The advent of new technologies has unquestionably accelerated the rate at which the world is transforming. Indeed, connecting computers to the brain is becoming less of a pipe dream and more of a practical possibility.
Businessinsider reported earlier this month that charities sponsored by Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos (Gates Frontier and Bezos Expeditions) have joined other companies in investing $ 75 million in Synchron, the endovascular brain-computer interface (BCI) company. While this is going on, it is common knowledge that Elon Musk is the driving force behind the innovative new company Neuralink.
Similarly, Peter Thiel, a billionaire and cofounder of PayPal, invested in an older BCI startup in Utah called Blackrock Neurotech last year. Blackrock Neurotech has indicated that it plans to file for approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the near future. What is driving the current wave of public interest in supporting BCI firms?
The use of BCIs is not completely new. In point of fact, they have been around for close to fifty years, despite the fact that their beginnings were very simple.
Already, Synchron is assisting patients with severe, debilitating medical conditions in accomplishing things that would be impossible for them to complete without its assistance. The Australian Philip O’Keefe, who received Synchron’s device for implantation in the year 2020 and was featured by Business Insider, was said to be an early adopter of the technology.
As a result of O’Keefe’s usage of BCI, he is able to use his mind to engage in activities such as playing games online, communicating with others via WhatsApp, and controlling the lights in his home.
O’Keefe recently stated to Business Insider that he is capable of “Whatever you can do on a computer, I can do,” “At this point, I am a little bit slower than you would be, but there is the ability to do almost anything — if I want to,” she said. “If I want to.”
However, the applications of BCI are not restricted to merely being limited to computer clicks or mechanical movements.
In fact, BCIs are being developed to diagnose abnormalities with the brain and treat disorders like depression via deep brain stimulation. They could also assist in understanding the mysteries surrounding the operation of our brains, providing researchers with a window into the interior of our skulls to observe the functioning of our cerebral network in real time.
Moore, a neuroscientist at Brown University, stated that “People are reading out brain-area activity patterns and detecting epilepsies before they can hit,” [Citation needed] A definite, patient-centered therapeutic application is on the horizon.
In addition to its use in medicine, this technology has a wide range of potential uses, including the gaming industry, the military, and security.
Moguls in the technology sector are fascinated by the BCI business.
The BCI business has garnered investment from a who’s who of tech moguls, including Musk, Gates, Bezos, Thiel, and Vinod Khosla, amongst others. Even if the majority of these billionaires invest in other biotech ideas, the tech moguls have a disproportionately large presence in BCI, which is still considered to be a specialized area of biotech.
No BCI company has ever been successful enough to go public, and most of their investment rounds have been quite small in comparison to those of larger and more established biotech companies.
According to Arch’s Nelsen, the computing component of BCI is also a “obvious bridge” between computers and medicine for persons who have a background in the technology industry. The results of research initiatives conducted by BCI are likely to be of interest to executives who are more used to analysing computer code than the results of biological experiments.
“People think of the brain as the most advanced computer out there,” said Kurt Haggstrom, a chief commercial officer of Synchron, in an interview. “People think of the brain as the most advanced computer out there.” “What tech person is not going to want to learn and be able to tap into it and understand how it works?”
Moore stated that despite the excitement, BCIs are not capable of collecting data that captures the whole spectrum of what our brains perform. BCIs are almost entirely concerned with the electrical impulses that are being produced by the patient’s brain. However, there are many aspects of how our brains function that are not measured by BCIs but which continue to be essential to both the functioning of the brain and the manner in which our thoughts influence our behaviors.
Moore stated that the BCI is “obviously a huge part of the puzzle,” and went on to say, “But think of all the potential dynamics we could record in these other systems in the brain.”