Gf2045 proceedings

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Project Avatar, Android robotics, Anthropomorphic telepresence, Neuroscience, Mind theory, Neuroengineering, Brain-Computer Interfaces, Neuroprosthetics, Neurotransplantation, Long-range forecasting, Future evolution strategy, Evolutionary transhumanism, Ethics, Bionic prostheses, Cybernetic life-extension, Mid-century Singularity, Neo-humanity, Meta-intelligence, Cybernetic immortality, Consciousness, Spiritual development, Science and Spirituality.

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Gf2045 proceedings

  1. 1. Lincoln Center, New York City, June 2013 Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, Congress Proceedings – version 0.71a (partial) Editor's note This is the Advance Release version (0.71a) of the Congress Proceedings & Transcripts for Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution. The Advance Release version contains some – but not all – transcripts of talks given at the Congress. The Advance Release version does not contain presentation slides and images. Version 0.71a of the Congress Proceedings was edited by Dr. Randal A. Koene (randal.a.koene@carboncopies.org). Acknowledgements The Congress Global Future 2045 (GF2045): Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution and this Proceedings & Transcripts volume were made possible by the dedicated and generous contributions and efforts of many Congress Speakers, Volunteers and Staff. The following is an inclusive, but not exhaustive, list of individuals to whom we give thanks. Congress Speakers Nigel Ackland Dr. Theodore Berger Mahayogi 'Pilot' Baba Dr. Ed Boyden Rabbi Dr. Alan Brill Dr. William Bushell Dr. Jose Carmena Dr. George Church Dr. Peter H. Diamandis Dr. David Dubrovsky Dr. Witali L. Dunin-Barkowski Swami Vishnudevananda Giri Ji Maharaj Dr. Ben Goertzel Dr. Amit Goswami Dr. Stuart Hameroff Dr. David Hanson Dr. Ken Hayworth Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro Dmitry Itskov Dr. Alexander Kaplan Dr. Randal A. Koene Ray Kurzweil Dr. Mikhail Lebedev Dr. Michel Maharbiz Dr. James Martin Dr. Marvin Minsky Dr. Akop Nazaretyan 2 Dr. Alexander Panov Sir Roger Penrose Lazar Puhalo Phakyab Rinpoche Dr. Martine Rothblatt Dr. Anders Sandberg Dr. Robert Thurman Dr. Natasha Vita-More Transcript Volunteers Anonymous Xing Chen Giulio Prisco Chris Smedley Kim Solez, M.D. Philip Wilson Congress Staff Lene Andersen Celia Black Connie Connors Gwen Jones Amy Willey Labenz Nathan Labenz Philippe van Nedervelde Helen Netherfield Maria Volkova Maria Tuchina And many more...!
  2. 2. Lincoln Center, New York City, June 2013 Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, Congress Proceedings – version 0.71a (partial) Contents Dmitry Itskov (Foreword) -- GF2045: On the Path to a New Evolutionary Strategy...............................5 Dr. Randal A. Koene (Review) -- Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution..9 Dr. Peter H. Diamandis -- Intelligent Self-directed Evolution Drives Mankind's Metamorphosis into an Immortal Planetary Meta-intelligence......................................................................................................17 Dr. Jose Carmena & Dr. Michel Maharbiz -- Brain Control of Prosthetic Devices: The Road Ahead....25 Dr. Anders Sandberg -- Making Minds Morally: the Research Ethics of Brain Emulation.....................33 Dr. Natasha Vita-More -- Substrate Autonomous, Networked Avatar Bodies by Design........................39 Ray Kurzweil -- Immortality by 2045......................................................................................................47 Dr. Theodore Berger -- Engineering Memories: A Cognitive Neural Prosthesis for Restoring and Enhancing Memory Function...................................................................................................................61 Dr. Ed Boyden -- Tools for Analyzing and Engineering the Brain..........................................................71 Dr. George Church -- Bionanotech for extending Moore's Law, the BRAIN project I/O & human genome engineering.................................................................................................................................81 Dr. Randal A. Koene -- Whole Brain Emulation: Reverse Engineering a Mind.....................................87 Dr. Ken Hayworth -- Preserving and Mapping the Brain's Connectome.................................................99 Dr. Amit Goswami -- Consciousness and the Quantum: Science, Psychology and Spirituality............107 Program of the International Global Future 2045 Congress & Speaker Biographical Abstracts...........115 3
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  4. 4. Lincoln Center, New York City, June 2013 Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, Congress Proceedings GF2045: On the Path to a New Evolutionary Strategy Dmitry Itskov Founder of the 2045 Social Strategic Initiative Abstract: During our congress we will devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between scientists, prominent figures from society and industry and representatives of the world’s major spiritual traditions in order to discuss the prospects of android robotics; brain-computer interfaces; cognitive neuroprostheses; engineering of the human brain; human consciousness and more. The congress will discuss key topics such as the transformation of humanity; intelligent evolution; the emergence of an immortal meta-intelligence at the planetary scale; and much more. In fact, the scientific and social technologies that will be discussed can form the basis for the next and the first self-directed evolutionary step of mankind. Will this next evolutionary step create new problems for humanity? Probably, but if we do not take it, will we be able to overcome today’s existing crises? I am certain that if we want to continue to develop and change civilization for the better, we should resolve this evolutionary dilemma and create a new evolutionary strategy taking us to a society based on the five principles of high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technology. Guided by scientific expertise, we need to ensure that the objectives and deadlines of the scientific projects of this new strategy are realistic. Via the media and in public forums, we must make the compelling case for the necessity and benefits of future societal transformations, and gain public support. We must lay the foundation for the openness and accessibility of future technologies, and make the idea of further self-directed evolution part of the new culture of society. I believe that the new evolutionary strategy should be considered at the level of large public and transnational organizations and government leaders. The Global Future 2045 congress is dedicated to these issues... and more. Transcript I am glad to meet you here. Before I begin my introduction speech I would like to say that I am not a well-trained public speaker. I will probably use my notes and what I will tell you will not sound perfect because English is not my native language. Several years ago I had a kind of spiritual transformation which helped me and forced me to take the responsibility for what I am doing now and to try to do my best to change the situation in the world which we have now and try to start helping people, to try to save lives, and invest my time and effort in the future, the new future which will be much better than this time of multiple crises, this time when people suffer and die. 5
  5. 5. I would like to say that during the conference we will be paying attention and learning interesting facts about android robots, brain-computer interfaces, cognitive neuroscience, mind engineering, and many other interesting topics. But I would like you to think about considering what you do here as not just being about technologies, amazing technologies, but as part of a new evolutionary strategy for humanity. Actually the motto of the conference is “Towards The New Strategy for Human Evolution”. We, the team of the 2045 initiative, have a special name for this strategy: We call it Evolutionary Transhumanism. While realizing this Evolutionary Transhumanism we need to create and realize two revolutions: First a spiritual revolution, we need this to make sure that people will benefit from the technologies, and that we raise the level of public consciousness, to be safe with that kind of technology that we hope to develop. The other revolution is techno-scientific and the aim of it is to develop the means of transferring one’s personality/one’s consciousness to a non-protein, more capable body carrier. People call me a dreamer, and even some colleagues of mine call me a dreamer, but this dream, this huge future that we are going to create, I think it is worth dreaming of because in this future people will be young, beautiful, they will not suffer from illnesses and diseases. They will have multiple bodies not just one. The biological body will be able to live on earth and the non-biological body will be able to travel the cosmos. In the hologram-like body people stay in places where you cannot stay in the physical body. This kind of body will probably be radiant as the Russian scientist Tsiolkovsky called it. He was known to have probably the similar dream because he wanted humanity to be transformed to a kind of radiant humanity which will be not even material but from some sort of energy. In this world of the future there will be no diseases, no death, no hunger, no wars, no tensions between nations, and on the contrary there will be abundance, freedom, creativity, and everyone will be concentrating on spiritual self-improvement I believe. Scientists are very rational and they don’t actually like talking of dreams, they prefer to deliver and not to overpromise from the very beginning. But what I want to emphasize is that that dream helps the speculation that we have in the project, can actually drive the science. During the whole history of humanity curiosity investigated interests the thirst for new discoveries have actually driven the science and encouraged the science. So obviously what we are going to develop through the realization of the Avatar project is not a speculation at all. It is realistic and I hope the Congress will show that we have enough ground to claim that it is realistic. I wanted to draw attention to the fact that this kind of technology is already being implemented. We are going to live longer and longer and we are going to cure our bodies and we are using technology to do that. We don’t want to look like the Borg from Star Trek, right? We want the technology not to spoil our natural biological body, we want the 6
  6. 6. technology to help it to become better, to get rid of suffering, to get rid of death. So what I suggest is to stop thinking of the technology as a tool which just repairs the body, as just a means of fixing sicknesses and aging. I suggest that we start thinking of the technology as a possible megaproject which we can compare to megaprojects of the past, such as the nuclear project and the space project, and I think it is worth concentrating on the Avatar project and perceive of it as something strategic, something global, to benefit from, and to create the new species which will be free from the biological limitations of our original natural body. But we need to make sure that this project will be absolutely scientific and has very good scientific grounds, and we need to combine practicality and creative approach in it. We need to be sure that the results of those developments will not be used for military purposes but will be used for humanitarian purposes. We need to make sure that these types of technology will be available for everybody. In parallel as I mentioned we need to develop the spiritual side, the spiritual aspect of the project of the initiative because what we want is that our lives will have new meaning and new goals, new senses. Otherwise we will not be able to have a transition to the new civilization of five high principles as we call them., which is high ethics, high morality, high science, high spirituality, and high technology. We need to start shaping the future which we want to have in 2045 right now, because we otherwise we will not be able to solve our monetary problems. We need to move ahead rapidly. To finish this introductory speech I would like to address some groups of people, especially knowing that there are many journalists here and this message could be spread worldwide. I would like to address politicians, because they can and they need, even for themselves, to support our strategy, because the strategy will help us to organize the world as politicians claim they want it to be. It will help us to create a humane and really free world. Then I would like to address public figures, because people really listen to them and they can help us create some sort of social demand for the strategy. And then I would like to address the scientists, because they are actually the essential element in this strategy. They can help make the strategy real and feasible. I want them to be more open to people like myself and help me not just to be practical but help me to have a dream which is very rational and which has scientific support. And now I would like to address the businessman, because if we don’t start investing in this sort of project right now probably in the future according to the biological limits there will be nothing to sustain, because of death. So even if it is just donation right now, and maybe it will be donation because there is no business yet of health technology right now, but even with donation I think in the future we will get the best advantage we can have, because we will have life and happiness and real freedom. And I would like to address spiritual figures, because we really need their wisdom in realizing the strategy and need their advice on how to develop ourselves spiritually and how to develop the potential of our consciousness. I see my main task and mission as being to initiate the discussion of the strategy of 7
  7. 7. evolutionary transhumanism with the different governments and at the level of the United Nations. I think that the strategy could be a real and perfect plan for government leaders not just for the next few decades but for thousands of years. Obviously, there is nothing more global nowadays. I would say that this strategy could be the new standard for the human rights and democracy. It is a human rights issue, because people need to have the right to live, an option to live, not to die. So let me officially open the congress “Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution”. Thank you. 8
  8. 8. Lincoln Center, New York City, June 2013 Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, Congress Proceedings Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution A Review of the 2013 Congress in New York City Dr. Randal A. Koene Science Director, 2045 Strategic Social Initiative The 2045 Strategic Social Initiative founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov aims to build and carry out a new strategy for the development of humanity that addresses global challenges to human civilization. The future envisioned emphasizes great spiritual, cultural, ethical, scientific and technological values. Longterm survival of our species and civilization is paramount, but a fundamental question is also where do we want to go from here? Is there more, beyond our current mode of existence, that our civilization can develop towards? The new strategy embraces the continued uniting of biological and non-biological development of humanity and the advent of the cybernetic age. In June 2013, in an effort to introduce all of this, the Initiative hosted GF2045, the Global Future 2045 International Congress: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, at the Lincoln Center in New York City. The themes of the congress included android bodies, brain-computer interfaces, cognitive neuroscience, mind engineering and more. The particulars of the strategy, as Itskov pointed out at the congress, involve an ambitious big-picture project called Avatar to enable the transfer of individual personality into sophisticated artificial carriers. Individually, such an accomplishment will reduce human suffering, extend healthy and active life-span, and free-up our attention to address challenges beyond our mortality, so that we may engage the better aspects of our nature in the creation of new meaning and goals. As a society, it will facilitate a transition from hunger to abundance, from national tension and war to the freedom to create and to concentrate on (spiritual) selfimprovement and enlightenment. Where natural selection enabled life on Earth, more rapid adaptation of form through technology will bring it to the Cosmos. The Initiative works transparently and, in order to involve the global population, does so in dialogue with the world's cultural and spiritual traditions. For this purpose, Dr. Robert Thurman, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University and coFounder of Tibet House, opened an Interfaith Dialogue about Science, Spirituality, Evolution of Humanity and the Avatar Project at the congress. Participants were Mahayogi 'Pilot' Baba, Yoga master and Mahamandale-shwar of the Juna Akhara Order of Hindu Monks, Dr. Alan Brill, a Rabbi and Cooperman/Ross Endowed Professor in Honor of Sister Rose Thering at Seton Hall University, Dr. William Bushell, Fellow at Harvard University, Phakyab Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist Lama and Lazar Puhalo, retired Orthodox Archbishop of Ottawa. Global crises demand global solutions The growth of humanity certainly has had a number of desirable consequences: Our population and technology directly affects the rate of creative and scientific output; our economic strength can be brought to bear on issues and projects as ambitious as sending space-probes beyond our solar system or probing the secrets of the universe by smashing particles in super-colliders. This was not possible at the scale of civilization in the 17th century or before. But, growth also involves phase-changes in the complexity of society, and interconnectedness means that global crises threaten our entire species. It is easy to see that the resources required by growth and activity eventually must outstrip what a limited environment can sustainably provide. A large and dense population has a high chance of large-scale epidemics, while current social structures combined with competition for resources is likely to lead to conflicts and wide-spread 9
  9. 9. injury, death and displacement. Earthquakes, tsunamis, drought, flood, as well as disasters of our own making also continue to strike portions of humanity everywhere on the globe. In the long-term, humanity faces cataclysmic threats such as asteroid impact and the loss of our biosphere as we enter the next phase of the solar life-cycle. The specter of extinction looms, because our biology is fragile to injury and disease and depends utterly on a finely-tuned environment: temperature, pressure, breathable air, water, nutrition. The late Dr. James Martin, founder of the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University, brought this realization to GF2045 with a survey of interdependent trends in his talk, The Transformation of Humankind Extreme Paradigm Shifts Are Ahead of Us. According to Dr. Martin, the effects industry and population growth has had on our environment is now close to irreversible, and we should employ technologies and strategies that can avert the worst consequences. Of course, Dr. Martin's recent passing is itself a stark reminder of the devastating effects when death suddenly takes our champions and experts. In her talk, The Goal of Biotechnology is the End of Death, Dr. Martine Rothblatt, Founding CEO of United Therapeutics (pioneering advances such as 3D bio-printed organ replacements), directly addressed the taboe around discussions that all biotechnologies ultimately aim at ending death. Biotechnologists undertake to cure diseases, and because death is generally the victory of disease over life, the ultimate goal of biotechnology is (at least) the end of unwanted, non-violent and non-accidental death. Evolving our civilization The interactions in our growing population become more complex and may seem chaotic as we transition from family, to tribe, to village, city, nation, and global society. Methods that worked at earlier phases then lead to problems, such as the rift between the haves and the have-nots, whereby only a subset of humanity benefits from most of modernity's advances. To solve these problems, as well as existential risks, suffering through incapacity, decrepitude and death is a moral obligation. During past physical and social crises, society has had to mature and reinvent itself, a selection process within a developing civilization. Another stage in this evolution is here, accompanied by the need for significant transformation and scientific revolutions. Dr. David Dubrovsky, head scientific advisor at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy, described the influence of biological biases and limitations that lead to excesses and exacerbate ecological crises and other global problems of anthropological origin in his talk, Human Nature, The Anthropological Crises and the Global Future. With this perspective it is clear that traditional remedies and politics making half-hearted attempts at sustainable development are short-sighted and narrow of scope, because they do not address the fundamentals of today's challenges. Evolution is gradual, but natural selection is fast! It consists of a never-ending series of life-and-death trials, survived not by those whose biology adapts, but by those lucky enough to already be suited to the challenge. The winners are fortunate sets of genes, all the rest – individuals, families, species, consciousness, love, friendship, and so on – are to varying degrees the losers. For each winner of natural selection there are many dead losers and dead ends piled in eons-old heaps of carnage and suffering. Mr. Itskov explained that the primary objective of the 2045 Initiative is to invest in a positive transition to a future beyond current crises and suffering while saving lives. That does not substitute for sustainable development, but it addresses its logical broader requirements. In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky opined that an objective observer from Mars would conclude that humanity was an evolutionary dead-end, apparently operating on a course destined to self-destruction. But he also said that it is entirely in our hands to prove that conclusion wrong. The Initiative depends on solid scientific fundamentals and the speakers at GF2045 methodically demonstrated grounding in realistic goals and technological feasibility, as well as technological components already being implemented. 10
  10. 10. Evolved adaptation or engineered adaptation Biological systems are extremely sophisticated compared with most engineered systems, yet they are not designed for easy access, diagnostics, back-up, restoration or modification to new challenges. In fact, extending the life of a biological system may further increase the fragility of a species, as it continues to emphasize specialization for one environmental niche. Biological function and components are obscured, and often there are many points of failure in a system of mutually dependent mechanisms. The impact of X-Ray, MRI and similar technologies on the treatment of bodily injury is hard to overestimate. Unfortunately, those cannot solve problems in the brain where specific and microscopic differences within the neural tissue are crucial. So, there is as yet no way to restore the minds of patients who suffer from stroke, Alzheimer's, etc. A most human characteristic is that we augment our biological selves through technology to extend the range of conditions in which we can thrive. The brain is plastic and the mind creative, so that we can adapt and engineer evolutionary fitness through our augmentations from spears to pacemakers. By contrast, biological evolution is a gradual and brutal process that does not allow humanity to keep up with the pace of social and environmental change we need and desire. If we are able to migrate our minds and personalities to an implementation where access, restoration and adaptation are easily possible then that substrate-independence gives us far more than just extended life and health. In her talk, Substrate Autonomous, Networked Avatar Bodies by Design, Dr. Natasha Vita-More, Professor at the University of Advancing Technology in Arizona, explained that she envisions competition between designers and engineers to build whole-body prostheses. According to Vita-More, "[...] the body is a necessary component of personal identity […] that provides data to the brain in order to be a sentient and sapient being.” Great purpose and possibility Developments can come about in different ways. Selective pressures can act on a near-chaotic random-walk, while we expend our resources on conflict, amusement and a consumer society filled with mobile phone apps. Exploration certainly has value, but we can also apply the power of knowledge and reasoning to exceed the performance of instinct-driven and simple action-reward behavior. We can learn from history. A historic vector of human development with transitions between “biospheric”, “pre-social” and “social evolutionary” phases, separated by logarithmically decreasing time-intervals was demonstrated by Dr. Akop Nazaretyan, Director of the Eurasian Center for Big History and System Forecasting and Full Professor in Moscow State University in his talk titled The Mid-21st Century Puzzle: On the Cosmic Perspective of Mind. Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Founder and Chairman of the X Prize Foundation, proposed a next phase based on our emerging ability to direct our own evolution in his talk, Intelligent Self-directed Evolution Guides Mankind's Metamorphosis Into An Immortal Planetary Meta-intelligence. Humanity can exhibit great will and exert immense effort when a common purpose is recognized and elevated to a high-priority goal of civilization, e.g., liberation during World War II, reaching the moon, or closing the hole in the ozone layer. We sell ourselves short when we live with our sights cast down at our own feet, concerned, as a pack of apes would be, only with the immediate. Instead, we should acknowledge our capabilities and the great engine that is humanity. That engine needs to be aimed at a great purpose, for which the 2045 Initiative proposes the Avatar project. Looking broadly at being ethically proactive about the 2045 Avatar project and questions of death and identity in his talk, Making Minds Morally: the Research Ethics of Brain Emulation, Dr. Anders Sandberg, James Martin Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and Research Associate at the Oxford Neuroethics Center, added, “We want to get to the future, but that implies that the future had better be a good place.” So, “[…] the methods we're going to use to get to the future had better be good as well.” 11
  11. 11. Our experience of being, personal identity and consciousness depend crucially on individually unique mental processes. Something we value so greatly, should be handled with at least as much care as we use to safeguard paintings, scientific discoveries, diaries, important documents and now even our DNA. Taking a hard and logical look at the actual problem it is clear that we need to free the mind from its one, fragile and difficult to restore substrate. In his talk, Facing the Future, Dr. Marvin Minsky, Artificial Intelligence (AI) pioneer, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at M.I.T., made it clear that there is no theoretical objection to the possibility to copy the human mind into other functional platforms (although doing so is not the same as fully understanding the mind or advancing AI). The possibility of transferring mind and consciousness to another carrier, from the perspective of combining cybernetic evolution and teachings of Yoga and Vedanta, as well as the outlook for life in a cybernetic body, were further discussed in Mankind's Desirable Future According to Vedic culture and Cybernetic Technologies: The Evolution of Consciousness in Vedanta Philosophy, a talk by Swami Vishnudevananda Giri Ji Maharaj, Yoga Master and Founder of the Worldwide Society of Laya Yoga. Augmenting by integrating technology For decades (or longer) we have been off-loading mental tasks to computers (e.g., memory in data bases, recordings on video, scientific and economic calculations). The performance of such information technology has improved exponentially, as expressed in Moore's Law and more generally by the Snooks-Panov algorithm, as explained by Dr. Alexander Panov, Senior Research Fellow at the Physics Department of Moscow State University in his talk, Technological Singularity and the Penrose Theorem on Artificial Intelligence. Technology that is tied into information technology gains from the same advances, so it is important to note that mental processes can also be expressed through information analysis. Ray Kurzweil, futurist and Director of Engineering at Google, supported this insight in his talk, Immortality By 2045, by pointing to evidence for regular constructs in the neocortex and the significance of pattern recognition in mental functions. Further integration by a convergence of tools based on biological and non-biological technology was presented in the talk, Bionanotech for Extending Moore's Law, the BRAIN Project I/O & Human Genome Engineering, by Dr. George Church, Professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, Director of PersonalGenomes.org, who introduced the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing and genetic barcoding. Target technologies included: methods for efficient genome and epigenome engineering; nanorobots with on-board sensors, logic and actuators based on hybrid materials (DNA, protein & inorganic); hybrid nanostructures for the manufacture of ultra-fast and complex electronic, optical and quantum computing; and bionano storage a billion times more compact and low-power than conventional digital media. Brain-controlled prostheses We are used to interacting with our technological extensions through fingers, eyes and ears, but we are rapidly entering an era of more direct control and feedback. Nigel Ackland, living and thriving example of prosthetic augmentation, who lost his right arm in a 2006 metal smelting accident, vividly described his extraordinary and life-affirming experiences after he was fitted with the BeBionic3 Myoelectric Prosthetic Hand by RSLSteeper in England. His physical demonstration at GF2045 included such feats as tying his shoe laces. In Brain Control of Prosthetic Devices: The Road Ahead, Dr. Jose Carmena, UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Neuroscience and Co-Directory of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, described current progress in the field of brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Highly successful examples are cochlear implants that restore hearing and deep-brain stimulators that invasively, but safely, treat a host of conditions from Parkinson's tremor to depression. Experimental BMI enable paralyzed persons 12
  12. 12. to control external prostheses such as a robotic arm, to which Carmena remarked, “The field of BMI emerged primarily with this application in mind, basically to convert thought into action.” But, at present BMI still largely relies on the brain's adaptation to integrate new devices into its body schema, and the bandwidth of the interfaces lags behind the number of parameters that sophisticated robotics make available. From anthropomorphic robotics to full-body prosthesis Continuing these developments, it will be possible to restore mobility to paralyzed patients and to treat those where body (but not brain) is medically incurable. Today's technology allows us to furnish patients with telepresence robots, and eventually anthropomorphic robotic developments can provide sophisticated artificial bodies, enabling a full-body prosthesis. In his talk, The Future Life Supported by Robotic Avatars, Dr. Hiroshi Ishiguro, Director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory in Osaka, Japan, explained that our sensation of “presence”, of existence, physical proximity and interactions can be reproduced through android technology. He demonstrated one of his Geminoid Teleoperated Androids, a replica of himself, through which he has been known to give lectures. Dr. Ben Goertzel, leading Artificial General Intelligence researcher and Founder of the OpenCog AGI project and Dr. David Hanson, Founder of Hanson Robotics and former Disney sculptor and Imagineer, collaborate on another anthropomorphic robotics project with a focus on realistic and emotional robotic faces. Dr. Hanson is constructing the most advanced anthropomorphic robotic head and facial control in a commissioned replica for Mr. Itskov. The requirements for maintaining the life-support of a patient's head or brain, and the consequent technical feasibility of a full-body transplant by experiencing life through an artificial body were presented and discussed in a Roundtable on Life-extension of the Brain in a Full-body Prosthesis with Biological Blood Substitutes and Brain-Computer Interfaces with Optional Neuroprostheses. The Roundtable included Dr. Alexander Kaplan, Founder of the first Russian BCI laboratory, Dr. Mikhail A. Lebedev, Senior Research Scientist at the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering, and Dr. Theodore Berger, David Packard Professor of Engineering, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology, and Director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California. Neuroprostheses: Replacement parts for the brain The majority of my personal scientific efforts are focused on the essential and technically very difficult part of the Avatar project that involves the transfer of individual personality into artificial carriers for the mind. Therefore, Mr. Itskov's Iniative invited a group of speakers from our network of scientific advisors and contacts to GF2045 with the specific intention to systematically explain work on neuroprostheses and on each of the crucial technology pillars of a roadmap toward Whole Brain Emulation (WBE), a realizable path toward substrate-independent minds and personality transfer. Simple brain-controlled prostheses have interfaces where the brain does the heavy lifting and learns how to control the device through the interface, but as bandwidth requirements increase and more devices need to be connected, interfaces must understand how to decode the signals of neuronal circuits within the brain. Currently, this problem is being addressed where the goal is not a sensory or motor prosthesis, but a cognitive neural prosthesis that maintains functions within the brain. Dr. Theodore Berger received a well-deserved standing ovation at the congress for his keynote Engineering Memories: A Cognitive Neural Prosthesis for Restoring and Enhancing Memory Function, where he presented his successful work on a bio-mimetic VLSI implementation containing transfer functions that (under experimental conditions) carry out input-output mappings in the manner of the hippocampus. He explained, "A primary objective in developing a neural prosthesis is to replace neural circuitry in the brain that no longer functions appropriately. Such a goal requires artificial reconstruction of neuron-to-neuron connections in a way that can be recognized by the remaining normal circuitry, and that promotes appropriate interaction." The device detects and produces 13
  13. 13. temporally encoded neural activity, as used to encode short-term memory representations and communicate with other brain regions involved in the memory patterns. Dr. Berger showed that neural prostheses can restore and even enhance cognitive, mnemonic processes. His device, which may be used to treat Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and possibly epilepsy will enter human trials within the next few years. Whole Brain Emulation and Avatar Dr. Randal A. Koene, Science Director of the 2045 Initiative, Founder and CEO of Carboncopies.org and Founder of neural interfaces company NeuraLink Co, presented Whole Brain Emulation: Reverse Engineering A Mind, giving an overview of the multidisciplinary field of Whole Brain Emulation that connected the threads of each of the neuroscience talks at GF2045. A program toward substrate-independent minds begins with a clarification of goals: a person's sense of “being”, as produced by mental processes, needs to replicated in another implementation. Where “simulation” aims at a generic model, “emulation” is case-specific, such as for a neuroprosthesis with behavior characteristic of one patient. To capture those characteristics requires “system identification”, a procedure supported by Dr. Berger's successful proof-ofconcept. The roadmap to WBE rests on four main pillars: iterative hypothesis testing (results inform us about additional scope or resolution needed, e.g. additional details of glial cell function), tools to acquire structure data (“connectomics”, telling us how neurons or smaller subsystems can interact), tools to functionally characterize each subsystem (system identification for each), and function representations on a platform for emulation (the artificial brain). Impressive progress on Preserving and Mapping the Brain's Connectome was presented by Dr. Ken Hayworth, Founding President of the Brain Preservation Foundation and Senior Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus. Dr. Hayworth emphasized, “our identity is encoded in the structural connections among our brain's neurons”. He has pioneered work in connectomics, the production and study of comprehensive maps of the brain's neural connectionsm, and he co-invented Tape-to-SEM for high-throughput volume imaging of neural circuits at nanometer scale. Two talks focused on functional characterization, introduced developments within the BRAIN Initiative and new neuroscience tools. Dr. Ed Boyden, Associate Professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and Co-Director, MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, emphasized the complexity of the brain and of the individual neurons and their mechanisms in his talk, Tools for Analyzing and Engineering the Brain. Dr. Boyden pointed out that, in order to answer fundamental questions and address medical needs, his group builds new tools and then disseminates them widely. Medically, Dr. Boyden says, we want to target specific brain circuits instead of bathing the whole brain in a drug's chemicals. Over a thousand groups world-wide now used their tools to analyze, engineer, and construct brain circuits. Dr. Boyden envisions the emergence of synthetic physiology, means for real-time control of dynamic processes. His group has developed automated patch-clamping and ways to analyze many parameters of cells at once (electric, molecular, morphology) in living brains. New 3D arrays enable extracellular recording from and optical stimulation of vast numbers of cells throughout a brain for the study of neural codes and to develop prosthetic neural co-processors for brain regions. Dr. Boyden is well-known as a pioneer of so-called optogenetics, the ability to selectively excite and inhibit specific (genetically modified) neuron types with colored light. He described the discovery and development of the technique as an investigative tool, as well as possible use for behavioral reward-signals, to treat narcolepsy, as a retinal prosthetic, and to directly stimulate memory formation. Dr. Boyden also introduced biological neural circuit construction by lithographic processes, stating, “[...] neuroscience can benefit from constructive approaches, where you try to build brains […] by trying to test our theories of how cells wire up and how they form connections." Dr. Michel Maharbiz, UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and Co-Director of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, elaborated the need for reliable and 14
  14. 14. biocompatible chronic BMI. During insertion of implants, capilaries are broken, infection is an ongoing problem and implants lose the ability to detect useful signals. A first improvement is to make implants completely wireless and flexible. Dr. Maharbiz then announced one of the most exciting proposals of tools for functional characterization, Neural Dust, (Seo et al., Neural Dust: An Ultrasonic, Low Power Solution for Chronic Brain-Machine Interfaces, 2013): Thousands of free-floating independent sensor nodes at micrometer scale detect and report local extracellular electro-physiological data, massively increasing the number of simultaneous neural recordings. Variants of the Neural Dust approach were addressed in Dr. Koene's presentation, using integrated circuits on microscopic probes and infrared light for power and communication (MIT, Harvard) within a hierarchy or cloud of specialized devices. Dr. Koene also described additional developments (and hurdles) in technologies not addressed by other speakers: Connectomics to be done by biological barcoding in work by Dr. Anthony Zador at Cold Sping Harbor Laboratories, the CLARITY protocol by the Deisseroth lab that renders brains light-transparent for microscopy, functional recording by fluorescent microscopy, and the Molecular Ticker Tape approach to functional recording within cells onto strips of synthetic DNA. Many signal modalities are left to explore and effective hybrid systems can be built. Some of the most exciting recent develops came out of a June 12 summit at Harvard with the specific aim to identify technologies that could sample every neuron in a brain at 1ms resolution in-vivo (Marblestone et al, Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, 2013). That goal is a milestone in the roadmap to Whole Brain Emulation, while WBE itself was recognized as a valid and desirable research target during the Brain Reseachers' meeting that preceded GF2045. WBE will be preceded by numerous augmentations made possible by new neural interface devices, including detection of stress/anxiety, detection and prevention of epilepsy, control of sleep and waking, direct storage and recall of visual scenes (retinal or visual cortex interfaces), off-line tagging and sorting of episodic memory (hippocampal interfaces), and overcoming paralysis. The technological target for data acquisition is a sweet spot where the resolution of measurements meets model building and parameter estimation capabilities. Judging by the rate of progress in connectomics over the past 5 years, the addition of tools for functional characterization in the next 5 years can mean that, by 2018, commencing a project to analyze and emulate the brain of the fruit-fly Drosophila is feasible. The 2045 Initiative: A network to accelerate solutions for the global future of humanity The speakers at GF2045 explored practical requirements in neuroscience and neural engineering, and they proposed and demonstrated technological solutions that, at least in principle, substantiate the scientific and technical feasibility of the strategic Avatar project, as motivated by the goals of the 2045 Initiative. In addition to this necessary scientific grounding and methodical introduction, theoretical work carried out with early funding from the 2045 Initiative was presented at GF2045 in the Current state of the Russian Project on Brain Reverse-engineering REBRAIN 2045, by Dr. Witali L. Dunin-Barkowski, Head of the Neuroinformatics Department at the Center for Optical-Neural Technology within the Scientific Research Institute for Systems Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Alternative theoretical considerations regarding brain matter, consciousness and free will were explored in the talk by Dr. Amit Goswami, Professor Emeritus at the Theoretical Physics Department of the University of Oregon, titled Consciousness and the Quantum: Science, Psychology and Spirituality. Dr. Stuart Hameroff, anesthesiologist, professor at the University of Arizona, collaborating with renowned British Physicist, Sir Roger Penrose, presented How Human Consciousness Could Be Uploaded Via Quantum Teleportation, describing his controversial hypothesis that processes of consciousness may rely on quantum phenomena and might be mediated by microtubules in the intraneuronal cytoskeleton. The GF2045 congress presented technological achievements in android robotics, anthropomorphic telepresence, neuroscience, mind theory, neuroengineering, brain-computer interfaces, neuroprosthetics, 15
  15. 15. neurotransplantation, long-range forecasting, future evolution strategy, evolutionary transhumanism, ethics, bionic prostheses, cybernetic life-extension, science and spiritual development. Mr. Itskov stressed that we should look beyond the individual concepts and technologies presented, at a new evolutionary strategy for humanity. It is a strategy that involves both a spiritual revolution, in that levels of public consciousness and regard for safe and beneficial technology are raised, and a techno-scientific revolution, through the development of personality transfer to an artificial carrier that will become more capable. It is our ethical and moral obligation to seek to alleviate suffering that afflicts every single one of us as we make our way through life. It is a noble purpose to offer an alternative that not only improves well-being, but allows us, collectively, to aim higher. Even more so than during the space race, we presently have global economies of scale, a global scientific infrastructure, and technological capacity with which to tackle ambitious problems of our choosing. We cannot know with certainty if we will have that 20, 40 or 60 years from now. While we can, it is our responsibility to take this opportunity to learn more about ourselves and to better ourselves and the outlook for our civilization. Among scientists, it is a good habit to under-promise and to over-deliver, but remember that throughout history the thirst for new discoveries and possibilities has driven scientific inquiry, and so the vision at the foundations of the 2045 Initiative may again help drive the science. Short-term financial gain is less important than to achieve desired goals and to insure that the output will not be used for problematic purposes but for humanitarian benefit. The 2045 Initiative proceeds now, to the next step, by opening our scientific network to global involvement. The Initiative also invites stewards of business to join in the development of our clinical research network for full-body prosthesis, for which the project plan is now available. These activities will bring about a new Cybernetic Industry. We invite business leaders to invest in projects that bring about a prosperous future. At first, there will be opportunity for philanthropy, then there will be opportunity for profitable investment. We invite scientists to investigate the long-range possibilities of the science involved. We invite politicians, public and social figures to help bring about the social change for the Initiative. People need to have a right to live and not to die. 16
  16. 16. Lincoln Center, New York City, June 2013 Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, Congress Proceedings Intelligent Self-directed Evolution Drives Mankind's Metamorphosis into an Immortal Planetary Meta-intelligence Dr. Peter H. Diamandis Founder and Chairman of the X Prize Foundation Abstract: We are extraordinarily fortunate to be alive on this planet during a period of unprecedented, exponentially accelerating, self-directed evolutionary change. We humans have begun to incorporate technology inside ourselves. Humans themselves are becoming an information technology. Over the last decades mankind has suddenly started changing from a loose collection of 7 billion individuals to a new kind of perpetually morphing non-physical social tissue woven from densely interconnected arrays of mobile person-nodes. In this process we—humanity—are becoming a new organism: a meta-intelligence. As a species, as this new organism, we are becoming conscious on an unprecedented new level, in a new cosmic-scale realm. As we are going through the metamorphosis process of becoming this new meta-intelligence organism, we are going from evolution by natural selection—Darwinism—to evolution by intelligent direction. We are starting to direct the evolution of our biology and of our minds ourselves. Before long, this will result in our minds becoming independent from their original biological substrate—the biological human brain—the evolution speed of which has become far too slow to keep up with our exponentially increasing pace of innovation and invention. As we begin to liberate our thoughts, our memes, our consciousness from the biological constraints that we presently have, this will allow us to evolve far faster and ever faster. Beyond the great personal benefit of immortality, the species-level benefits of making our minds and bodies substrate-independent and non-biological include becoming a truly spacefaring species thanks to gaining the ability to travel near the speed of light while also remaining alive for far longer than the currently normal human lifespan. This will free us from the shackles of Earthly gravity and enable us to go explore and populate our solar system, our galaxy, our universe and what may be an infinite number of universes. Persons are now empowered more than ever before. As an individual I can now already tap into 'global genius' anywhere in the world. This trend is accelerating at an exponential rate and will result in us—jointly and severally—to become quite god-like with 'life-everlasting'. We will no longer have to die a physical death, enabling who we are—our mission, our purpose, our consciousness—to continue for a far longer time. When we—mankind—will become fully conscious and self-aware as a planetary-scale meta-intelligence ourselves, we will be able to look out into the universe in new ways, with new kinds of 'eyes', and see thousands or millions or billions of similar conscious planet-level entities that have come into being all around us in our galaxy and the myriad galaxies beyond our own. That all of this is happening during our lifetimes is powerfully extraordinary. That makes it so exciting to be alive right now. Transcript Good morning, everybody. It's a pleasure to be here. So, I'm here with the perspective of running 3 organizations focused on the future. The first is Singularity University up in Silicon Valley, in which we're really looking at “what are the most powerful technologies on the planet?” The technologies that are literally allowing an individual, a small team, to do what only governments and large corporations could do in the past – the power, as we call it, to create a 10^9-plus impact – impact the lives of a billion people in a positive way. And we have a number of SU alumni and faculty in the audience, so I welcome you. 17
  17. 17. I'm here wearing the hat of Chairman of the X-Prize Foundation, which has the basic notion that there is no problem on this planet that cannot be solved. Period. Bar none. It really is the focused intent of human innovation to go and solve those challenges. And then I serve as co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, which is one of the companies on the cutting edge of “how do we bring the resources of our cosmos to our service?” If you think about it, the Earth is a crumb in a supermarket filled with resources. So, I'm going to start actually off-script, because I am not one who believes in these dystopian futures. I'm someone who believes that we're heading towards an extraordinary future. And I want to take a moment to infect your minds with that meme, because I think it's very important. You know, we hear left, right, and center how the world is getting worse, how things are falling apart; you know, it's literally the result, as I speak on stages around the world, that we're living in a day and age that our news media is a drug-pusher. And negative news is their drug. And every device that we get – our cell phones, our smart phones, our laptops, our newspapers, our radios – we are fed negative news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over and over and over again because our minds, on the plains of Africa hundreds of thousands and millions of years ago, evolved to pay far more attention to the negative news than the positive news. Because if we didn't pay attention to the negative news, we'd be out of the gene pool. You know, that rustle in the leaves wouldn't be the wind, it might be a tiger. And so our amygdala, an ancient part of our temporal lobe, literally screens everything we see and everything we hear looking for negative news. We hear it and we go “oh my god, what was that?!” We pay immediate attention, tenfold. Open any newspaper and look at the number of negative stories to positive stories. “If it bleeds, it leads.” We also, as humans, are far better at seeing the negative dystopian futures than the positive ones. We see the dangers far, far away, but ultimately we do have the power to solve them in advance, and we do, over and over again. If you look at the last hundred years of humanity, it's been an extraordinary century, right? The human lifespan has more than doubled. The per-capita income of every nation on this planet has more than tripled. The cost of food has come down 13-fold; energy, 20-fold; transportation 100-fold; communications, over 1000-fold. And that wasn't just good luck that that happened, right? It wasn't political planning. It was the foresight of technology that enabled that future to really skyrocket through the cosmos. And guess what? Technology isn't slowing down. It's increasing. At an exponential rate. And it's for that reason that I fundamentally believe we are living into an extraordinary time ahead. Back on my script now. [Applause] Thank you. So when I think about what's driving us in this area, it really is what I call compounded convergent innovation. So innovation over time has been the exchange of ideas. You have an idea, and I have an idea; we exchange ideas, and we now have 2 ideas. And it's the building of my idea on your idea that allows us to really increase. But what I don't hear folks thinking about and talking about enough is where this ability to exchange ideas is progressing. Because it used to be that what drove innovation was people moving from rural areas to urban areas, right? And we're growing towards a very rapid future of 50%, 75% of populations in urban areas, and when you're sitting next to each other, you can have conversations and exchange ideas, and all that moves things forward. But what's happening now on top of that, the compounded nature of this, is that people around the world are becoming healthier and more literate. And that allows more and more people to have ideas and to exchange their ideas. So we have a couple of projects going on right now at the X-Prize. We have what's called the “Qualcomm Tricorder X-Prize” and, with all due respect to Dr. Martin, while maybe transporter beams and warp speed aren't there yet, a lot of what Mr. Roddenberry created in Star Trek is, in fact, an exact road map for the future. And what we have in the tricorder here is the notion that you can build devices that are information devices that any mom in the middle of Nigeria, in the middle of the Bronx, could have to diagnose herself or her child at 2 AM in the morning to diagnose herself or her child better than a board-certified doctor. So we announced this competition, Qualcomm put up $10M, actually $20M, asking teams to build a hand-held 18
  18. 18. mobile device that you can speak to; it's got AI on the cloud, you can cough on it, it can do RNA or DNA analysis on the pathogens in your sputum, you can do a micro blood prick, it can do your blood chemistry; and the notion is that for literally what is the plummeting cost of everything approaching free, everyone will have access to abundant healthcare. We announced this competition at the X-Prize Foundation, and we have now 300 teams around the world who have registered in the first year to compete for this. We expect a winner in the next 3 years. On top of that we're getting ready this year, with my fingers crossed, to announce what will be an even more epic impact on the planet: a global literacy X-Prize. There are 880 million illiterate people on the planet. If we can create the software – you know, this is [Neal Stephenson book] Diamond Age – if we can create the software that a child who is completely illiterate can use to teach herself to read – and we're going to define literacy as coding as well – to read and to code? That would be transformative. So, if all goes well, we'll be announcing this X-Prize by the beginning of next year. And if you have a world of healthy and literate individuals, you have a world that's far more peaceful and far more innovative on every possible scale. [Applause] Thank you. So where it gets interesting, though, is what happens next. Because what happens next, when you have a world that's healthy and literate and they're spending their time, instead of scraping by and living – now, those individuals, online? We had 2 billion people connected on the internet in 2010, that's going to grow to 5 billion people by 2020. Eric Schmidt just made a cryptic remark that he thinks all 7 billion will be on by 2020; we'll see what comes out of Google X from there. But if you have all these people now online, now they've got access to exponential tools. Now they've got access to cloud computing, AI, 3D printing, synthetic biology; and what kind of innovation occurs when you don't just have a few hundred thousand or a million people, but when you have billions of people attacking their problems with a tool set that only the greatest governments and philanthropists had before? Now it gets interesting. It doesn't stop there, of course, because what happens next, after these people are connected, is the true connection of what I like to call the meta-intelligence. And let me go off my normal script that I speak about at X-Prize and SU, and talk about what my view and theory of where we're going as a species is. One of the things that you find in our universe is that patterns repeat. Patterns repeat. And when I look at what has been the pattern of life, it's very interesting because on our earth some 4.5 billion years old, about a billion years after the earth formed, some 3.5 billion years ago, the earliest life forms, prokaryotes, evolved. And these prokaryotes were very simple organisms, right? They were gooey bags of cytoplasm with DNA floating inside them. And they reigned on this planet for the next billion and a half years. It was about 2 billion years ago that the first eukaryotic life formed. And eukaryotic life was essentially a single-celled organism, but with now technology embedded in it. And when I say “technology” what I mean is these eukaryotic life forms brought in to them, in a symbiotic form, mitochondria. Chloroplasts. Golgi apparatus. And these were basically organelles that enabled that single-celled life form to manipulate energy more efficiently, proteins more efficiently, information more efficiently. It had now a nucleus to contain its DNA. It ended up with mitosis for better processing of information. And so it went from prokaryotic life, very simple life forms, to eukaryotic life, life incorporating, if you would, biological technology into it. The next step was that this eukaryotic life became multi-cellular life forms. It happened about a billion years later. So we go from single-celled complex technology-enabled life, to multi-cellular life forms. What happened next was the rapid evolution to where, about 500 million years ago, half a billion years after the multi-cellular life form, we had the first simple animals. And then, a million or so years ago, us. And what are we? We are a collection of ten trillion cells, right? Your body has ten trillion cells in it, each of them a living organism. Each of them in service of the others. Each of them that make up you as a consciousness. And when I think about where we are in this epic formation of humanity, I put us at the prokaryotic stage. We are those simple life forms, each individual, each simple in our capability. On the verge of incorporating 19
  19. 19. technology into our being. On the verge of incorporating technology – the brain-computer interface, whatever form it might take – the technology that maybe some of you have in you already, whether it's artificial valves or hip replacements or corneal adjustments, whatever it might be, we're just at the very beginning of that incorporation of technology into our being. But what happens next, going from the prokaryotic to eukaryotic, is then the beginning of the multi-cellular life form. And as we begin to plug in to the internet, as we begin to plug in through optogenetics or portable implants or whatever it might be, and become a multi-cellular life form, THIS is where it gets interesting. This is where, for me, I see the future going. Because as I see us transitioning from, literally, the prokaryotic form of life, to the multi-cellular form of life, I see us coming online as a meta-intelligence. Because I think that as we start to interconnect our consciousness, our beings, who we are, we're going to start to become conscious at yet another level. And that next level, whether it looks something like this, is what I believe is the ultimate form of our evolution. Because when we become conscious, interconnected, as a metaintelligence, we're going to look out into this cosmos, and see many other meta-intelligences out there. You know, this is an image taken by the Hubble deep field instrument that looked in the darkest part of the sky, and every image you see there, I think except for one, is a galaxy. So we're living in a galaxy of a hundred billion stars, in a universe of a hundred billion galaxies, and we may have an infinite number of universes – but that's a different conversation. And we're just beginning. We're just at the very beginning of reaching out there. And so I think that as a species, we are heading towards becoming conscious on a cosmic level as we begin to share our thoughts, and one of the things that will come out of this meta-intelligence, this interconnectedness that we have, is an extreme form of global peace. Because just like you don't take a knife and stab your own arm, even though each of those cells in your arm is, itself, its own individual life form, I think that as we become more interconnected, more and more interdependent, more and more transparent with our actions, our desires, our thoughts, that a normal consequence of that is going to be – again, as you are – as a human species, an individual. So, one of the other thoughts I think about is that we have, during this time, the ability and, in fact, the obligation, to back up our biosphere. Everything that we know of “human” is here. Everything. Right there. We have my good friend Richard Garriott over here, one of my trustees and early founders of the X-Prize who traveled up to space and had a chance to see this image, as some 550 people on the planet have so far, hopefully many of you in the decades ahead; but think about it – just like the Library of Alexandria burned and lost all that, imagine if we were to have a catastrophic event here, whether it's an asteroid, a virus, whatever it may be – we have a moral obligation to back up this biosphere. And I think we have the ability, finally, to actually do that. And why I think about that, again in biological terms, is the budding of our planet. So we have collected in our Internet a lot of the sum total of knowledge which can, in fact, be duplicated and put on. We now have the ability to go into the forest, the Amazon, and actually get the DNA sequence of every insect, animal, plant life on this planet. We have the ability during our life times right now to actually catalogue life on this planet and back it up off the planet. And I think that is an extraordinary, if you would, responsibility that we bear during these next few decades. When I think about what's going to fuel humanity in our exponential growth off this planet, it's going to be resources, and one of the companies that I've had the honor to co-found with another good friend, Anderson, is the company called Planetary Resources, which looks at the notion that our cosmos is filled with resources. Resources that will sustain our continuous growth off this planet. Sometimes those resources come barreling down on the earth. This was this impact in Chelyabinsk in February of last year. This had the impact of some 30 Hiroshima bombs as it exploded over the skies that day. And, of course, we're living in a cosmos that is filled with these resources, 1.5 million rocks that we know of over a kilometer in size, some 600,000 that we know of that come near the earth, and some 600 million that orbit the sun. But when I look at these in a different light, they're very valuable. As it turns out, a 75-meter carbonaceous chondrite asteroid, about the size of this room, has more hydrogen and oxygen on it than was used to fuel all hundred and thirty-five 20
  20. 20. space shuttle missions. So think of these as orbiting gas stations, if you would, to fuel our continued expansion. And a 500-meter LL chondrite has more platinum than was ever mined in the history of humanity. Of course, when you're in space, the nickel and iron is going to be much more interesting to you than the platinum, but the platinum will actually fuel the economic growth as we move forward. I give one fun example of what drives our investors in this: this one asteroid, 2011 UW158, if you add up the current market value, is about a $5 trillion asteroid. It comes by the earth every 2 years, conveniently [audience laughs], and it's definitely at the top of our list as an asteroid that we're going to be going at. If I haven't mentioned, the company Planetary Resources is a company to identify, visit, claim, and ultimately mine these asteroids to bring back the materials to earth. We're building these Arkyd space telescopes. We're in production right now. The name “Arkyd”, by the way, is from the Star Wars universe – it was the name of the company that built the imperial probe droids. We're mass producing these space telescope buses. These are the actual space craft that will be going out to the asteroids. They will be going out in a flotilla, about half a dozen to each asteroid. They have on-board lasers for turning around back at the earth and communicating data back to the earth, and actually using the laser as well to vaporize part of the asteroid to look at the spectral analysis. So, a really great compact, state-of-the-art space craft that we're going to be flying. We're actually going to be launching the first one of this for public use. We launched a Kickstarter campaign to make one of these space telescopes, so if you supported the campaign, it's mid-way through, thank you for that. A friend of mine, Jason Silva, called it “extending the optic nerve of humanity.” So, we're at a point in time where, imagine having these kinds of space telescopes extending out through the cosmos that any school kid could go and control and look through. We truly are living in an extraordinary time, a time in which the technology that individuals have to impact the world is being democratized. The costs of things are being demonetized, and everything is being democratized. We have more and more people coming online with powerful technology; we are extending human reach beyond any limitations we've possibly had, and, for me, the rate of innovation of this planet is going to skyrocket. I'm going to, if I could, take a few of the minutes I have here, really to have a dialogue and a conversation with you and with our Twitter stream, so I'm going to take a few minutes for questions, if we could here, that I have left on the clock, on any of these subjects. And I'll happily repeat your question or such. [Question from audience] So the question is, are the problems that we're having problems that are handled by private enterprise or problems that are handled by government? The challenge I have – of course I think governments have to address these things – the problem I have, and the challenge I have, is that the rate of change is going so fast, and the rate of innovation is occurring at such a rate, that I do not believe any of our existing governing systems can handle it. I don't know if you guys agree or disagree with me [applause] – I'll take that as “agree” - but if you think about it, in the Bush 43 administration, foetal stem cell research was made illegal. I'm not going to go into religion and politics and so forth, but all that meant was that the research no longer took place here in the United States. And US went from being #1 in stem cell research to being #8. And all of the researchers and knowledge moved to another country. You cannot regulate against a piece of technology. It isn't going to happen. We're living in a world of porous national boundaries. I think what we need to be doing, and what Dmitry put this conference together about, is having a preferred state of the future, of the vision that we have, and trying to aim towards it. And I'm one who believes that the capitalist engine is one of the strongest engines for making that happen [applause]. [Question from audience] So sea setting was the concept, and the notion is – it used to be that thousands of years ago, if you were a small group of rebels, and you wanted to go and start a place, and start a new government, and practice pure whatever form of religion, you could go someplace, and there was a chance there weren't natives there. That's done. Every piece of territory is claimed. So the question is, if you have 21
  21. 21. three options: One, you try and create a small – you know, you create the calcium carbonate out of the oceans, and you create your own island, you claim independence, and that independence is only, unfortunately, as good as your allied nations willing to defend you, in the final result. The second option is to create a virtual world. We have folks like Philip Rosedale creating the next generation of Second Life, where you go and you live a virtual existence, which I think will be more and more the way people go and experiment with governmental systems and monetary systems and such. And the third option, which Richard, myself, and others are working on, is how do you get off this rock? And how do you go and follow the visions of Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky, and Gerard O'Neill, and others, to create a vision of the future which humanity – and if you look at that, folks like Elon Musk, who's a good friend of ours, he has a vision of taking the Dragon capsule to Mars in the next 20 years, and giving people – I think he announced publicly his vision of a price point of a $500,000 round trip. It would be extraordinary. It would be extraordinary for 10 or 20 times that point. But we are now at a point where it wasn't government that created that private launch capability, it was private industry, and we now have the ability for, if you would, the first explorers to think seriously about going off-world and creating a multi-planetary species. And I think it's, again, a moral obligation for us to do that. Audience member: So, great speech, I like this one even more than your usual. I agree with almost everything you say, except one thing. I actually empathized a lot with your vision about the future on a few points, except one thing. I think – and maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but – indefinite exponential growth in the usage of our natural resources, I think that's unsustainable, and I think we should promote resilience. I agree with visiting other planets and exploring space, but with a new mindset where we promote resilience and sustainability. Otherwise I fear that we are just exporting the wrong mind-set and our problems and we are bringing them outside. Diamandis: Great question. So, let me talk about this. Of course, sustainability is a must, and it is something that, at a conscious level, is starting to pervade human consciousness now when it's taught in schools and so forth. Having said that, we also are blessed to be living on a planet – so when I talk about this in my book Abundance, I talk about the fact that when people think about energy scarcity, the fact of the matter is we are living on a planet that is bathed in 5,000 times more energy from the sun than we consume as a species. There's plenty of energy on this planet. The matter is how do you convert that energy into usable form, and the great news is production rates of solar are increasing at 30% per year at the same time that it's dropping exponentially in price. [Comment from audience] Absolutely, but again, what I started the conversation here with is, we see the problems way ahead, and so I have to believe that in even 50 years, we're going to be cracking a lot of new energy options, let alone 100 or 250 years. Let me talk about water scarcity, water wars. The fact of the matter is we live on a water planet. We live on a planet that's 2/3 covered with water. Yes, 97.5% of it is salt water, 2% are the polar ice caps, and we fight over a half a percent of that clean water that Dr. Martin was showing us, but again there are extraordinary technologies coming online, whether it's Dean Kamen's Slingshot or nanomaterials for filtration and such, I think that we have the ability as a species to knock down these problems. And the fact of the matter is, we are. At an extraordinary rate. It's just that people don't speak to these things. And we forget how good we have, even on a global scale, the life we have. Today the poorest people in America – the poorest of the poor, people below the poverty line – 99% of those people have flushing toilets, roofs over their heads, running water; 95% have televisions and radios; 88% have air conditioning and a car. And these are the poorest and most impoverished people in the United States. The kinds and queens 150 years ago, the robber barons, had none of those things. We are moving the poverty line. We forget these things. So we're living during a time where we're empowered. Sir. Audience member: Thank you. When the Chemical Manufacturers Association concluded that they would support a treaty banning chemical weapons, they created a firewall between peaceful uses of chemicals, and stopped chemical weapons entirely. It's been a very effective regime. We're now at a point where many countries are pushing for a treaty to prevent the weaponization of space, and if the industries involved in 22
  22. 22. space exploration, or exploiting space in any way were to do what the Chemical Manufacturers Association did, and said “we want a treaty to prevent space from being weaponized,” that would be an enormous step forward for everything that takes place on earth. Could you comment on that? Diamandis: So I think that we're at an interesting juncture, which is what we take with us off the earth into space is going to be very telling. What languages do we take? What cultures do we take? What memes do we take? Of course, there's the potential for an infinite number of experimentation. But we can mandate – you know, I think ultimately we can say that we're going to not weaponize space, and I fully agree, I mean I think there's enough abundant resources, enough land to conquer, if you would, or take on, that you don't necessarily need that. But I think that we fight when we're looking for resources, looking for domination, but if we have a multitude, an abundance, a squanderable abundance that we will have in opening the space frontier, that that reduces, to a great degree, the need for this. I am out of time. I do want to mention I am working with my publisher to give away a large number of copies of Abundance. We sold 100,000 copies last year. My goal is to get this meme out and to push a million. If you'd like that, please go ahead and text me your first name and email. I'd be happy to get you a copy of the book. Everybody, thank you very much, an honor and a pleasure to be here. 23
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  24. 24. Lincoln Center, New York City, June 2013 Global Future 2045: Towards a New Strategy for Human Evolution, Congress Proceedings Brain Control of Prosthetic Devices: The Road Ahead Dr. Jose Carmena UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Neuroscience and CoDirectory of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses, and Principal Investigator at the Brain-Machine Interface Systems Laboratory Dr. Michel Maharbiz UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, CoDirector of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, and member of the Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses Transcript - Carmena Hello everyone. So I will be talking today about the field of brain machine interfaces. I will try to make a summary of where we are today in the field, and what hurdles remain in order to bring this technology all way to the clinical realm, which is mostly where we focus on. So, I will start with two examples of very successful neurotechnology devices, implantable devices. I'm starting with this slide because, as you will see, we work on the invasive side of brain machine interfaces, or BMI. There are other ways, noninvasive ways, like EEG, etc. that I will not be talking about today. So there are two very successful examples in particular: the flagship of the field, which is the cochlear implant, that allows people who have lost hearing to regain their hearing even at different stages of their life like childhood or adulthood; The other one is a more recent one, which is the DBS, or Deep Brain Stimulator that allows people with Parkinson's to reduce the tremors in cases where drugs don't work anymore. Again, these are very invasive, especially in the case of the DBS – it goes all the way to the subthalamic nucleus. This is an electrode implanted all the way deep into the brain. This is a safe technology, and it's only going to get better, as we'll see later today in the talk. So, the purpose of our work is centered around sensorimotor control, or helping people with sensorimotor disabilities. In particular, in this case you see Christopher Reeve with a spinal cord injury. These also are meant to help with stroke, ALS, and so on. There are huge numbers of patients in the US alone suffering from this condition. The field of BMI emerged primarily with this application in mind, basically to convert thought into action. In this diagram that you see here we summarize the main elements of this “BMI loop”, as 25
  25. 25. we refer to it, in which you can see that there is a different variety of signals extracted from the brain, noninvasively as I mentioned like the EEG or all the way to individual activities of cells in different areas of the brain, which is what we we use in our lab. And then these activities stream into what we call the decoder, or the translation algorithm that translates the activity from these cells, or groups of cells, into certain motor commands. That allows the subject to control, for example, a computer cursor on the screen, like a mouse pointer to reach and click, or to steer a wheel chair. This is still in the early stages of development, but being the ultimate goal to control whole-body or upper-limb, etc., exoskeleton devices and orthotic devices as well. We refer to this plug also as the “spinal cord” for prosthetic function, mostly because, as you can see, it serves the role of the spinal cord in this now-modified central nervous system, projecting a large number of signals into a subspace of, in this case, motor commands like position, X and Y, of the endpoint effector or the computer cursor. In a similar way and as an analogue, the real spinal cord obtains signals from thousands of neurons and projects those into a thousand or a couple of thousand muscle groups just to move the upper limb. Let me show you – hopefully the videos will start immediately... But this is in the very early days of BMIs, around 2003. I was a postdoc at the lab of Miguel Nicolelis, who is one of the pioneers in the field of modern neuroprosthetics. In those days, we were actually trying to close the loop for the first time, showing that Macaque monkeys in this case, in the absence of physical movement, would drive the neural activity to control prosthetic devices. (Videos.) So, in the top you see a Macaque monkey controlling a computer cursor to reach for this target, and the absence of physical movement. So that's the arm that used to control the joystick now resting there. You see here another Macaque controlling a much harder task, his robotic arm to hit the target. This is the same Macaque doing a reach-and-grab task. In each case, although you see some residual arm movement, this is all under neural control. Signals from the brain are entering the decoder, and the output of the decoder is rendered on the screen, and the animal sees that. Those were the early days of closing the loop, getting back to 2003. Where are we today, especially on the human front? Essentially, one of the goals of this field is the translation of this technology to the clinical realm. I think it's fair to say there are two main challenges to have this as the 'pacemaker' of the brain. I have divided them as follows: One, anything related to what is inside the brain, meaning the implantable device that my colleague Michel Maharbiz will be talking about in a moment; and challenge number two, anything else that you can do with those signals, assuming you can keep them for decades or a lifetime, which is one of the main issues about this technology – as you can see it's bulky, tethered, it's not wireless, it lasts for a few years. As a proof of concept it's 26
  26. 26. very good, and the same happens in the demonstrations we have seen so far, in a few clinical trials in the Brown and Pittsburgh groups. This is very exciting for our field, but we like to look at it like the bottle is half empty, not half full. So it's very exciting but at the same time it's not enough to call this the level of skill that we'd like to achieve in this BMI field, to perform tasks of daily living, like brushing your teeth or tying your shoe or whatever. One more thing: the field of robotic actuators has advanced tremendously in the last few years. As you can see these are fancy prosthetic devices built through DARPA programs and also in the corporate world. Mainly you can see that there are huge numbers of controllable degrees of rhythm. So it's fair to say these robotic technologies exceed the capacity for BMIs to control them. In other words we don't know what to do with our BMIs to exploit the full possibility of these robotic actuators. There's a little bit of a mismatch; hence we're focusing our attention on the brain – how the brain learns and adapts to control these devices, the process of cortical plasticity that was mentioned earlier this morning. In the last 4-5 years in my lab in Berkeley we have been focusing on the problem of plasticity, of how the brain incorporates the prosthetic device into neural representation. For us, it's very important that the brain “owns” the device. In order to achieve, eventually, natural and skillful control of the device, as opposed to the decoder learning, or the machine learning everything you are trying to do, which we think is important. I will mention that in a moment, but we start from the premise that the brain has to learn to incorporate that device into its own representation, like an extension of the body's schema, if you like. Think of this like a very primitive or an early version of an avatar when we talk about the computer cursor. We hypothesize that by keeping the BMI loop stable in terms of connecting the same channels, the same neurons, to the same decoder from day to day, and hence keeping the same BMI service from day to day, the subject – in this case the Macaque monkey – will be able to retain what it has learned in a given day and recall it readily the next day and so on, in the same way we recall motor memories. When we learn to drive a car, and then we jump in the car and drive, we don't need to recalibrate and so on. That's the concept of the motor memory, but in this case, in the neuroprosthetic sense, a motor memory for something that does not belong to your own body. It's a disembodied actuator. In the animation you just saw, this is a Macaque monkey performing what is known as a central reaching task. That requires them to drive the cursor purely under neural control, and to do this in the absence of any physical movement. So, it's just mental control, to the center target, hold for 400 milliseconds, and then reach one of the targets that you see there, in which case the animal gets a juice reward. So this is a demonstration of controlling reach and click, that you can do with a bunch of cells in a Macaque monkey, 27
  27. 27. just to give you a sense of where we are now today. Needless to say, this performance doesn't need recalibration from day to day. After the learning phase, the animal, from the very first trial in a given day, can recall this “plug and play effect”, as we like to call it. We've been talking about adaptation here, in the brain, brain plasticity. But then there's the possibility of also using machine-learning techniques to improve, to change the parameters in the decoder – in this spinal cord prosthetic function – in order to, for example, accelerate learning, boost performance, and so on. This is an area we're exploring these days which people call a “co-brain/machine co-adaptation.” Now it's a true learner system. You have the brain and the machine learning in the same closed loop. It's tricky because for us it's very important that we do not give up the plastic properties that we mentioned a moment ago. We want the brain to own the device, but at the same time we want to help or improve performance by tweaking the parameters of the decoder. I will not get into details of how we can do that, but basically this is becoming a very promising area of research in BMI. So, the summary of my part of the talk, which has been challenge #2: What to do with the signals if we keep them forever? What we are pointing towards is the skillful, natural control of the BMI. Note as I mentioned “natural” control, so you also want to feel the BMI. So far we haven't been talking about sensation, but just one of the big missing elements in this BMI field that we and many other groups are also pursuing, but which is, I would say, a little bit more underdeveloped than the motor control part, which is to sensorize the prosthetic device – to return this feedback to the patient so that he can feel the tactile information from the robotic hand, from the gripper, and also get a sense of where the robotic arm or prosthetic device is in space – and doing that by writing information into the brain, either by electrical or optical techniques like microstimulation or optogenetics, for example. So that's one of the main building blocks that people are working on today, and that we think will improve enormously what we see today in demonstrations of performance. And with this I will pass the torch to Michel. 28
  28. 28. Transcript – Maharbiz So, my job is to give you a tutorial or an appreciation for the challenges in building the gadgets that are required to do all the fantastic stuff that Jose was talking about, and I want to end with a presentation of an idea that we're pretty excited about. Let me start by giving you about a minute tutorial on how these technologies work and how they take data from the brain. Let me start by saying there are a lot of ways to take data from the brain, and you should look forward this summer to a number of really amazing white papers looking at the fundamental limits of how you would extract data from an entire brain, for example (Marblestone et al, 2013). There are many modalities, there are many different energies that you can use to take data out. Let's focus on what we call extracellular electrophysiology. So, this is the classic way you take electrical information out of the brain, very invasively, and you get highresolution, if you will, data. Let's pretend this is an accurate representation of a neuron (which it's not – it just looks pretty – it's a big audience so you've got to have things that look like this...). So basically you have a neuron, and this neuron fires depending on the inputs its getting. It turns out that when it fires it changes the concentration of ions very rapidly around it, because it's using those ions to fire. And so there's a very classic method that revolutionized things many decades ago, which is you put an insulated wire such that the tip is close to this neuron – close means about 100 microns, although people debate this – and you measure the potential between that and some distant electrode, which is usually some other piece of metal in your head not near the neurons you care about. By recording these signals you can essentially infer something about the activity of those neurons. That's been the basis of the type of work that you see. You take these recorded electrical signals and you do things with them. There are challenges to doing this for the type of things we're all talking about here, in other words lifetime chronic integration. What do you want when you want one of these technologies? Well, you want to be sure you get whatever part of that electrical information that's relevant to you. So that might be spikes, you might want to see little actual spikes, which represent the neuron's firing as a sum total of the activity that's going on. Sometimes you'll just be interested in what's called multi-units, a lot of different spikes; or local field potentials, which are not really any individual neuron, you're just happy to hear their cocktail party going on – you know, like I can do something with this sort of cocktail party. You want to see as many as you can. You want it to last a long time. You want it to be biocompatible, which is a complex term we can't unpack in a minute, but the quickest way to say it is you want to minimize the harm the brain does to the electrode and you want to minimize the harm the electrode does to the brain. Because you're putting this into a brain. You're very worried about infection, because all existing systems go through the skull and stay that way. There are wires coming out of your head, 29
  29. 29. which are very carefully worked on and closed up. There are surgical techniques for this, but there is a wire, going through your skull. A hole in your skull, to be precise. You want to minimize the amount of damage you do when you sort of staple this in the brain, and you'll see what I mean by “staple” in 30 seconds; and something everybody's going after is you'd love to do this without some immense thing coming out of the back of your head, you'd like to be able to walk around and do this. And that's not just for cuteness, it's because a lot of science would be enabled if you could do all these wonderful things with a completely awake, normal-behaving animal. So, the state of the art looks like this. This is the famous Utah array picture that changed everything more than a decade ago. Out of this type of work have arisen arrays that look like this, and like this, and you can see that essentially they're a bed of needles, and at the end is the exposed part that's going to record. You stick all this in, and each of those needles is going to give you a recording. There are various incarnations of this which I'll skip – this one's made by Neural Nexus, some of these are made by Cyber Kinetics – there are different variants – this is the Duke array that Jose worked on with Miguel Nicolelis – and so you can see a common motif. A newer approach to this – and these are not the only people, there are a number of people – here you have the same needle, and this was pioneered in Michigan, and this is a neural paper from another group – lots and lots of these little bright dots, each of these is like an independent head of a wire. This shank can take lots and lots of recordings along its 1mm-long, 35-micron width. Each of those little gold spots is recording this electrical trace. Each of those lines is an electrical trace. Time is the X axis, 5ms is this little bar, and you can see here – there must be a neuron near this bundle here, because you can see all these little spikes and they're correlated, they're all picking up the same neuron nearby firing. That's a spike. So this gives you an appreciation for what you want to do, but there are problems. I want to sketch out these problems - there's a debate going on in the field - and give you two different passes at what we're doing. The first is what I would call pseudo-conventional, and then I want to end with something we're very excited about that you're going to be hearing about, hopefully. What are the problems? The biggest problem is these things just don't last that long. Infection is a problem, but you all can imagine that without much explanation, because wires through a hole in your skull is a route for infection; but the actual sites themselves degrade. In rats they last proportionally longer for their lifetime, but in primates, essentially, there's a very nice report at the end of the year that pushes this a bit up, but essentially it's a small fraction of your lifetime before these electrodes do not give you useful information. Those lines just go flat. Each of those little sites stops showing stuff. And there's a big debate in the community as to why. Is it that the wires themselves are 30
  30. 30. allowing infection to go in very slowly, it sort of goes in there and starts messing with things? Because, you know, you're talking about a brain, is it that these needles are really stiff relative to the brain and over time this really upsets what's going on there? What I didn't mention is that you go in there and you pop a bunch of capillaries, because your brain is as vascularized as it is full of neurons. Does this cause the problem? Is it that they move? That this is very stiff and they sort of sit there and they're moving relative as I go like this? Maybe that's doing something over long periods of time to upset the cells. Is it that the services chemically just don't look like brain, and so the cells are looking at this going “why did this skyscraper just land by me? Everybody attack!” No one knows. This is a big deal. What I want to do is sketch out in two slides, and then wrap up with something different, what we're doing, which is, I think, representative of what a lot of people are doing – you're probably going to hear more about this stuff today and tomorrow. We're attacking this issue aggressively in a number of ways. The first one is: get rid of those wires. Put a 60 GHz radio with the latest electronics technology inside your skull. That 60 GHz radio will be taking all of the data that's coming through here, beaming it through the skull, very high bandwidth, pulling out all that stuff, some fraction of the channels, some compression, these are technical details – and then this thing out here then talks to some other nearby device and sends all the information itself. It could do some processing, it might itself, this small thing sitting on your head, it might do some computation. The other thing a lot of people are doing, including ourselves, is attacking the stiffness. So instead of having those [squishing sound] – what you have is, think of contact lenses. Polymers as thick or much thinner than contact lenses lying conformally over your brain from which sprout, almost like an octopus, very very small, really really small, anywhere from a few microns wide, little bigger, also compliant polymer things that are inserted into the brain and left there. So you have almost this very thin spaghetti that's sort of permeating the cortex taking data. These are some of the first ones to come out, so you can see this flexibility there, this incredibly high thing, and it's connected to a prototype that's going to get much smaller as we work on this. It should be reliable, tons of channels, and so on. Now, this is just an eye chart, I'm going to spend 2 seconds on this, but a lot of technological innovations are required for this. This is not going to be something one lab is going to do. This is an effort over a decade. It's going to have to involve a lot of people looking at different angles of this. Just in my lab, which is a small drop in the ocean, you can see all the different technologies that have to be developed. From highdensity assembly technologies that involve polymers and silicon and metal, to working out these little contact-lens-like substrates I was talking about to record, to the actual details of the engineering of the interfaces, to the insertion robotics. Peter Dudovitz has been doing a lot of this, he's here somewhere. Tim Hanson at Philip Sabes lab and mine working on robots that are literally micron scale, almost stitching machines, that will 31
  31. 31. basically sit there and get these things inside. How do you get a 5-micron-wide, 1mmlong piece of contact lens material in? It's not a trivial technological problem. I'm about out of time, we've got about 3 minutes, so I want to end real quick with something that I think will change everything, and we're very excited. This is the next level, and we're pushing hard on this. You should see a white paper, open access, giving the entire engineering specification of this, very soon (Seo et al., 2013). We call this “Neural Dust”. The goal here is to have the transcranial transceiver, but now you don't have any needles in the brain. You have incredibly small specs, scalable down to the tens of microns, which are not using electromagnetic energy to couple to them, because it turns out coupling electromagnetic waves of your usual cell phone radio through a brain is a losing proposition for very small things. You're coupling out from these independent little specs using ultrasound. Each one is a little tiny ultrasound transceiver talking to a base station. This base station can talk to a number of them. This would be completely untethered, completely embedded, recording what's going in the brain, sending it out, sort of fairy dust at the top of your cortex, feeding out data to a collector and then that gets sent out to the outside of the skull. I'm going to wrap up by saying we're very excited by this. This is the mental output of Jose Carmena, myself, Jan Rabaey, and Elad Alon, sort of this gang of four at Berkeley that's become obsessed with this problem. Look for a white paper very soon with all the technical details laid out in exquisite detail. We really want to invite everybody to start working on these platforms. With that I'm hitting two minutes, and we'll stop and take questions. Thank you. 32

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