29 April 2021
Space Force’s top scientist has said that the gradual merger of man and machine is “imperative”, hailing a new era of “human augmentation” in military tech. He also urged for an expansion of augmentation tech beyond the military.
At an event hosted by the Airforce Research Laboratory (AFRL) on Wednesday, Dr. Joel Mozer, chief scientist for the Space Force, said “superhuman” technologies are on the horizon, insisting the US “cannot afford to lag in this area.”
“In the last century, Western civilization transformed from an industrial-based society to an information-based society, but today we’re on the brink of a new age: the age of human augmentation,” he said. “In our business of national defense, it’s imperative that we embrace this new age, lest we fall behind our strategic competitors.”
Combining man’s ingenuity with “machine efficiency and power and speed” will “create capabilities that are more than human,” Mozer continued, predicting “unimaginable” advances over the next decade. He cited progress in artificial intelligence, pointing to an AI program developed by a Google subsidiary, AlphaGo Zero, which was able to train itself to play the game of Go at a master level in just a few weeks, without using any data from real human matches.
The Pentagon’s advanced research wing, DARPA, has embarked on numerous projects aiming to augment humans. With funding from Darpa, researchers with the BrainGate Consortium have made headlines after they successfully demonstrated a high-bandwidth wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) in two tetraplegic human subjects.
Coming on the heels of the Neuralink announcement earlier this month—complete with video showing a monkey playing Pong with its mind, thanks to a wireless brain implant—researchers with the BrainGate Consortium have successfully demonstrated a high-bandwidth wireless brain-computer interface (BCI) in two tetraplegic human subjects. The researchers described their work in a recent paper published in the journal IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering.
BCIs interact with brain cells, recording the electrical activity of neurons and translating those signals into action. Such systems generally involve electrode sensors to record neuronal activity, a chipset to transmit the signals, and computer algorithms to translate the signals. BCIs can be external, similar to medical EEGs in that the electrodes are placed onto the scalp or forehead with a wearable cap; or they can be implanted directly into the brain. The former are less invasive but can be less accurate because there is more noise interfering with the signals; the latter require brain surgery, which can be risky.
— BrainGate Team (@BrainGateTeam) April 2, 2021
In an important step toward a fully implantable intracortical brain-computer interface system, BrainGate researchers demonstrated the first human use of a wireless transmitter capable of delivering high-bandwidth neural signals.https://t.co/kDlLgOv2Nn#NeuroTech #BrainTech #BCI
— NeuroTechX (@NeuroTechX) April 9, 2021
High-bandwidth wireless BCI demonstrated in humans for first time. BrainGate device complements Neuralink's successful test of wireless BCI in monkey. https://t.co/VpHvZzICRq
— Jennifer Ouellette (@JenLucPiquant) April 28, 2021
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