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Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

Technological solutions are used to create useful wearable devices. They contain a processor, RAM, wireless interfaces, a Wi-Fi module, or mobile modems. In general, these products are aimed at improving the daily life of people.

Neurointerfaces (also called BCIs) have gone even further by integrating technological solutions into human activities. They are classified as invasive or non-invasive. Invasive ones are implanted into the cerebral cortex. Elon Musk (Neuralink company) is engaged in development, for example. Non-invasive devices are devices with electrodes in different form factors. They do not imply invasion of the body, which means that they are safe for humans like, for example, smart watches. The appearance of such devices is often familiar to a person, for example, it can be headphones with built-in electrodes. In theory, they can already be used in the everyday life of any person and, perhaps, will soon really fit into our life.
Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

Neurointerfaces allow you to interact with the outside world based on recording the electrical activity of the brain – an electroencephalogram or EEG. A convenient and affordable encephalograph with an acceptable signal for non-invasive BCI is available from Neiry, Nextmind, Neurable and some others. With Neuralink’s invasive sensor-implanted connectivity, paralyzed people can restore motor function, while patients with neurological disorders restore sensory function.

Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

The market for computer neurointerfaces continues to grow. According to the forecasts of the Neuronet Industry Union, the world market will grow to $ 35 billion by 2025. But a number of misconceptions stand in the way of widespread use of the devices.

With the proliferation of neural interfaces, corporations will be able to read our minds

People are afraid that the symbiosis of the brain and technology will lead to changes in the psyche and emotional state, and BCI manufacturers will be able to use the methods of reading brain impulses for their own purposes. For this reason, a new direction in ethics has appeared – neuroethics. To protect the confidentiality of a person’s personal data, neuroethics propose using a list of mandatory rules at the initial stages of the design and development of technologies. In particular, we are talking about monitoring and monitoring the development of electrodes, which are used in neurointerfaces.

However, BCI at the current stage of development technically cannot influence the human psyche. To change behavior and manipulation, it is necessary to use electrodes that stimulate certain areas of the brain. Stimulating the brain is much more difficult than reading signals, which is why there are no such devices in the mass market and they are not used in corporations. All existing neurointerfaces are aimed only at reading brain activity. As for reading minds, not a single laboratory has yet learned this. And it’s not a fact that something like this will ever be implemented.
Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

The development of a new legal system in the field of “neuroprofessional law” will help to limit the use of information coming from the human brain. Professor Roberto Andorno and graduate student Marcello Ienca of the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Basel have proposed new human rights laws. They aim to minimize ethical issues in neurotechnology: the right to cognitive freedom, the right to mental health, the right to mental integrity, and the right to psychological continuity.

Hackers can hack a person’s personal data

The leakage of confidential BCI data entails the loss of cognitive freedom and an encroachment on mental privacy. The decoding of the signals of the nervous system and their subsequent control should only take place with guaranteed safety of use and limit unwanted access by third parties. Neural interface manufacturers use reliable cryptography, security engineering and conduct extensive security audits to protect information.

Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

Scientists insist on regulating the scope of neurointerfaces. A set of actions at the legislative and technological levels protects users from hacking of brain data. But even if hackers gain access to the signals, they will only see impersonal EEG data of a person, which are of no value in their pure form. In fact, more information about a person can be obtained during the leak of medical records from the clinic than from the raw EEG.

Neurotechnology has a negative impact on health

The technology of neurointerfaces is based on the registration of cerebral macroactivity in the form of electroencephalogram signals. The EEG device has long been successfully used in medicine. The only reason why a person is calm about the EEG procedure in the clinic, but with distrust of neurointerfaces, is the lack of information. BCIs read and interpret the received brain signals, but they cannot influence their activity.

Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

The non-invasive device is a helmet or headphones with electrodes and is absolutely safe for health. The first non-invasive neurointerfaces based on EEG appeared back in 1960. Unlike neuroimplants, non-invasive BCIs are easy to use and do not affect the neural tissues of the cerebral cortex in any way. The main difference between medical EEG and BCI is that, in addition to reading the EEG, neurointerfaces can classify signals with high accuracy and send them further to perform any action.

Neurotechnology is creating addiction to cyberspace

Gambling addiction dates back to the 18th century and arose with the advent of the first gambling card games. Therefore, it is a mistake to believe that the invention of new technologies in cyberspace will cause an explosion of addiction. Gambling disorder depends on the psyche of a particular person, and any game can serve as an impetus, be it a sports betting or the virtual world of digital entertainment.

Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

Neural interfaces are fundamentally changing the concept of adaptive gameplay. They allow you to associate a signal from the brain with a specific command. EEG analyzes such parameters of a player as his involvement, level of tension, concentration, motor signals. This feedback improves the quality of the game and personalizes it for the user. In addition, the use of BCIs can help develop cognitive abilities and turn the educational process into fun. Thanks to the technology based on the P300 evoked potential detection, machine learning methods and neural network classifiers, we can track which of the objects in the game a person is looking at.

Valve, an American computer games company, has already purchased a BCI device from Neiry for testing. Their head, Gabe Newell, believes that the future of games is directly related to the development of neurointerfaces. He recommends that developers pay attention to neural interfaces and create software taking into account the use of BCI.

Neurotechnology for geeks only

The use of neurotechnology and BCI has expanded beyond medicine. Active negotiations are underway on their application in the field of entertainment, industry, and in the field of education they are already working. Large corporations are planning to implement neural interfaces to improve human interaction with a product.

Five things you misunderstand about neurotechnology

Neurointerfaces interested adherents of digisexuality – people who realize their sexual needs in the virtual world. According to the forecasts of Brian Schuster, director of the online role-playing game Red light Center, a sexual singularity is possible – a phenomenon when a person prefers virtual relationships to real ones. It seems impossible, but let’s look at the numbers. The global SexTech market volume was $ 50 billion in 2020 and is growing by 30% on average. Forbes predicts it will reach $ 122 billion in 2024.

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