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Unlimited Knowledge Merely a Chip in the Brain Away

Knowledge, as the tired aphorism wheezes, is power. Leaping on that thought is a startup that looks to implant an unlimited amount in your brain. Could be handy. 


You know what part of The Matrix I treasure? Less and less of it, as it turns out. Upon reflection, it is merely a bunch of leather-clad, gun-toting, determinism-spouting nonsense. However, the part that I truly wish we had was when Keanu had his mind banged by knowledge while lying in the comfort of an extremely unsanitary chair. Despite all the things available to him in the desert of the real, Neo decides to learn kung fu for some reason.

Allow me to pause the tape. Because we know how that story ends. With a lot of disjointed, disappointing faffing. However, the concept is sound. Why can’t we just plug our mind in, veg out, and actually increase our minds, instead of the reality of the opposite being true. Don’t @ me.

As it turns out, we’re actually not that far off. A tidal mild wave of startups are looking to secure that very technology. Bryan Johnson of Kernel (and not AC/DC) is just one of those enlightened individuals. They want to build a tiny implantable chip called a “neuroprosthetic” that will help people suffering from damage caused by strokes, concussions, or Alzheimer’s disease. But Kernel’s ultimate objective looks towards the future, to continue developing the chip for the purpose of the brain’s “cognitive enhancement.”

So, two obvious questions come to mind (before this tech gives us all the answers): How is it going to work? And how big is the drill?

Well, much like there was no spoon, there is no drill. All Johnson has at the moment is an algorithm on a hard drive. The “chip in the brain” is merely marketing spin, but doesn’t involve actual chips planted in actual skulls, in some sort of barbaric digital throwback to phrenology. Instead, the algorithm will eventually connect to the brain through some variation of noninvasive interfaces, perhaps through the route of teensy-tiny sensors that could be injected into the brain to genetically-engineered neurons that can exchange data wirelessly with a receiver. Like a digital hairpiece. I dunno. So, not a whirring drill, or mind-jousting fork that, you know, “feels a little weird.”

The next challenge, of course, is knowing what you say to the brain once you’re connected to it.



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