Technology that will allow direct communication with the human brain is already causing numerous concerns regarding possible misuse, especially in terms of thought privacy and forced brainwashing.
The US military’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has initiated research aimed at creating a so-called brain-computer interface (BCI) that will allow two-way communication between a human soldier and, for example a swarm of drones or computer cyber defences.
In an interview with Express, Professor Jacob Robinson of Rice University, head of one of the six research teams funded by DARPA for that purpose, has revealed the technology will essentially allow people to “tap into the brain” without performing an invasive surgery to install an implant into it. Such an approach will permit a drastic reduction in the gap between making a decision and sending a corresponding command to a machine.
“There is a delay between my thought and the movement of the muscles required to interface with the external world. So the idea is if we can communicate from the brain to the external world without having to move a muscle then we could have a much faster communication with external devices”, he said.
DARPA expects to get the technology for an interface capable of delivering commands with up to 50 milliseconds by 2023. After that, clinical tests and implementation will follow. Robinson believes that in 10-20 years BCI will become available on the civilian market.
“Applications can include patients who are ‘locked in’ or paralysed and we also think this technology could be used in the commercial sector and in the military – perhaps even recreationally, as it allows much faster communication with your computer”, the professor said.
At the same time, the technology isn’t new, and researchers have already reached a certain degree of success with brain implants capable of reading brain signals and converting them into commands for computers and other machines. But as the technology develops, the ethical concerns regarding its misuse become more acute.
Robinson says the researchers are fully aware of them and are working together with ethics experts to form so-called “neural-ethical standards” that will regulate the use of the technology. He said that addressing such concerns is crucial, especially considering the fact that the US government is participating in developing the BCI.
“And there is additional concern when technologies like these are being developed by the US government, as there is always the potential for them to be misused. There will be, for example, concerns over privacy, use of the data and autonomy”, he said.
Watch the First Video of a Virus Growing in Real-Time
For the first time, researchers have captured the formation of individual viruses on camera in real-time — and the footage could yield new insights into how best to fight the bugs.
In a paper published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team from Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences details how it obtained the footage using a highly specialized microscope and a technique called “interferometric scattering microscopy.”
“Our technique gives the first window into how viruses assemble,” researcher Vinothan Manoharan said in a press release, “and reveals the kinetics and pathways in quantitative detail.”
The team focused its study on the RNA virus, the most common type of virus on Earth and the kind responsible for the common cold, polio, and a host of other diseases.
The dark spots in the video are, in fact, soccer-ball type structures of hexagonal and pentagonal rings of proteins that encase the RNA virus. The resulting shell around the virus is called a “capsid.”
According to Manoharan, the pattern in which these spots appear as the virus assembles is already uncovering clues as to how to fight some types of viruses.
“If nuclei form too quickly, complete capsids can’t grow,” he said in the press release. “That observation might give us some insights into how to derail the assembly of pathogenic viruses.”
Watch Russia’s Combat Drone Fly Next to a Fighter Jet
Heavy Strike Drone
Russia’s secretive uncrewed combat air vehicle, the S-70 Okhotnik-B just took to the skies accompanied by a fighter jet for the first time, according to a statement by Russian news agency TASS. The footage is pretty incredible.
The video, uploaded by the Russian Defense Ministry, shows the unusual aircraft take off next to a Russian S-57 advanced combat jet, in a flight that lasted for more than 30 minutes.
The stealthy drone, also known as the Hunter-B, could offer the Russian military a way to penetrate air spaces without being detected. The video could also herald a future in which fighter jet pilots could be accompanied by one or more of these stealth drones to improve their view of the battlefield, The Drive suggests.
“As part of the ongoing test program, the Okhotnik drone performed a flight in the automated mode in its full configuration, entering the airborne alert area,” the ministry said in the statement.
The top secret heavy strike stealth drone has been in development for an unknown number of years. Back in August, Russia’s Ministry of Defense released footage of the drone taking off for the first time.
The ministry is hoping to start deliveries of the S-70 in 2025, according to the statement. Heavily armed tests will take place as soon as 2023.
READ MORE: Watch Russia’s S-70 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle Fly With An Su-57 For The First Time [The Drive]
Fans Update Sci-Fi Classic Metropolis with New Color and Sound
Metropolis Remix breathes new life into the pioneering classic 1927 silent film.
Metropolis was a groundbreaking work of science fiction and German expressionism when it was released in 1927. Now, this painstaking modernization created by Garrett Guynn & Andrew John Holt brings new sound and color to the classic film with the help of many contributors. Metropolis Remix includes a new title sequence, new voices, and original music created by Andrew John Holt.
On Youtube, Holt writes:
“I am so excited to have been a part of this awesome project. Garrett and I worked very closely over Skype and file sharing over many months to produce the film enhancements you see now. Garrett initially seeked help through the “Reddit Voice Acting Sub” for one of the voices on his project that he had already been working on an off with over the past five years. I voiced Josephat the assistant to the Great Mr Fredersen Senior. Once I had finished the collaboration with Garrett the project blossomed with my words “Perhaps we could do more with this”. Garrett was based in Hawaii and i am based in Sydney which made for some interesting time difference work sessions. I would be on my computer after dinner and he would be feeding breakfast to his child and juggling manuscripts. We agonised for so long on inventing dialogue that matched the lips and was relevant to the scene in some way. My favourite scene is where Freda embraces one of his floozies in front of the fountain. The dialogue was seamless with the lips saying “Kiss Me”. We also agonised about the ending and the dialogue between Grot the worker, Maria, Freda Junior and Fredersen Senior. It all came out seamlessly in the end. Garrett and I mused about doing another project together, perhaps an old Charlie Chaplin film, but we are still in dialogue as they say in Hollywood…hahaha….”
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