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You Can Now Join Silicon Valley’s Cognitive Elite For Just $5

By Ashlyn Davis

neural prosthetics

Merging with AI is fast becoming a reality. But what does that mean for our humble human lives in the Bay?

Your brain is the hottest real estate in the world right now and Silicon Valley is planning to weave its way into it both literally and figuratively. Elon Musk’s Neuralink, is aiming to create “a symbiosis with artificial intelligence” by sewing polymers into your brain (eek!). Meanwhile, Vicarious is simulating your brain’s patterns to create robots that think more like humans (wtf!?). Welcome to the world of neural prosthetics and temporal optimization.

This is really only a prelude to the bigger picture; Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). This could be like downloading Google to your brain or at least plugging into something that holds all the combined knowledge of the world that you can access faster than your thumbs can. Admittedly, kind of exciting, considering we’ve practically attached ourselves to our black-mirrored devices for the last decade.

Other than all the creepy Frankenstein imagery this conjures up, these innovations could be incredibly powerful and would change humanity as we know it today.

Let’s stop panicking for a second and consider how this may change your day-to-day existence for better or worse.

1. Your next monthly subscription model could be $5 brain patches

 

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Never mind plugging in your headphones and letting Spotify’s latest bass-heavy beat pulsate through your eardrums, Humm wants to slap a patch on your forehead and send electromagnetic pulses through your brain to stimulate your working memory, apparently turning you into a sort of Einstein. For two hours. Thus, the company is conveniently offering a $60 subscription which amounts to $5 per patch. Not quite in the same budget range as your monthly Netflix, but with claims to increase your annual income, it’s a bargain.

2. Your Alexa may be up for adoption, the next step is telepathy

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According to Dr. Mary Lou Jepson – inventor of a multitude of display, imaging, and computer hardware technologies – the obvious trajectory for all this new technology is telepathy. If everyone is “sharing a brain” then we might not even need language; communication would become instant and universal. Which could change everything for the better. In theory.  It could also mean that those with speech or hearing disabilities will have a way of being more integrated with the world. It could also mean that we live in a world of silence where people will appear to be spontaneously laughing, smiling or crying.

If everyone shifts over to the hybrid life will naysayers be heading for Nevada?

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With the rife competition in the Valley, there’s an ever-growing pressure to outsmart the startup next door or the college kid in pajamas. While the thought of the BART train being packed with super-humans will make you want to run for the hills, it’s already curing major debilitating diseases like Parkinson’s. Still, nobody wants their brain hacked, so perhaps we may be adopting a Mad Max lifestyle.

3. Take a trip to Hawaii without the sunburn

Forget the VR or 5D experiences, these could now be implanted directly into your brain without stepping foot out of the house. This could mean we could go to all of the places and have all the experiences we ever wanted without moving, solving things like climate change and the disruption of sensitive natural areas that are affected by tourism. But, stepping back into the current world, AI is already optimizing travel plans by predicting weather conditions, costs and figuring out what places you want to explore on your behalf, according to TechRadar.

4. The next big art exhibition you see may be created entirely by a bot

AI is already rocking the world of art. From the Rembrandts being recreated down to the very brushstroke, to musicians having their “vocal fingerprints” taken, to create new music, at a more rapid pace than algorithms. So, in essence, the unique creative identity stems from a human, but can then begin replicating, without you lifting a finger. In other words, you could become the next Van Gogh without touching a paintbrush.

If this is all overwhelming, here are a few ways to find out more about AI-related technology in the Bay Area

  1. Uncanny in The Valley: Being Human in the Age of Ai, de Young museum, now until October 2020
  2. AI Punch, UC Berkley, February 27, 2020
  3. Think by IBM, various venues around Market Street, May 4 -7, 2020
  4. TechCrunch Sessions: Robotics + AI 2020, Berkley,  March 3, 2020
  5. Neurotech community, ongoing