Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Are You Really Ready To Get Wired?

Brains can have wireless upgrades: Scientist
By Lynn Tan
via CNETAsia

Tuesday, September 23 2003 9:07 AM

SINGAPORE -- It could well be the ultimate in hands-free adaptors: A researcher claims that in a decade, people will have wireless networks in their heads.

image courtesy of Robofactory
This will enable direct mind-to-mind and mind-to-machine communications, claimed University of Reading cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick, who specializes in artificial intelligence and robotics. He is best known for his work in cybernetics, the study of control systems, especially systems that blend human nerves with electronic networks.



In a talk to students yesterday, he said that he plans to surgically implant a radio chip in his brain in about a decade, when such cybernetics technology becomes available. He is so keen on the idea that he claims the worst part of the process will be removing the device after the experiment.
An augmented brain will get so used to its powers -- for example, being able to switch on a light by thought -- that it will not be able to cope without the implant, he said.
"It will be such a trauma to remove it, the brain might not live. The implant goes in and stays in," Warwick said.
The brain implant will remain in his brain and will be permanent. In a widely-publicized experiment -- some said stunt -- a probe that was implanted in 2002 to link Warwick's nervous system to a computer and was removed after a few months.
He said that humans have limited capabilities to understand the world in three dimensions and communicate very slowly through speech, and hopes to use machine intelligence to expand human senses and to communicate through thought.
However, Warwick has yet to find a serious candidate to undergo the brain implant with him due to the possibility of operating-room complications and other life-endangering problems.
The U.K.-based researcher first implanted a chip in his arm that transmitted information to a computer in 1998, and claimed to be the world's first true cyborg, or cybernetic organism. This experiment allowed Warwick to be tracked as he moved about the department of cybernetics at the university.
In February 2002, Warwick implanted a probe into his left arm which allowed signals to be transmitted between his nervous system and a computer. The purpose was to investigate the transmission of movement, though or emotion signals from one person to another.
He is currently on an educational tour in Singapore which will end on Sept. 24.
Original story.

Readers' Comments    
2003-09-26 08:20:38

Jonathan Ryan

I'd be interested in being a candidate for that experiment. If proper cryogenic backups were in place in case things went wrong.

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, September 25 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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