The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) released a statement on January 19 outlining its aims for a new project. The new project will attempt to bridge the gap between the human brain and computers. The project is the creation of a device that will be able to connect to one million neurons in the human brain with the capability to transmit and received information to and from computers.
This would enmesh the biological and information systems via a neural interface that would translate data by turning electrochemical data into binary. Binary is a language composed of ones and zeros and is how computers transmit information.
The program tasked with developing this technology is named, Neural Engineering System Design (NESD). According to the DARPA press release, the program manager, Phillip Alvelda said “Today’s best brain-computer interface systems are like two supercomputers trying to talk to each other using an old 300-baud modem.”
Current interfaces that are available for this type of information transfer can send information through 100 channels, the NESD program wants to increase this bandwidth to one million channels.
The NESD program also aims to help humans with sight or hearing impairments. This would be done by sending digital information via a neural interface to affected areas of the brain. Current interfaces that are available for this type of information transfer can send information through 100 channels, the NESD program wants to increase this bandwidth to one million channels. One million channels in different parts of the brain, not the entire brain.
Newsweek reports that project’s success could turn human soldiers into cyborg soldiers and The Guardian echoes this notion in reporting that the U.S. government “hopes” that the technology “will turn soldiers into cyborgs”.
The Register (UK) likens the project outcomes to removing the “pesky middle-men such as limbs” in order to shorten the time from which information is sent between computers and humans. The shortening of this signal time would be beneficial to applications such hearing and vision impairment.
What do you think, is the U.S. military planning to create cyborg soldiers as some reports have suggested or this merely a logical progression in human machine-interface (HMI) technology?