A host of researchers, including Elon Musk and the US Defense Department’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), have been working on micro-chips for the brain that could boost human performance.
The objective of the brain-computer interfaces (BCI) include helping people with physical disabilities regain movement, helping to cure mental illnesses, but also to boost things such as learning speed and memory function for the average person.
However, those leading the charge are calling on strict regulations to be put in place to prevent AI from being able to hack the micro-chips and wreak havoc on humanity.
A collaboration of 27 experts—neuroscientists, neurotechnologists, clinicians, ethicists and machine-intelligence engineers – who have called themselves the Morningside Group – wrote a comment piece in the science journal Nature.
They warned: “Such advances could revolutionise the treatment of many conditions, from brain injury and paralysis to epilepsy and schizophrenia, and transform human experience for the better.
“But the technology could also exacerbate social inequalities and offer corporations, hackers, governments or anyone else new ways to exploit and manipulate people.
“And it could profoundly alter some core human characteristics: private mental life, individual agency and an understanding of individuals as entities bound by their bodies.
“For neurotechnologies to take off in general consumer markets, the devices would have to be non-invasive, of minimal risk, and require much less expense to deploy than current neurosurgical procedures.
“Nonetheless, even now, companies that are developing devices must be held accountable for their products, and be guided by certain standards, best practices and ethical norms.”
The letter finishes: “The possible clinical and societal benefits of neurotechnologies are vast.
“To reap them, we must guide their development in a way that respects, protects and enables what is best in humanity.”