tl;dr: Downloading your brain to the cloud and having a direct connection to the Internet could be an intelligence game-changer. Simultaneously, new questions and challenges arise for the storage and security of your brain’s data.
Recently, Elon Musk made news by announcing that his company, Neuralink(wikipedia), would start trials of Computer-Brain Interface (CBI) chips on humans in 2020.
The promise is remarkable.
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Essentially, have your brain connect directly to the Internet.
Today, our brains are limited on both the input and the output side.
On the output side, it’s as quick as we can talk or type.
On the input side, we get a lot more with vision, hearing, sense, taste, etc.
However, if you can type 80 words per minute, we’re talking output on the range of a 28k or 56k modem.
The CBI will allow output speeds of 2GB per second.
It’s really difficult to conceptualize what this will mean for the evolution of the human race.
Arguably, we are already cyborgs in the sense that phones/devices have become permanent appendages. They serve as a layer of extra cognition between our brains and the rest of reality. So, in some respects, this is nothing new.
Of course, the invasion of the physical body with communication devices to the outside world feels like a barrier has been crossed.
But, we all knew it would.
Wearables like the Apple Watch got us closer and things like pacemakers and other medical reconnaissance implants have sent information from inside the body to the outside world for a while now.
As I pondered this future, I began to wonder about where all of the data emanating from our brains would be stored.
The answer, from Kurzweil and Musk, is “in the cloud.”
In one sense, this is obvious, since it’s not going to be on a local hard drive. The whole point of this CBI is to combine the power of our respective brains so we can all have greater insights and understanding of the world around us.
In the other, it is less obvious.
As I was reading the article, the other thought that came across my mind (no CBI necessary on this one) was: “I hope all of this will get stored on a decentralized cloud like Storj or the Permaweb.”
After all, do we all want out brain waves, thoughts, meta-neuro data stored on Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud?
What if those data centers, holding your brain functions, are hacked and then sold on the Dark Web?
Talk about Identity Theft.
Admittedly, we are far away from this, though not as far as we probably think given Musk’s timeframes.
What we do see is the possible convergence of exponential technologies: blockchain, AI, and neuro-tech to create entirely new platforms for wealth creation and global problem-solving.
One day, the data that your brain puts on the Internet will get tokenized, becoming an owned data asset that benefits you and the rest of us.
MeditationCoin or KnowledgeToken or BrainExperienceCoin.
We’ll get paid for contributing our thoughts to the commons.
Hopefully, by sharing with the commons, we don’t become more vulnerable to brain-jacking or manipulation.
Will our brain data be safely stored in the cloud? was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.