Brain-Computer Interfacing, Consciousness, and the Global Brain: Towards the Technological Enlightenment

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Brain implants to increase intellectual capabilities, control machines using thought alone, or transfer information directly into the brain are quite popular in sci-fi and have been recently adopted …

Brain implants to increase intellectual capabilities, control machines using thought alone, or transfer information directly into the brain are quite popular in sci-fi and have been recently adopted as concrete research goals by many science and engineering teams around the world. Currently developed prototypes adopt a "black box" model - they do not allow the user to experience what is going on inside the implant. Our brain, however, doesn't only process sensory input and calculate appropriate behaviors based on it, but also enables us to experience what is happening. In other words, brain activity is accompanied by consciousness.
Potentially, brain chips can also be designed to have consciousness inside them. Inserted into a human brain, such a conscious implant would expand the user's conscious experience with its own contents. For this, however, a new kind of brain-machine interface should be developed that would merge consciousness in two separate systems - the chip and the brain - into single, unified one.
Progress in conscious interfaces could eventually allow us to unify consciousness of different human beings, leading to the emergence of special kind of global brain, in which every individual will experience itself being a GB, and won't become just one of the cogs in this huge super-intelligent system.

Comments for slides can be found here:
http://engineuring.wordpress.com/2010/06/14/mind-implants-or-how-to-expand-consciousness-using-new-technologies/

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Transcript

  • 1. new technologies to enrich your mind
    Expanding consciousness with Brain-machine interfaces
  • 2. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
  • 3. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
    different processes cause different qualia
    color
  • 4. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
    different processes cause different qualia
    color
    sound
  • 5. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
    different processes cause different qualia
    color
    sound
    taste
  • 6. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
    different processes cause different qualia
    color
    sound
    taste
    smell
  • 7. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
    different processes cause different qualia
    color
    sound
    taste
    pain
    smell
  • 8. Consciousness is…
    experiencing brain processes
    different processes cause different qualia
    color
    sound
    taste
    pain
    smell
    let’s enrich this experience with new technologies!
  • 9. Expanding experience
    synthetic
    qualia
    brain
    qualia
    similarly to neurons, brain implant represents itself in consciousness
  • 10. Synthetic qualia?
    but is it possible for artificial device
    to create consciousness?
    artificial neural network models
    have been already developed
    which demonstrate
    rudimentary consciousness or some aspects of consciousness
    Edelman brain-based devices
    neural networks simulations by
    Dehaene, Gamez
  • 11. Putting them together
    how to integrate synthetic qualia
    with those produced by brain?
    learn from nature!
    motion
    sounds
    shape
    color
    so how does brain bring them all together?
  • 12. The miracle of broadcast
    what makes the system conscious?
    Information Integration Theory
    Tononi & Edelman
    • differentiation consist of many specialized modules
    • 13. integration each module profoundly affects activity of others
    • 14. consciousness can be measured mathematically
    Global Neuronal Workspace Theory
    Dehaene
    • many specialized modules
    • 15. integration/broadcasting via subset of special workspace neurons
  • The miracle of broadcast
    what makes the system conscious?
    Information Integration Theory
    Tononi & Edelman
    • differentiation consist of many specialized modules
    • 16. integration each module profoundly affects activity of others
    • 17. consciousness can be measured mathematically
    Global Neuronal Workspace Theory
    Dehaene
    • many specialized modules
    • 18. integration/broadcasting via subset of special workspace neurons
    (C) Consciousness as Integrated Information: a provisional manifesto
    Tononi, 2008
  • 19. The miracle of broadcast
    what makes the system conscious?
    Information Integration Theory
    Tononi & Edelman
    • differentiation consist of many specialized modules
    • 20. integration each module profoundly affects activity of others
    • 21. consciousness can be measured mathematically
    Global Neuronal Workspace Theory
    Dehaene
    • many specialized modules
    • 22. integration/broadcasting via subset of special workspace neurons
  • The miracle of broadcast
    what makes the system conscious?
    Information Integration Theory
    Tononi & Edelman
    • differentiation consist of many specialized modules
    • 23. integration each module profoundly affects activity of others
    • 24. consciousness can be measured mathematically
    Global Neuronal Workspace Theory
    Dehaene
    • many specialized modules
    • 25. integration/broadcasting via subset of special workspace neurons
    (C) Neural mechanisms for access to consciousness
    Dehaene & Changeux, 2003
  • 26. The hardware
    how to make the implant broadcast?
    today’s brain-machine interfaces
    DBS electrode
    X many connections are not possible:
    • can damage everything
    • 27. procedure too cumbersome
    electrode grid
    X only those neurons close to the surface
  • 28. The hardware
    a new hopes
    “sprouting” brain-machine interfaces
    Harnessing the blood supply network (R. Llinas)
    Growing up your own network of neuroagents
  • 29. The hardware
    interfacing in a brain-friendly way
    neurons are grown on a chip
    their axons grow through the brain
    intermediate layer between brain and electronics
    communication channel is natural for the brain
  • 30. Applications
    artificial bodies
    tactile and proprioceptive feedback
    for neuroprostheses
  • 31. Applications
    approach to “cracking neural code”
    conscious neural implants provide a fresh approach to the problem of transferring information into the brain
    transfer happens when brain-implant system becomes conscious
    a mathematical tools for analyzing conscious systems are being developed
    these tools finally allow to calculate optimal design for the implant enabling consciousness = information transfer
  • 32. Going further
    exploring the minds of Others
    would it be possible to join conscious experience of another being with yours?
    the major difficulty is provided by functional aspects of consciousness
  • 33. Going further
    Ω
    the Consciousness Singularity
    all consciousness on the planet, living and artificial, merged to a single one
    the “functional problem” disappears at the global level
  • 34. The end?
    nop, just the beginning!
    Thank you!