In a recent Abundance 360 webinar, Bryan Johnson, the founder of a new company called Kernel which he seeded with $100 million, said “It’s not about AI vs. humans. Rather, it’s about creating HI, or ‘Human Intelligence’: the merger of humans and AI.”
Bryan is a big thinker, and now he is devoting his time, energy and resources to building “HI” through Kernel.
The company is building on 15 years of academic research at USC, funded by the NIH, DARPA and others, and they’ll begin human trials in the coming months.
But what is HI? And neuroprosthetics? And how is AI related?
BCI, Neural Lace and HI
Your brain is composed of 100 billion cells called neurons, making 100 trillion synaptic connections.
These cells and their connections make you who you are and control everything you do, think and feel.
In combination with your sensory organs (i.e., eyes, ears), these systems shape how you perceive the world.
And sometimes, they can fail.
The term “neuroprosthetics” describes the use of electronic devices to replace the function of impaired nervous systems or sensory organs.
Cochlear implants only hint at a very exciting field that researchers call the brain-computer interface, or BCI: the direct communication pathway between the brain (the central nervous system, or CNS) and an external computing device.
The vision for BCI involves interfacing the digital world with the CNS for the purpose of augmenting or repairing human cognition.
Banks described a “neural lace” as essentially a very fine mesh that grows inside your brain and acts as a wireless brain-computer interface, releasing certain chemicals on command.
In future, we’ll have robust brain-computer interfaces, and we’ll be able to fix and augment ourselves. Ultimately this will also allow us to merge with AIs and become something more than just human.
Human Intelligence (HI)
We can now focus on technologies to augment human intelligence (HI).
This is what Bryan Johnson and Kernel are focused on.
This includes developing the ability to mimic the natural function of neurons firing,and restore circuitry, maintain that circuitry, making certain memories stronger, certain memories weaker, ability to work with neural code in the same way humans work with biological code via synthetic biology or genetic code and merging with AIs
Ray Kurzweil is a brilliant technologist, futurist, and director of engineering at Google focused on AI and language processing.
“In the early 2030s,” Ray said, “we are going to send nanorobots into the brain (via capillaries) that will provide full immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system and will connect our neocortex to the cloud. Just like how we can wirelessly expand the power of our smartphones 10,000-fold in the cloud today, we’ll be able to expand our neocortex in the cloud.”
A few weeks ago, Bryan was asked about Ray’s prediction about whether we’d be able to begin having our neocortex in the cloud by the 2030s.
His response, “Oh, I think it will happen before that.”