The human mind is one of the most complex organic mechanisms that can be found in this vast known universe. Simple to be discovered but difficult to be explored. Time since the research on the human brain started, new and new facts about it have been getting discovered.
Sometimes we see the extraordinary potential of the human mind while other times we discover something so horrific that it keeps us up at night. But one thing is for sure: human find is full of capabilities and astonishing wonders. We are going to talk about the bridge between mind and machine.
1. Understanding The Human Mind
Our brain which is made up of several neurons is the main organ that helps us not only to think but to perform day-to-day activities. From solving basic mathematical problems to finding something scientific and innovative.
Our brain performs all these operations with the help of brain cells whose primary function is to transfer, store and respond to electrical signals that travel throughout our body.
These electric signals are generated whenever we perform any kind of activity like touch pain and especially thinking, and are used by various parts of our brain to perform a response against that action.
One thing that separates humans from other living organisms is the human mind which constantly learns and is evolving from absolute zero knowledge to making scientific discoveries over centuries. Learning helped us to understand the difference between the right and wrong way of any task and helped our ancestors in surviving the world.
2. Machine: The Artificial Organism
The machine is a simple design and a combination of concept, logic, metals, and electric signals that are designed by humans to ease their day-to-day work or to help in discovering and inventing new things. Machines mainly use electric wires to carry the electric signals in their entire circuit.
The machine follows the logic of 0 or 1 which means it either performs a function or not. Hence making a combination of all these internal structures with programming makes a machine workable for humans. From a cooling fan to a large electricity generator all machines function in this way.
But that’s how our present works. What about the future? Well, 50 years ago we didn’t have a self-driving car that automatically senses objects in its way, recognizes the destination, and allows its driver to take a rest during the long driving time but today that’s a reality that was made possible.
Today’s human mind with vast experience and knowledge in science is capable of inventing new and new things that were earlier beyond the imagination of an ordinary human mind. Who wondered that one day a supercomputer would be able to fit into your pocket?
3. A Bridge Between Mind And Machine
Now a basic question arises: is it possible to connect the two most important things in this universe without which our civilization may not flourish–mind and machine?
Suppose we can develop a machine that can detect, identify and process every kind of instruction directly into our machine without the need for any remote or mechanical instrument in our surroundings.
Such devices would detect the electric signals present inside our brain that are traveling through the neuron cells as a response to what we see, hear, speak, and touch. Vice versa when one connected device between mind and machine can transfer the same ability to the machine by teaching to respond to the signals that were given by the human mind and thus machine will perform its operation.
4. History Till Now
This technology originates back in the year 2002 when scientists in America tested whether a monkey’s mind can control the cursor present on the screen with electrodes implanted in his head.
In 2009, Researches at the university of south Florida developed a wheelchair robotic arm that captures the user’s brain signals and converts them into robotic movements. The brain-computer interface which captures P-300 brain wave responses and converts them into actions was developed by USF psychology professor Emanuel Donchin and his colleagues.
The P-300 brain signal serves as a virtual finger for patients who cannot move, like those who are suffering from Locked-in syndrome or those with Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).
In the recent inventions in the field of the Internet of things, various devices are being developed so that they can function with the help of brain waves and neurons’ electric signals. Recently in the year 2021, A Defense company called Ultra Electronics developed drones that can be controlled by the mind and not remotely.
Various national organizations are in a race to control the lead in the field of mind-controlled machines. Recently in the year 2019 Pentagon (Defense agency of the united states of America) tested various mind-controlled drones and robots that could be used in war, especially in tasks like bomb diffusion and special military operations, etc.
5. Examples Of Connection Between Mind And Machine
Now let us discuss some of the examples which have generated the scope of connecting the mind and machine.
Very recently Elon Musk started a company called Neuralink whose primary objective is to connect the machine and the mind.
Firstly he installed a chip into the brain of an experimental monkey whom they taught to play a video game not by gaming console but with the help of his thought process. It controlled the motion of the player just by thinking about the movement of its avatar. An interesting fact was that monkey was completely sound in his health even after the installation of the chip which widens the scope of future experiments on humans.
The ultimate goal of building a company like neural link was to cure neural-related problems in humans like Paralysis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease where a person suffers from memory loss and their brain is unable to function properly, not even to perform day-to-day activities. By connecting the human mind to a computer, one day we might be able to fix such problems.
Learn more about Neuralink.
5.2. Stephen Hawking’s Chair
Who does not know Stephen hawking? He was a great scientist who gave the theory of black holes, relativity theory, and quantum mechanics. Since he was completely paralyzed he had a chair that was specially designed for him. Whatever he wanted to say would be directly printed on the monitor screen that was attached to his chair.
The words appeared on the screen with the speed of his thoughts without any kind of processing delay. This is one of the best examples of man’s mind and machine relationship with an interaction time of less than a nanosecond.
5.3. Mind-Controlled War Weapons
Many of us might be familiar with Marvel Studios’ Iron Man. In the film, the protagonist and superhero, Tony Stark develops a suit of armor connected directly to his mind, which he can give commands from anywhere in the world.
But that’s a science fiction movie. In reality, imagine if in the future we never have to send our soldiers to a war zone. Instead of that, an army of war robots will fight the war controlled by soldiers sitting in their army bases directly from their minds. Imagine a future where soldiers casualty will be almost null in a war.
If in the future we can develop a device that connects the human mind with weapons and which reads the human mind through electric signals, processes the signals into a form of commands, and transfers those directly to the weapons by means of the internet. Hence reducing the response time of weapons to almost negligible. How many lives it will save? Imagine that.
5.4. Medical Equipment
Nowadays scientists are developing microrobots that can get inside the body without harming it and treat the disease which can be impossible to cure with today’s existing technology. Such kinds of robots need special care in terms of their response time and their functioning. Even with a delay of a few microseconds, it could prove dangerous for the life of the patients.
To avoid such situations, mind-controlled machines could be highly useful in terms of surgery, diagnosis, and in other practices. As it would not only reduce the time for healing but provide more accurate and optimal medical care for them. They could help in relaxing, concentrating, and inducing deep sleep states.
5.5. Artificial Organism
Artificial organisms that can be connected with the mind of the owner could be a great help in serving the day-to-day household work with almost no delay in their functioning. They could be the current need for the internet of technology-based devices in our houses.
6. Advantages Of Mind-Powered Machines
6.1. Faster Response Time and Increased Efficiency
With the decrease in the response time in the telekinesis-powered machines, the connection between the machine and the mind will be more effective and the speed at which the functions will be carried out will be higher than any other.
Since our entire command will be based on the thought process of the human mind one might not need to complete the program of every command into the system but the machine will follow brain electric signals from anywhere in the world.
7. Disadvantages Of Mind-Powered Machines
7.1. Risks On Human Health
Continuous usage of such mind-powered machines could one day affect the thought process of the human mind. Continuous exposure to harmful radiation could even lead to diseases like migraine and brain tumors. Scientists need to find a safe way for it so that such devices would not affect a person’s life.
7.2. Specialized Training Required for Mind-Controlled Machines
Highly advanced knowledge for its training will be required for the same. While our mind-controlled machine will be very futuristic it might need highly proficient knowledge in the field of its devices and its research if we ever wanted to progress in that field.
7.3. Risks of Hacking Mind-Controlled Machines
Since the electric signals of the brain will control the machine it will be easy to read if the device is hacked by anyone. And if somehow the device is hackable it might increase the risk of the controlling electric signals of the human mind as well as leading to a machine-controlled mind which could prove very dangerous.
8. Machines And Their Unlimited Scopes
Here are some wonders of science which were almost impossible to imagine back in the era of the 60s and 70s but today they are part of our reality.
8.1. Augmented Reality (AR) and Metaverse:
Virtual environments are the new normal in the field of computer science where you can not only run your simulations and predict the possible outputs but also, create your avatar and can feel the experience of traveling the virtual world. It’s like going into another dimension but in a digital way. However, unlike smartphones, metaverse, and augmented reality are not within the reach of every normal person.
In augmented reality, one can control objects within the digital universe by just thinking about the scenarios and performing the simulation without any interference from the outside. In the future, such technologies can be directly connected to our minds and we may not even need the controllers of the system to access the metaverse.
We can tackle problems that are very difficult in the present time like the effects of new viruses on human society, experimental change in any organism, etc., just by thinking about them thus increasing the speed of our experiments at a very vast speed.
8.2. Mind Phones:
In the future, there is a possibility that we might not need a smartphone in our life anymore, and the nano chip could be installed in our brain that would perform all the functions that a smartphone normally does like calling, calculating, storing images, and videos.
8.3. Healing Process:
The micro-robots that can be inserted within the human mind could function, detect and heal right at the command of the patients. The robots might be so smart that they can be even capable of diagnosing the entire disease and curing some incurable diseases that exist today.
Like every other technology, mind powered machine is a really interesting field that can solve the complex problem of this world including easing human life by reducing effort but that too comes with some risk as well along with it. In the wrong hands, it could cause some devastating events but in the right hand, it could be proven miraculous for the needy one.
In the future, there might be chances that every single existing technology could be converted into a mind-controlled device but that’s still a long way to go.