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Is ‘Brain network’ the future? ~ Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, Temple University (Sbarro Inst. / SHRO)

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

In the not-too-distant future, it will be possible to pool the mental resources of separate individuals to solve difficult problems by using a network of connected human brains. A team of American neuroscientists has successfully connected the brains of 3 people, making it possible to share their thoughts. These tests have led to the hypothesis that this method, when perfected, might enable the linking of brain "networks."

This was all made feasible by combining electroencephalograms and transcranial magnetic stimulation, which, in addition to linking the brains of many individuals, provided a wealth of information about in-depth brain function. Two transmitters were linked to some EEG electrodes during the experiment, which involved two subjects playing a game of "Tetris".

Players had to choose whether rotate each block to make a continuous horizontal row. The two participants referred to as "transmitters," needed to look at one of two LEDs on either side of the screen in front of them for this to happen. These LEDs flashed at different frequencies, one at 15 Hz and the other at 17 Hz.

The EEG electrodes detected various signals that the flash frequencies generated in the participants' brains. Through a TMS helmet, the decisions made by the two transmitters during the game were relayed to the "receiver," the other player. The experiment was run with five distinct groups, and the accuracy rate was 81.25%.

The system could only send one bit of data at a time, but the team of researchers from the University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon believes that this system it can be improved. Receivers were able to pick the most dependable transmitter based on brain interactions.

These findings pave the way for the development of brain-brain interfaces, which will enable human cooperation through "social networks" of interconnected brains, named BrainNet, rather than just something like telepathy, a network that will enable collaboration between multiple brains to accomplish a common objective, even at a distance. This network is reminiscent of the hypothesis presented by Nick Bostrom in his book "Collective Superintelligence."

A network of minds that can solve any problem, divided into autonomous sub-components, and that, as more brains are joined, should provide more opportunities for solving complicated problems. Fantasy is surpassed by reality. What we had only dared to imagine or foresee might materialize, and possibly give humanity the hope that the human mind will one day take revenge on the machine.

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