2017 to study the brain-computer interface of Ultrain bandwidth. Musk’s own halo has attracted attention to this company, and he did not disappoint the audience. Neuralink has frequently released good news, and this time the pig as a test subject makes people feel that the hope of brain-computer interface is one step closer. Musk and his team finally successfully demonstrated how the chip will read the information in the brains of these pigs. In the experiment, when the staff began to touch the pig’s nose, the brain activity map showed that the pig also started to get excited. An additional experimental video showed that the thinking of the pig’s stride in the brain is almost completely consistent with every movement of the pig, and the accuracy rate is extremely high.
At the last Neuralink conference, they brought a picture of a mouse. This time they transferred the experimental body to a larger animal, and its product has also changed-from a device behind the ear connected to the brain to a device directly implanted on the surface of the skull. Not only that, Musk also said at the press conference that their test has been approved by the FDA and can be performed on humans.
Why choose a brain-computer interface? Musk also has his own unique insight: symbiosis with AI may be one of the few choices for humans in the future. AI will always become stronger and stronger, and even benign assumptions are not good for humans. Humans are too stupid in comparison and will soon be thrown away. If you can’t beat them, you have to join them. In Musk’s view, in fact, due to reliance on mobile phones, computers and other equipment, humans have entered a state of semi-artificial intelligence. But because humans still need to manually input information, the human-computer interaction speed is too slow, and brain-computer interface chips will hopefully solve this problem. At the end of the conference, Musk once again emphasized that the main purpose of this conference is to recruit more people to participate in research and development.
About “Brain Science”
In April 2004, the American “Science” magazine celebrated its 125th anniversary and invited hundreds of scientists from around the world to list what they believed was the most important frontier scientific issues in the world today. They were finally summarized into 125, of which 18 issues belonged to brain science. Brain science is also called cognitive science. It is a science that explores how the brain works. At present, the main research directions in the scientific community include three: brain disease prevention research, brain-computer interface research, and brain-like intelligence research. Among them: the prevention and treatment of brain diseases refers to the diagnosis and intervention of major brain diseases that may occur by scientists by summarizing the general laws of brain activity; brain-computer interface is to obtain information on brain neural activity through electrodes or other means, and through machine learning The processing and pattern recognition are converted into instructions to control other devices; brain-like intelligence refers to the research and development of brain-like computing robots and big data processing.
Both brain disease prevention research and brain-computer interface research will contribute to human brain-related diseases. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, brain-related diseases, including various neurological and mental diseases, account for the largest social burden of all diseases, accounting for 28%, surpassing cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Pu Muming, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and director of the Institute of Neuroscience of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, once said: “China has entered an aging society, and prevention and treatment of various aging-related brain diseases is imminent. Take Alzheimer’s disease as an example, if there is no good treatment Methods, among the elderly over 85 years old, an average of one-third is likely to develop the disease.” The human-computer-thought interaction direction similar to Neuralink is expected to help patients with epilepsy, frostbite and other diseases restore sensory and motor functions. There is also much to do in the treatment of neurological diseases. The maturity of brain-like intelligence can help scientists create artificial brains. Its storage density will catch up with or even exceed that of biological brains, but its energy consumption will be lower. It will directly give birth to smarter robots, self-driving cars, medical diagnosis and other artificial intelligence interactive systems.
Brain science has great potential in terms of social value and economic value. This also makes many countries spend human resources in this research project: the United States, the European Union, Japan, Australia and other countries have established brains. Scientific research plan. The United States focuses on the development of new brain research technologies; the European Union focuses on supercomputer technology to simulate brain functions; Japan focuses on using marmosets as models to study various brain functions and the mechanisms of brain diseases. China also has a “one body and two wings” brain research plan: the plan is to face the frontiers of the world’s intelligent technology and the strategic needs of the “Healthy China 2030”, and conduct research from the three directions of understanding the brain, protecting the brain and simulating the brain, and gradually form a brain-based cognitive function. The analysis and technology platform are integrated, with the diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases related to cognitive impairment and brain-like computing and brain-computer intelligence technology.
Han Bicheng: There are still two barriers in the field of brain-computer interface
In addition to Musk’s Neuralink, there are many other companies that have been successful in the research of brain-computer interfaces. Among them is BrainCo founded by Chinese scientist Bicheng Han (Ph.D., Brain Science Center, Harvard University). Han Bicheng and Elon Musk were named one of the five innovators in the brain-computer interface field by the American media. In 2018, Han Bicheng founded Zhejiang Qiangnao Technology Co., Ltd. in China.
In Han Bicheng’s view, there are currently two major barriers to brain-computer interface: the first talent is scarce, no matter whether it is international or domestic, no university has a brain-computer interface major, which also leads to a shortage of talents. Brain-computer interface is more like an interdisciplinary subject, which requires talents in many fields, including neuroscience, artificial intelligence, precision electronics, materials science and even biological sciences. The second is the material. The brain-computer interface is actually a hundred years old. The brain electricity collection is commonly used abroad, and the material is mainly conductive paste.
The current brain science research is only the first step in the long march. For the brain, which may be the most complex object in the universe, human cognition is still quite limited. Some scholars pointed out that even in the next century, brain science will still be frontier science. Some scientists say that at present, humans have only ascertained 5% of the brain structure.