Brain-Internet Connection a real threat

Posted by DrZarkov99 2 weeks, 4 days ago to Technology
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Elon Musk's Neuralink promises to enable a direct brain to internet connection soon, but are we prepared for it? The positive side of instant access to the vast sea of information is offset by the incredibly invasive danger of access to our most private thoughts. There are no safeguards currently in place to protect us, and a real probability of great influence bordering on mind control (DARPA is already studying the mind control aspects of this technology). How do we protect ourselves against this very real threat?


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  • Posted by term2 1 week, 3 days ago
    I have thought of doing all sorts of immoral and illegal things over the years, but it doesnt mean I did any of them. A direct connection would condemn pretty much everyone if the powers that be wanted to use the info.
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  • Posted by  $  exceller 2 weeks, 3 days ago
    There are no safeguards for protection against any real threat to people.

    The "protection" comes in a disguise to protect when liberal interests are threatened.
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  • Posted by KRUEG 1 week, 3 days ago
    Will this work person to person? Then there is no excuse for not listening to your wife. At what point does it end with these "great leaps forward"?
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 1 week, 3 days ago
    This technology along with injectable nanobot tissue repair could bring about the transition from human being to something like Startrek's Borg. Very scary stuff.
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  • Posted by fosterj717 1 week, 3 days ago
    "The Skynet" of Terminator fame is rapidly becoming a real (and frightening) possibility! The use of 4000 plus 5G internet enabling earth satellites blanketing the entire planet in electromagnetic radiation with "intelligence" to boot behind it should set off red flags in all quarters! There are (and will be) no protections in place! Who are the idiots enabling this mind-boggling catastrophe in the making?! Elon Musk just a short time ago warned of the dangers of AI (Artificial Intelligence) making the human race all but obsolete! Now his company is the major proponent of creating this global monstrosity with a constellation of over 2000 of his own 5G, AI controlled satellites!

    If you can't beat them, join them and make it your own creation! Well played......
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  • Posted by mccannon01 1 week, 3 days ago
    Not in my lifetime, I'm sure, and likely not in my grand kids lifetimes, either, so I'm skeptical here. Other than failed brainwashing ala Clockwork Orange or fancy zapping dog collars activated by those watching you at the time, there's a long long long way to go to achieve an actual brain-Internet connection of any worth. Yes, I'm aware of some experimentation regarding prosthesis, but that is extremely crude compared to what would be needed to surf the net ala "The Matrix".

    Edit add: This whole thing rests on this excerpt from an article on the subject showing it's based on the science fiction story by Iain M. Banks' "The Culture" where "The Culture is a futuristic interstellar utopian, post-scarcity space society of humanoids, aliens, and very advanced artificial intelligence living in socialist habitats spread across the Milky Way galaxy." So there you have it. Stalin couldn't get socialism to work with guns and gulags, so the science fiction utopians are going to plug us all in like the Borg.
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    • Posted by JohnJMulhall 1 week, 3 days ago
      Key word: Utopian. In a utopia, everyone must not disagree with the 'collective thinking', so in our history the telescope wouldn't have been allowed, nor the earth rotating around the sun, nor the Wright Brother's airplane (if we were meant to fly, God would have given us wings), etc. etc.
      Thinking originally is anti-utopian.
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    • Posted by 1 week, 3 days ago
      When ever I hear of such a supposedly utopian society, I'm reminded of the fate of the Krell in the movie "Forbidden Planet." A system that provided their every wish fed on their basest fears to wreak destruction of the entire race.
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    • Posted by fosterj717 1 week, 3 days ago
      The unfortunate Truth is that it has been being rolled out for a couple of years now. Verizon has been putting up the pole/building mounted "base stations" for a couple of years now, getting folks used to having the new technology around.

      The base stations (for use in urban and suburban environments) will be used in tandem with the earth orbiting array, all networked and AI controlled. For those who think this is far off, you couldn't be more wrong! Smart "appliances", intelligent meters and even coffee pots, vacuum cleaners, etc. are now Internet enabled.

      Control is and will continue to be remote with owners having little or no control (other than disconnecting) these "magical" devices. This is Skynet on steroids!

      Good luck to the human race!!!
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      • Posted by mccannon01 1 week, 2 days ago
        Greetings, fosterj717. Don't let the hype and slick nomenclature fool you. I know you don't know me so I'll give you a bit of background. I've been a computer programmer since 1972 and I've been involved in chemical making and manufacturing systems ever since. Working with and programming computer systems that interface to the real world to perform various tasks is what I do (actually I'm retired, but I still get involved in an interesting project from time to time).

        "Smart" appliances and meters, etc. are virtually dumb as bricks, but may seem quite clever or even magical to the less informed because they can turn things on/off or report a value like a temperature or how many gallons of water you used last month. They are not "smart" or intelligent in any way. The fact that a transceiver chip was added to them so you can direct them from your cell phone doesn't make them any "smarter" - you are the one with the smarts using your cell phone instead of a wall switch or a dial on the device itself. The times when all this can cause trouble is when someone besides you gains access to your dumb as brick devices (such as your car's computer) and makes it do something you'd rather it didn't.

        One of the main reason companies like Verizon have to add towers is to add band width so smart folks like us can control our dumb as bricks appliances with our cell phones without worrying about dead spots or overloading. Slick programming algorithms (mistakenly referred to as AI) are used to keep the load moving from tower to tower without overloading a particular tower - not even close to Skynet. These guys are up to their necks just keeping the "damn thing" working so they can bill you every month with a minimum of complaints.

        Other slick programming algorithms (mistakenly referred to as AI) used by companies like Google and Amazon to sell you stuff screw up all the time, but are good enough to suck in the more gullible or naive among us to make money. Algorithms supposedly designed to monitor content are so screwed up they can hardly be referred to as "intelligent". They are programs doing whatever the programmers coded them to do - no intelligence there! Decades ago I was told in a conversation that "computers are very fast idiots" meaning they will do exactly as programmed very quickly.

        Now let's give a little thought to computer/brain interface. The research here continues and some progress in understanding brain section reaction to various stimulus has been mapped on a macro level, but nothing really specific. Poke here and a leg moves, prod there and you forget when you were born. One of the problems is the brain is an analog system that is as much chemical as it electrical. No one has discovered how to plug into it to gain an insight to its intelligence processing. No one has figured out how to interface to the brain of a gnat, either. Think about a non invasive cellular level neurotransmitter interpreter/composer interface. Haven't seen anything even close to that other than in fantasy science fiction movies.

        Relax, everyone. "They" are not even close!
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        • Posted by fosterj717 1 week, 2 days ago
          Greetings to you mccannon01. First of all, thanks for the wrap up of where "commercially" we are today especially with the associated technologies and capabilities mentioned. Unfortunately, progress is and has been made in a number of the areas of which you mentioned. Possibly, all....

          First, a little of my background. I was an IT Project Manager for AT&T, a technology Program Manager with a large defense contractor (BAE Systems) as well as a data center manager for ML&Co with a historic first with the Federal Reserve Bank of NY under my belt. With my background, I worked extensively with the DoD, the private sector including with very advanced technologies in optics, high speed optical, solid state data storage and intelligent targeting systems so, I do have a little insight into what is here now, what is rapidly coming down the pike and a problematic juncture where we are heading for technologically.

          As for our IOT (Internet of Things) being a collection of dumb devices, that is factually somewhat accurate but not totally. There are already advanced algorithms being developed (witness the breakthroughs in robotics and spacecraft) that without any trouble at all, your "smart" devices can become very intelligent such as your current variety of TV that can, with little difficulty, be "managed" without your knowledge or control should that be desired. That is not even really something new (early cable tv had some such capabilities to a certain extent). We have been heading in the direction of optical computing for some time now and even though not there yet, great advances have been made, all helping usher in the "Golden Age" of AI and networked devices. Human/machine interfaces aren't that far behind.

          As for AI (or what is known as AI), the work on various approaches and components have been going on for a while as well. In the mid to late 90's there were products such as Top Of Mind by the Molloy Group that integrated a number of AI centric approaches into a "trainable" knowledge based system capable of learning much the same way as the human brain does (note: the technology is much more advanced now) and the use of bots became even more widespread, initially on Wall Street. Today, they are being integrated into all types of advanced systems, including those by NASA and the DoD.

          Also, there has already been much progress on the man/machine interfaces (yes, even with the "analogue" restriction) that are enabling much greater interactions between the human brain, the nervous system with devices including chip enabled interfaces. That is not really new either.

          I do agree however, to a certain extent that the widespread roll out of these capabilities could still be down the road however, putting in the building blocks piece by piece including the various integral components is already well under way, that I can assure you.

          Regarding "Smart" appliances and meters being "dumb as bricks", that is true until they are programmed and have controllers put in (or enabled). That also is not new and the capabilities of controlling things through a homes electrical system was actually done in Japan back in the 1980's (internet connectivity). All components have been in place and accessible if so desired. The "Intelligent" power grid is the holy grail if you will for energy conservation and other capabilities that come into scope. All that is needed is the will and the willingness to invest in these technologies. Being a somewhat savvy technology centered person myself, the handwriting is clearly on the wall for those who wish to see it. Other than that, whistling past the graveyard with these advanced capabilities does not make it an impossible fantasy. To the contrary, by minimizing the impacts, it becomes that much easier to slip all of this into place before the average person realizes it. Viola! Endgame....

          In reality, I am much more interested in the abuse of privacy that even in its rudimentary form represents a quantum leap in the loss of same and with the loss of privacy, you have a definite loss of freedom. What exists now is interesting but far from the real and present concerns mentioned. I believe that if you stop and think about the ramifications, especially not too far down the road, you too would have such concerns.

          So, in a nutshell, I am not in total disagreement as to where we are today however my focus is on what is coming next and how that will without a doubt influence our lives in ways not yet in focus. Truth be told.
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          • Posted by mccannon01 1 week ago
            Greetings again, fosterj717. Sorry I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to respond sooner and thank for your thoughtful response and sharing some of your background and experiences (+1 there, for sure!, + more if I could). I enjoyed reading your post, not only for the information contained but it brought back fond memories of my own path in life. Here I started to enumerate some of my professional experiences, but deleted it all because that isn’t what we are discussing and I want to avoid droning on for lack of time. Suffice to say we walked different paths in the world of computerized engineering and technology but I believe we do share a lot in common. At least enough to have a good conversation regarding the “what if” and “when if” of the subject at hand.

            Here’s a few bullet points with my point of view addressing your input and maybe a few other things.

            - I’d really like to see success in an optical computer. They’ve been predicted and researched for decades now, but seem to be elusive. The promised speed and bandwidth capabilities are enormous, not to mention EMP immunity. IMHO though, they will still hold to the “fast idiot” description my friend placed on computers as I mentioned in the previous note except optical computers will be even faster idiots. They will still only do exactly as they are programmed.

            - I understand now days any device that contains a processor chip and a bit of programming is labeled “smart”, such as if my refrigerator can message my iPhone with a full/empty status of the automatic ice cube container it’s called “smart” or even “intelligent”. IMHO, I know better. It’s still a dumb as a brick refrigerator with a nicely engineered feature (or annoyance, as the case may be, lol). If folks want to call an appliance with an onboard chip that improves its efficiency or adds new features “smart” or ”magic”, then I guess I don’t need to complain.

            - If my devices are being “managed” (your TV example and my car computer example) without my knowledge it will be someone doing it. It isn’t an intelligent “what” out there, it’s an intelligent “who” and that “who” may not have our best interests in mind. I say the device being managed isn’t intelligent or even “smart”, but it’s onboard features are being accessed or used by a smart human with a motive. This brings up the dark side of what we are discussing and as you say there are many “building blocks piece by piece” even available today. Simple easy to see examples of that is Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home, which are always listening and need an Internet connection to process what they hear. Easy trick to tap into the conversation - George Orwell was way ahead of the game on this one. Less obvious is the fact that microphones and cameras built into our mobile phones and home computers hypothetically can also be accessed without our knowledge. Your statement “In reality, I am much more interested in the abuse of privacy that even in its rudimentary form represents a quantum leap in the loss of same and with the loss of privacy, you have a definite loss of freedom.” regarding this topic is right on the money, but I say it will be a “who” with an agenda invading our privacy through our devices.

            - Merging man and machine, specifically the thinking brain to surf the net, which is what sparked this conversation to begin with. The way I see it, the most progress in physical man/machine interface has been done in the prosthesis field of artificial limbs, which I mentioned earlier. None of this is through direct brain interfacing to “thought control” an artificial part, but the most advanced connection is by monitoring an electrical pulse from a piece of muscle tissue or nerve ending long after the brain has sent the signal. It’s like responding to a computer controlled LED blinking light and having no idea how the light is made to blink in the first place. Even this connection is not an easy task and the field is in its infancy regarding common application. Matrix style brain/machine interface? This is where I say the “what if” hasn’t been invented yet and the “when if” is likely so far into the future it isn’t worth anyone in our generation to even worry about.

            - AI. Very clever and complex coding techniques to approach a given problem. Yes, I’m being simplistic, but lets use an AI chess program as an example. Once the program “learns” to play chess, that is all it will ever do (and likely it was designed to be a chess program right from the beginning). It has no volition to self decide to stop playing chess and go for a ride on a spacecraft to mars. Likewise an AI spacecraft routine isn’t going to decide give up monitor/control of the spacecraft and play chess instead. As far as I know, at this time intelligent “volition” is not yet programmable. However, science fiction writers always assume such traits “somehow” manifest themselves without any clue as to how it was done. Computers do what they are programmed to do very quickly.

            Uh-oh, I’m being interrupted and have to run…
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            • Posted by 6 days, 10 hours ago
              Regards the optical computer, I think that has been bypassed in favor of the quantum computer, with multiple states possible instead of the simple binary 1 or 0. Quantum computers promise many multiples of the speed envisioned for optical computers, without having to wrestle with uprooting manufacturing processes.
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              • Posted by mccannon01 6 days, 10 hours ago
                Greetings, Doc. I've only seen a few articles regarding quantum computers and your assessment may be right. I haven't deliberately pursued the subject and can't say I know much about it. Thanks for pointing it out.
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                • Posted by 6 days, 10 hours ago
                  The Strategic Defense Initiative folks wrestled with the 3D computer chip as an alternative to the optical computer, but couldn't solve the heating issues with multi-stack chips. The quantum computer seems to be the magic bullet that avoids the problems of either the 3D or the optical paths.
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            • Posted by fosterj717 1 week ago
              Hi mccannon01....enjoyable post and I totally agree, even if different paths were taken, there is still ample topics for a lively and stimulating discussion. It will be a short discussion tonight on my part, but not for lack of desire to continue. Its just that we have company and my time is now being monopolized a bit. Will continue tomorrow.
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        • Posted by 1 week, 2 days ago
          Skynet wasn't in mind when I posed this problem. The main issue I see is further distraction from real person to person interaction. I watch the smartphone zombies today, obsessed with their personal flatscreen devices, their thumbs clattering away, oblivious to the world around them, colliding with other persons or inanimate objects, and I think about how much worse it will be with a "hands free" internet connection. With the illusion of a more intimate connection, how much more information will the users willingly provide, ignorant of how that personal information might be used?

          As for the mind control angle, studies have shown how Google used information responses to sway millions of independent voters to support Hillary Clinton in 2016. With a more omnipresent connection, how much more influence a big tech company might have on individual choices?
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          • Posted by mccannon01 1 week ago
            HI, Doc. "Smartphone zombies". Yes, I know what you mean. Behind the wheel of a moving vehicle they can become quite lethal.

            The mind control angle. This is another vehicle of propaganda. People with an agenda hijacking tech. Do you think with exposure (like fake news being exposed) less people will pay attention to it?
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    • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 3 days ago
      The way some things (for instance these Internet computers at the library), go on the blink, and don't work properly as they're suppose to, the glitches that themselves would occur would likely mess the operations up. But what we can rely on, is actual human brains working naturally.
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  • Posted by Robert_B 1 week, 4 days ago
    Can I not first get a pair of damned Google glasses with Closed Captioning so I don't actually have to listen to anyone's annoying tonal inflection? Elon Musk is ahead of more than the game, he's ahead of himself!
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  • Posted by  $  pixelate 1 week, 2 days ago
    This reminds me of the 1983 film Brainstorm They made it appear to be technologically feasible to record a person's mental activity, in particular, the perceptions, as well as memory access ... and replay the tape recording into another person. Of course the government (military) saw the potential and got involved and that's when plot illustrated the less than appealing potential of brain-wave recording and playback technology.
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 1 week, 3 days ago
    I think it is one of the most horrific inventions in the history of man. I would never allow myself to be hooked up to it. I think I would choose death first.
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