Neural lace – at least as it was envisaged by Banks, is a bio electronic mesh that can be injected into the brain, and allows the neurons within the brain to form synapses with electronic neurons in a computer.
Researchers in China claimed to have made a breakthrough back in 2015, when they managed to inject a flexible electrical circuit into the brains of a mouse. The circuit then expanded, and the mouse’s brain cells grew around the mesh.
The idea in the medium term is that such technology may help cure neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
In the long run – well its science fiction coming to the real world.
So, Musk has formed Nueralink, a company that is developing neural lace technology – according to a report in The Journal.
We have had no confirmation, but frankly the idea fits in rather neatly with what we know Mr Musk wants to do.
This begs two questions: can it be done, and if so, should it be done?
The answer to the first is let’s wait and see, and probably – eventually, but maybe not for a few decades.
As for the second, maybe this is better than the alternative. Either we become one with the machine, or the machine replaces us.
But imagine the implications.
One implication relates to cyber security. As Bob Geldof could have sung: “silicon chip inside her head, so ISIS could switch to overload.”
Implication number two: imagine the global network that would be created if we all interfaced to a computer, and then, from this, linked to each other. Maybe we would create god, not a man with a beard sitting on a cloud, but the cloud itself – with our own thoughts forming part of it. A new holy trinity, father (the human), the son, (the computer) – and the holy spirit (the cloud.) Fiction has come up with such concepts before – Isaac Asimov’s Gaia in the Foundation series, for example or, even James Cameron’s Avatar.
Do you think that is scary? If you do, well maybe you should. But maybe the alternative is far scarier.