Silicon Valley entrepreneur Elon Musk has launched a company which will research ways to link computers directly with the human brain. According to the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, has started a new company called Neuralink which will explore “neural lace” technology – a fine wire and plastic mesh which integrates into brain tissue and “eavesdrops” on neural chatter.
Musk believes that artificial intelligence will become so powerful that it will eventually make human beings obsolete. The only way that humans can avoid becoming house pets to computers is to integrate human intelligence and artificial intelligence – in other words, to become cyborgs.
Not everyone is convinced that such a project is necessary or possible. “The idea that digital machines no matter how hyper-connected, how powerful, will one day surpass human capacity is total baloney,” Miguel Nicolelis, a Brazilian expert in brain-controlled exoskeletons, told the Guardian.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Here’s something very odd. Back in 2015 terrifying news came from Brazil about an epidemic of microcephaly – babies born with very small heads and brain damage. It seemed to be associated with the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Neighbouring countries prepared for the spread of Zika with a sense of dread. Lobby groups urged relaxation of abortion restrictions.
But how often in the past six months have we heard about the Zika virus and microenphaly? A graph on Google trends shows that it has dropped off the media’s radar. With good reason – there has been no epidemic of microcephaly. The experts expected 1,000 cases, but there were only about 100.
Nobody knows why this is. There is an association between Zika and microcephaly, but it must be more complicated than scientists first thought. An article in the NEJM this week reports the good and canvases a number of explanations. It may be that for microencephaly to occur, a woman needs to contract both Zika and Dengue fever.
Perhaps there is a lesson here – however bad the news is, DON'T PANIC!! In particular, there is no need to push for changes in abortion legislation before we know all the facts...
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