Bryan Johnson, the founder of Braintree online payments, and Elon Musk have both been trying to work out how to store their brains on their PCs to obtain a form of immortality.
According to MIT Technology Review, Johnson is effectively jumping on an opportunity created by the Brain Initiative, an Obama-era project which ploughed money into new schemes for recording neurons.
That influx of cash has spurred the formation of several other startups, including Paradromics and Cortera, also developing novel hardware for collecting brain signals. As part of the government brain project, the defense R&D agency DARPA says it is close to announcing $60 million in contracts under a program to create a “high-fidelity” brain interface able to simultaneously record from one million neurons – the current record is about 200 – and stimulate 100,000 at a time.
Several tech sector luminaries are looking for technology that might fuse human and artificial intelligence. In addition to Johnson, Elon Musk has been teasing a project called “neural lace,” which he said at a 2016 conference will lead to “symbiosis with machines”.
And Mark Zuckerberg declared in a 2015 Q&A that people will one day can share “full sensory and emotional experiences,” not just photos. Facebook has been hiring neuroscientists for an undisclosed project at Building 8, its secretive hardware division.
However, Elon Musk has been also moaning that the current speeds for transferring signals from brains are “ridiculously slow”.