What if one-day humankind evolves to such an extent that our brains become half computers?
What if we become capable of successfully forming a relationship between body and machine?
This is not a plot taken from movies like Transcendence or Ghost in the Shell. This is real… or something that could be real in the future.
BCI is not a new concept. It is not only rooted in fiction. Many scientists have already researched it and thought about its application in reality.
Although most of it seems a little bit farfetched, it doesn’t have to be. As technology continues to advance and new breakthroughs are made we can expect to see the full potential of BCI in real life.
What is Brain-Computer Interface?
Brain-Computer Interface is described as a direct communication between a brain (enhanced or wired) and an external device (usually a computer). BCI devices are those that enable the user to interact with computers using brain activity only. This activity is usually measured by ElectroEncephaloGraphy (EEG).
BCI is sometimes also referred to as neural-control-interface, direct neural interface or mind-machine interface.
But the gist of it all is that we are able to use machines and control them with our brains.
What are the Benefits of BCI?
BCI has a lot of potential that can help people in various ways. Its usage is currently mostly related to medicine and helping people get better.
One of the ways that are currently being researched is helping coma patients or people with disorders of consciousnesses. People who have these problems can in a way regain some cognitive skills and potentially start feeling better and aware of their situation.
Recovering a patient’s motor skills is another applicable use of BCI. There are many situations where a person has lost the use of an arm or a leg. In some drastic situations a person is not able to move entirely. BCI seeks to form a link between the severed neurons and enable the injured person the use of its limbs. This is still in the realm of research but once the technology is there we can see some progress in this field as well.
When Can We Expect This Technology?
Unfortunately, it is hard, near impossible, to exactly predict when will this technology become available. It is still in its developmental stage and research is being conducted constantly.
However, since it has a lot of potential and the ability to help people we might get to see it sooner than later.
Of course, don’t immediately think that we might get chips installed in our brains and check our social media accounts just by thinking about it. Although this could be a potential gruesome use in the future, I don’t think that we are quite there yet.
BCI could potentially be one of the most important pieces of technology that humankind is yet to develop. Technology is already transforming our world and this could be another step towards change.
However, I do think its medical potential is what we need to look for the most. Let’s leave the futuristic mumbo jumbo for the future and seek to help our fellow man first.