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  • Repent for the Singularity is near...

    Artifical memory-enhancing hippocampus. Computer-like short term memory. That's nuts.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117...-13762,00.html

    US military experts are attempting to create an army of super-human soldiers who will be more intelligent and deadly thanks to a microchip implanted in their brains.
    Scientists believe the implant will vastly improve the memory of troops so that they can recall every detail of their training and become more effective fighters.

    Researchers at the University of Southern California's bio-engineering department have created the chip, which acts in exactly the same way as the hippocampus - the part of the brain that deals with memory.

    In experiments, the team removed that section of the brain of dead rats and inserted the chip in its place. The implant sent exactly the same electronic signals as the real thing.

    The next stage of the project is to test the implant on live animals. If this work proves to be as successful, experiments could one day be carried out on soldiers.
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  • #2
    Considering how I did on my logical circuits midterm I'd be in the market for one of these things me thinks. Interesting that things like this that have wide general use seem to often start as defense projects.

    -zac
    %54%68%69%73%20%69%73%20%6E%6F%74%20%68%65%78

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    • #3
      next news story:
      russia invents effective EMP. US soldiers brains resort to chicken-like IQ's on battle field.
      the fresh prince of 1337

      To learn how to hack; submit your request

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by KeLviN
        next news story:
        russia invents effective EMP. US soldiers brains resort to chicken-like IQ's on battle field.
        Hippocampus underlies the learning process in the brain. If only this was damaged, then they may still retain exisiting memories and learning, but be unable to learn new things beyond reactionary responses.

        Reminds me of a film plot where a character could not make new long term memories.

        That would be morbidly amusing with soldiers. No matter how many times they completed their objective, they would eventually go back and try to complete it again.

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        • #5
          i'm torn between pissed that you ruined the awsomeness of my post, and glad that i learned something new...

          so SHUT THE FUCK AWSOME!
          the fresh prince of 1337

          To learn how to hack; submit your request

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by KeLviN
            i'm torn between pissed that you ruined the awsomeness of my post, and glad that i learned something new...

            so SHUT THE FUCK AWSOME!
            Oh! Ooops! Sorry about that.
            [Make something up that sounds possible]
            Maybe if the EMP was strong enough, it could transfer enough energy to the IC of the chip, heat it up and literally cook a larger part of the person's brain, and with death od neurons, toxins are released that can kill even more brain cells, and maybe leave the soldiers acting like clucking chickens?

            There you go. Does that work better? ]:>

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            • #7
              Why aren't you talking about THE GODDAMN SINGULARITY... it's coming people!
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              • #8
                Originally posted by bascule
                Why aren't you talking about THE GODDAMN SINGULARITY... it's coming people!
                If / when it comes, it will be subject to the same problems that technology has had in other spaces:
                Newer technologies will quickly obselete older technologies with more space, speed, features, and/or stability.

                Items at issue:
                Humans tend to scar (super-fast, nearly disorganized healing) instead of regenerate, and scar tissue will probably be one limit for how many times we can be upgraded before we can't be upgraded with cybernetic "upgrades."

                Long-term human engineering will probably come from genetic alterations, but this will not happen so quickly while issues of human experimentation exist. (War can accelerate such things, as can any blind-faith-based system.)

                There are also potential social costs: further separation between the "have" and "have nots" not to mention old ideas like eugenics, classism, and risk for emergent lower-class of people to serve these new "super humans."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheCotMan
                  Humans tend to scar (super-fast, nearly disorganized healing) instead of regenerate, and scar tissue will probably be one limit for how many times we can be upgraded before we can't be upgraded with cybernetic "upgrades."
                  Once we figure out where to place electrodes the "upgrades" can all be placed externally (which you're going to want to do anyway with a wireless transmitter)

                  Long-term human engineering will probably come from genetic alterations, but this will not happen so quickly while issues of human experimentation exist.
                  I don't think you're understanding how fast this is going to go...
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bascule
                    Once we figure out where to place electrodes the "upgrades" can all be placed externally (which you're going to want to do anyway with a wireless transmitter)
                    There will be upgrades to interfaces though. Faster, more badwidth, longer lifespan better security (reliability for example.)
                    These upgrades will also exist for the bits, which require surgery. Consider how little time passes before memory cards for digital cameras are no longer interchangable with newer models. Serial communication? Naw. Parallel? Naw. USB? Naw. Firewire? Naw. USB 2.0? Naw. Wireless (bluetooth) ...
                    The interface to get data from the camera to the computer changes as we find better communication systems with better interfaces.
                    This happens for each interface, and would likely happen for the machine-brain interface too.
                    Consider the security issues that have existed with wireless. If there if a flaw found in a security protocol, can it be fixed with just software? What about DoS?

                    Just as we desire the newest and best computers on our desktops, coporations and others will desired to have the best and fastest interfaces in their human employees.

                    This does not even begin to address issues and complications with adding foreign materials to living tissues.

                    You know about Physics. You know about newton? Consider momentum. Consider an object of silicon, gold, silver, and a few other elements and semiconductors placed in the brain.

                    Now consider what happens to that object when the human head suddenly accellerates (rollercoaster) through high speed or changes in direction, or suddenly deccellerates through collision.Our brain is connected living tissue. Tissue may compress and stretch, and sometimes break, but what about momentum and foreign (rigid) objects in soft tissue?

                    I don't think you're understanding how fast this is going to go...
                    The speed at which we see growth in technology will be limited to the rules we allow to exist, and impose on developers.
                    Growth can be really fast, but if human experimentation is not allowed, real-world examples of this working may be hard to provide, so as to convince the population they should undergo surgery.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheCotMan
                      There will be upgrades to interfaces though.
                      The only thing which would require a surgical change would be if we need to shift the locus of points where the electrodes are inserted.

                      Faster, more badwidth, longer lifespan better security (reliability for example.)
                      These upgrades will also exist for the bits, which require surgery. Consider how little time passes before memory cards for digital cameras are no longer interchangable with newer models. Serial communication? Naw. Parallel? Naw. USB? Naw. Firewire? Naw. USB 2.0? Naw. Wireless (bluetooth) ...
                      The interface to get data from the camera to the computer changes as we find better communication systems with better interfaces.
                      This happens for each interface, and would likely happen for the machine-brain interface too.
                      Consider the security issues that have existed with wireless. If there if a flaw found in a security protocol, can it be fixed with just software? What about DoS?

                      Just as we desire the newest and best computers on our desktops, coporations and others will desired to have the best and fastest interfaces in their human employees.
                      The point is none of this requires internal modifications. The device you upgrade could just plug in anywhere you want to put the electrode interface on your body (the back of the neck seems to be the usual place for this kind of thing)

                      A newer, better, faster model out than what you have? No problem, just unclip the old one from the back of your neck and clip the new one in.

                      This does not even begin to address issues and complications with adding foreign materials to living tissues.

                      You know about Physics. You know about newton? Consider momentum. Consider an object of silicon, gold, silver, and a few other elements and semiconductors placed in the brain.

                      Now consider what happens to that object when the human head suddenly accellerates (rollercoaster) through high speed or changes in direction, or suddenly deccellerates through collision.Our brain is connected living tissue. Tissue may compress and stretch, and sometimes break, but what about momentum and foreign (rigid) objects in soft tissue?
                      We've been implanting foreign materials in living tissues for decades and decades. What I'm suggesting would only be small electrodes connected by wires to some external point on the body. The mass of the wires/electrodes would be relatively insignificant compared to the supportive fatty tissue of the brain.

                      Specific to implanting electrodes into the brain:
                      http://www.clevelandclinic.org/neuro...niques/dbs.htm
                      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4396387.stm
                      http://www.geocities.com/skews_me/implants.html

                      The speed at which we see growth in technology will be limited to the rules we allow to exist, and impose on developers.
                      Growth can be really fast, but if human experimentation is not allowed, real-world examples of this working may be hard to provide, so as to convince the population they should undergo surgery.
                      Sounds like they're about to do human testing on this anyway...
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bascule
                        The only thing which would require a surgical change would be if we need to shift the locus of points where the electrodes are inserted.
                        Are you saying that there will be no advancement in interface and parallelization for connections to neural nodes?
                        Consider these:
                        Movement from use of charge to trigger existing cells, to one of generating the chemicals needed to fuel processing.
                        Direct chemical production through synaptic gap to neurons. The rate at which more chemicals can be producted, how well we can target neurons.

                        Let us assume that as a result of such changes, there really is a spike in productivity, research and development by super humans. Would you not expect that there would be enhancements to this technology too?

                        Itis really short-sighted to assume that the interface between hardware and tissue will not need to be upgraded with time.

                        The point is none of this requires internal modifications.
                        "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

                        It seems evident to me that humans continue to develop newer and better technology. Ignoring the history of technology, and choosing to consider this a special case where the technology for upgraded hardware-to-tissue- interfaces won't need to be upgraded except to, "shift the locus of points where the electrodes are inserted," is a bit shortsighted.

                        The device you upgrade could just plug in anywhere you want to put the electrode interface on your body (the back of the neck seems to be the usual place for this kind of thing)
                        If not wireless, there is risk for infection.
                        If wireless (the trend) is this a security issue? Does a person with such an upgrade place themself at greater risk for things like brainwashing when others have physical access to them? Does this become an extra entry point for torture "without marks" to apply to people with information that is desired?

                        Perhaps, there could be upgrades in the internal technology to allow the user to enable or disable the interface with thought.
                        [Sarcasm]Oh wait. That kind of upgrade won't be necessary, because they will only need to alter the internal interface if they need to ,"shift the locus of points where the electrodes are inserted."

                        A newer, better, faster model out than what you have? No problem, just unclip the old one from the back of your neck and clip the new one in.
                        If it were that simple, then why is it that people don't just upgrade their CPU and peripherals when buying a new computer?
                        Perhaps bus speed on the MotherBoard is an issue. Perhaps more hardware is integrated into smaller, more efficient and faster motherboards as time moves foreward, and it is a better value to buy new rather than use the older , outdated technology.

                        We've been implanting foreign materials in living tissues for decades and decades.
                        We have also been learning for decades and decades, and most of these applications are completed to "fix" medical conditions.

                        What is being proposed is similar to plastic surgery. It would be elective, and there is potential for there to be an advantage to those that accept it, but there are side effects with plastic surgery too, and with nearly any kinds of surgery, there is risk for death due to complications, anesthetic, alergic reactions, or more.

                        What I'm suggesting would only be small electrodes connected by wires to some external point on the body. The mass of the wires/electrodes would be relatively insignificant compared to the supportive fatty tissue of the brain.
                        If we find better signaling systems for external interfaces (especially wireless) what kinds of backwards compatability will exist for people to support the older interfaces? At what point will the market dictate that there is no profit in making external interface for older models, as found in an aging population?
                        Mariginalization can dictate policy, and push people to upgrade their hardware just like we see today when OS and software designers EOL their products. "What? You want the security update? You need to upgrade because we no longer support that."

                        Sure. I can look over these, ad I bet I can suggest ideas that they are trying to add to make them better, faster stronger [theme song for the Six Million Dollar Man.]

                        Sounds like they're about to do human testing on this anyway...
                        There has been work with medical testing, and perhaps we will see this next applied in the military-- Probably not on the battlefield right away, but maybe later.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheCotMan
                          Now consider what happens to that object when the human head suddenly accellerates (rollercoaster) through high speed or changes in direction, or suddenly deccellerates through collision.
                          This is what is called a coup or contrecoup, depending on the mechanism of injury.
                          AFAIK usually causes heavy concussion/closed head injury. Haven't seen an implant in one yet, though..
                          Originally posted by TheCotMan
                          Our brain is connected living tissue. Tissue may compress and stretch, and sometimes break, but what about momentum and foreign (rigid) objects in soft tissue?
                          I've also never seen a pacemaker pop out or have electrodes misplaced due to trauma either...:> I don't think that would be a problem.

                          Al
                          "Are my pants...threatening you?"

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                          • #14
                            Wow pretty soon we'll have USB ports on our head to transfer data to external drives and USB keys.
                            Red Squirrel

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                            • #15
                              CotMan, you're overlooking the big picture and just restating some classical economic problems surrounding when old technologies are discarded and new ones adopted.

                              But none of this matters when the singularity occurs because the rate of change will be so fast.

                              You say it's shortsighted to think that the existing infrastructure won't need to be ripped out and replaced as newer and better technologies are discovered. I say it's shortsighted to think that we can't leverage the existing infrastructure.

                              Look at DSL/cable vs fiber. That's pumping megabits down century old infrastructure designs. Sure fiber is newer, faster, and better than twisted pair, but does everyone need that? No. If you're creative enough you can do amazing things with old infrastructures without having to force an upgrade. It's the old "good enough" technology adage...

                              Anyway, this will take off, and the rate of change will increase to the point that those who don't embrace the technology will simply be left behind.
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