The human brain is regarded as the most potentially powerful computer in the world. The cerebral matter in humans has long been a subject of study in different fields of science both biological and technological. Much research is currently underway upon the concept of brain-computer interfaces for example Elon Musk’s company Neuralink and their smart Link Chip. But this time South Korean technological conglomerate Samsung, has taken the game to the next level. Recently, Samsung Inc engineers have collaborated with Harvard University researchers to perform a study that claims that it can reverse engineer the brain.
They made this groundbreaking announcement recently via a press release. They also discussed their approach to copy-paste the neural connection pathways consisting of a delicate network of a million nerve cells called neurons and their connecting synapses found in the brain onto a computer chip. It was said in this press release that they believe they can develop a memory chip that can estimate the distinctive computing features of the brain.
What is this “Copy and Paste” method?
The copy-paste method is based on using nanoelectrode arrays that can successfully enter a large number of neurons. These nanoelectrodes and their arrays are combined to form a nanopore system. This system replicates the normal physiological transport systems of chemical ions found in the body.
After entering the neuron the primary job of these electrodes is to record their electrical indications by studying the details of the different numeral connections and thus charting neuronal wiring maps. This brain’s neural connection “copy” can thus be “pasted” into a memory chip. Each memory experience of a human being would have the capacity to be programmable in the chip according to its neural strength in each copied map.
History and scope of reverse brain engineering
The initial steps into the field of reverse brain engineering were taken in the 1980s in the form of neuromorphic engineering. This involves the use of very large-scale integration systems. These systems called VLSIs contain electronic circuits to mimic the normal anatomy of the structures present in the nervous system.
Neuromorphic engineering found importance in the military involving Artificial Intelligence(AI) based smart goggles and headsets for soldiers. The foundations of this procedure had been laid but since the brain is extremely complex the researchers are far from developing neuromorphic chips. These chips can potentially act as a replacement of the synaptic links of the brain. Such a neuromorphic chip would require somewhere around 100 trillion memory units which is a far-fetched step right now.
The Bigger Picture
A direct result of such brain reversing technology could be the fact that it could enable users to control the computers with their minds. Though a very far-fetched thought, American company Neuralink has almost made it into reality. In a recent event named “Pigs in the matrix,” the company presented a prototype of their Link chip. This chip was demonstrated on three pig subjects to listen to sound clips and visualize waveforms of their neural activity. Neuralink plans to introduce such a chip for patients with dementia, depression, and even paralyzed patients, enabling them to control computers by a mere thought.
Another side effect is the fact that this technology would drastically change the outlook on Artificial Intelligence or AI. It will result in more “human-like AI” or humanoid AI-powered technology. The question is will such technology remain flawless and work as perfectly as it is expected from a computer or will such research have the ability to endanger human employment and relationships fostered between civilizations.