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Elon Musk Just Launched A Company That Can Link Your Brain To A Computer

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If you’re thinking to yourself, “The title of this article sounds like it belongs in Hollywood, not science,” you are surprisingly mistaken. Elon Musk just unveiled his plans to revolutionize the human-technology relationship by creating a company whose sole mission is to link the human brain with computers.

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Although this technological advancement was inevitable to some, especially given the fact that Musk has voiced his support of using technology to advance human intelligence on numerous occasions, the launch of his company doesn’t come without concerns. Will merging our brains with computers further accelerate the collective consciousness or is this a step in the wrong direction? How will this alter the human experience and our connections? Will this benefit society as a whole or will only the elite be able to afford it, further perpetuating social division and separatism?

Musk’s New Company That’s Linking Brains to Computers

Earlier this week, Elon Musk launched his newest company, Neuralink, which is in the process of developing a “neural lace” technology, meaning that users would be able to communicate directly with machines without using a physical interface.

More specifically, Neuralink would implant electrodes into the brain, allowing individuals to upload or download their thoughts to or from a computer. This would also enable humans to access greater intelligence and more advanced cognitive abilities.

“Long Neuralink piece coming out on @waitbutwhy in about a week. Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to,” he tweeted.

Musk has actually been featured on Wait But Why before, a blog operated by Tim Urban, where many of his businesses and the science and inspiration behind them were reported on. If you’re ever confused about how Musk’s operations work, I’d highly recommend reading these blog posts. I’m actually a fan of the writing style on WBW because Urban has an uncanny ability to explain complex concepts in an accessible and understandable way.

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Although the notion of brain-computer communication may seem far-fetched, implanting electrodes into human beings isn’t a new concept, as it’s already being used to treat Parkinson’s disease. According to the Wall Street Journal, Neuralink’s technology could be used to treat other brain disorders as well, including epilepsy and more severe cases of depression.

Musk isn’t the only one hoping to develop a relationship between the brain and computers, either, as Facebook is already researching a similar technology through Building 8, its secret hardware division. The social media giant is designing a noninvasive brain-computer interface technology that will enable users to communicate with external hardware devices. Researchers at the University of California and Duke University are also creating brain-computer interface technology that gives people with paraplegia the ability to walk again.

Musk hopes that one day these implants will be able to advance brain function for even healthy people, giving us a competitive advantage against artificial intelligence (AI). Musk has voiced his opinion a number of times on the rise of AI, as he thinks that merging with AI is perhaps the best way to prevent robots from taking over all human tasks. Although I don’t think this is much of a cause for concern, the scientific community has had heated debates on the topic.

Even if AI does progress to the point that they begin to take over many low-income jobs, particularly those within the manufacturing and service industries, this doesn’t really pose a threat to us. Yes, robots will inevitably take over some of the workforce, but this just means that we will have more time and resources to access our creativity and develop and harness other skills in order to further advance society. AI doesn’t have to represent the end of the human workforce, but rather can be seen as a step toward a more progressive society.

Nevertheless, Musk has expressed his concerns that AI will eventually take over the world, treating the average human being like a pet. He believes that neural lace could prevent an individual from becoming a “house cat” to AI. Musk also supports the implementation of a Universal Basic Income (UBI), as he believes it will be necessary once people start to lose their jobs to AI (read our CE article on that here).

Again, even if AIs take our jobs, it could be an excellent opportunity for us to progress as a society because it will free up more of our time to do things that are truly meaningful for the world. Perhaps a UBI isn’t a bad idea, and it would actually be easier than you’d think to implement given that there is already enough money for everyone to thrive on Earth; it’s simply a matter of reallocating it from the elite and to the rest of the population. You can read our CE article on Musk’s opinions on robots and UBI here.

Drawing Parallels From Hollywood 

If the first thing you thought of after reading the title of this article was, “That sounds like a plot for a movie,” you’re not wrong. Tons of movies and TV shows have touched upon AI taking over the world or people merging themselves with AI to progress the human race.

The first thing I thought of after learning that Musk was launching a company to develop neural lace technology was actually two television shows: Black Mirror and West World. Season 1 Episode 3 of the TV series Black Mirror is set in an alternative reality whereby humans can have “grains” implanted into their brains that record all of their experiences, which can then be downloaded onto a computer.

Essentially, people’s memories could be downloaded onto a computer, allowing people to literally “play back” their memories in front of their own eyes or on a television screen for all to see. Of course, there were benefits to this, like being able to share past experiences with friends, having perfect memory recall, or exposing the truth of events or interactions. However, it had its downfalls, as it encouraged people to live in the past, there was a severe lack of privacy, and it disconnected people from each other and the present moment.

What if neural lace technology is only the beginning, and it eventually leads to a full merging of the brain to computers? Can privacy ever be kept if this occurs, and will it encourage us to live in the past?

Even worse, what if it eventually lets us delete our memories? This concept was discussed in the TV series West World, a show about an amusement park that’s filled with AI that look exactly like real human beings. The robots are so lifelike that they experience feelings like love, pain, and loss, but at the end of the day most of them have their memories erased. What if downloading our memories leads to our being able to delete them, too? Obviously this is far-fetched, but so was the idea of neural lace technology thirty years ago. Musk himself has even theorized that we’re all living in a computer simulation, so who’s to say anything is impossible (read more about that here)?

It may seem foolish to compare science to Hollywood, but ultimately some of what’s presented in Hollywood has a lot of truth within it. This industry often capitalizes on current trends and is used to feed us propaganda and desensitize us to real-world concepts like UFOs, foreign affairs, and international conflict. After all, corporations and even government organizations collude with the entertainment industry.

For example, the CIA has an entire department dedicated to the entertainment industry. It’s run through the CIA’s Entertainment Industry Liaison Office, which collaborates in an advisory capacity with filmmakers. The CIA doesn’t just offer guidance to filmmakers, it even offers money. In 1950, the agency bought the rights to George Orwell’s Animal Farm and then funded the 1954 British animated version of the film. You can read more about this in our CE article on whistleblower Roseanne Barr here.

So, perhaps Hollywood has created so many movies on AI as a way to desensitize us and prepare us for the inevitable? I’m not suggesting that any of this is fact, but it’s just interesting to draw parallels between the industry and the topic of AI.

Final Thoughts 

At the end of the day, AI isn’t something that needs to be feared. Recently, there’s been a lot of talk within the scientific community on how AI poses a threat to the workforce and that “a world full of AI could be a world devoid of consciousness.” What so many people seem to be forgetting is that we are fundamentally connected to everything in the universe and that everything in the world is made up of consciousness, both of which include AI.

In some way, AI is a reflection of the collective consciousness, so no matter what happens, it will serve us. Even though AI technically poses a threat to many jobs, this will simply allow us to have more time to do what we love and focus on advancing society and heightening our creativity.

People feared the Industrial Revolution for the exact same reason that they fear AI: They were scared they’d lose their jobs. However, if we learned anything from that time, it’s that more jobs will open up and it will only help advance our society. Of course, there are many things we need to be cautious of when it comes to AI, but if we design AI with the intention of benefiting the collective, then AI isn’t something to fear, but rather embrace.

 

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Discover

South African Doctor Cures Deafness With First-Ever Middle Ear Transplant

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The South African Department of Health has announced that a team of South African doctors have successfully completed the first ever middle ear transplant that restores hearing caused by certain types of deafness.

  • Reflect On:

    Does our current economic system truly support innovation? Does it value things that truly make humanity thrive? Or does it seem like there is always a need for us to convince someone to invest in something that is obviously important for society?

The South African Department of Health revealed earlier this year that a team of South African doctors have successfully performed the first-ever transplant of a patient’s middle ear, allowing them to once again hear. The surgery can be performed on people of any age and sets out to cure deafness caused by physical damage, infection in the middle ear as well as congenital birth defects and metabolic diseases.

Once again we see the value and innovation of 3D printing at work as this new invention helps to reconstruct the broken bones of a middle ear. Unlike other forms of transplants, this new innovation is seen as a long-term solution to conductive hearing loss.

It was 40-year-old Thabo Moshiliwa who lost his hearing in a car accident that underwent the first ever surgery dreamt up by the medical team at the University of Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic Hospital. This first ever surgery lasted about an hour and a half. The next patient to receive this treatment was 62-year-old Simon Bohale, who had an underdeveloped middle ear. His occupation as a welder also contributed to worsening his hearing loss. “I am excited. I have had two surgeries before but was not 100% okay. I cannot wait to hear people when they speak to me.” said Bohale.

The most influential person behind this new discovery was Professor Mashudu Tshifularo who had been studying conductive hearing loss over the past decade. When his interest turned to 3D printing technologies as a means for solving the intricate physical issues associated with certain types of hearing loss, he realized this highly useful discovery.

In the South African Department of Health press release, Tshifularo stated:

“By replacing only the ossicles that aren’t functioning properly, the procedure carries significantly less risk than known prostheses and their associated surgical procedure.

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We will use titanium for this procedure, which is biocompatible. We use an endoscope to do the replacement, so the transplant is expected to be quick, with minimal scarring.”

Tshifularo told local radio station Jacaranda FM:

“This was one of our patients we have been waiting for, for this reconstruction for almost three years now because they are not affordable … [but] we have done something new in the world and people will remember us for that.”

 Tshifulara understands that this new treatment must become accessible and affordable for poor and working-poor patients for its benefits to fully be realized. This includes those who use South Africa’s public hospitals.

Tshifularo continued:

“Because we are doing it in the country and we are going to manufacture here, it has to be affordable for our people in state hospitals.

It will be very accessible because as long as we can train the young doctors to be able to do this operation, then it will be accessible for them as well.”

Now it comes down to funding and support to continue moving forward with making this treatment accessible. The university’s Department of Otorhinolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat) requires government funding and private sponsors to ensure this innovation continues forth.

More good news, South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi pledged that the Department of Health will “do everything in our power to assist and mobilize resources to make sure that Prof. Tshifularo gets all the help he needs for this far-reaching innovation.”

The Takeaway

There is no shortage of innovative people and incredible creativity on this planet, but does our current economic system truly support this innovation? Does it value things that truly make humanity thrive? Or does it seem like there is always a need for us to convince someone to invest in something that is obviously important for society?

The truth is, we hold back our own healing and thrivability as a species by accepting the belief that our current economic system is the way to go.

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Alternative News

Female Sorcerer’s Fascinating Arsenal of Charms Discovered In Pompeii

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Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    On August 12th archaeologists uncovered a trove of jewels in Pompeii that are thought to have been part of a 'sorcerer's treasure trove' used to bring fortune and fertility, and protect against bad luck.

  • Reflect On:

    As we dive into all of the magic that crystals, amulets, and similar tools have in this day & age, it's even more magical to see this latest finding & remember that we have been utilizing such tools for as long as we can look back all over the world.

My initial reaction to this story was, ‘WOAH. I love and have to share this!’

As someone who has gone on a very specific path in life, my journey has been filled with tools much like these. I am forever fascinated by all things magic (you can tune into my interview with Collective Evolution The Magic Within on CETV to understand this even further if you wish) and when news like this pops into my frequency, it solely reaffirms that there are so many of us out here and that energetic practices are, of course, nothing new.

On August 12th archaeologists in Pompeii discovered an array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms thought by researchers to have belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.

More than 100 miniature objects were found in a wooden crate which had all but decomposed except for its bronze hinges. The findings include miniature dolls, phallic amulets, necklace beads, and a tiny skull among other objects made of bone, bronze, glass, and amber. The researchers have come to the hypothesis that they were likely used for adornment or protection by a woman in the years before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, which later buried the city and its population in volcanic ash.

“They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories and biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption,” said Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, in a statement.

See items from the treasure trove below.

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Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

“The objects… were found at the Casa del Giardino, the same area where an inscription was recently uncovered that made historians change the date of when they think the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii took place, shifting it from August 24 to October 24 79 AD.” – ANSA

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

At this very location, the researchers also discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims, which included women and children. Archaeologists will use DNA analysis to determine if the victims were related. “Perhaps the precious box belonged to one of these victims,” Osanna suggested. “The iconography of the objects and amulets invoke fortune, fertility, and protection against bad luck,” Osanna said. He has suggested to the Italian news agency Ansa that it could have been a “sorcerer’s treasure trove.”

Since there was no gold found in the trove, it is likely these objects belonged to a servant or a slave, rather than the owner of the house, Osanna told Ansa.

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

 

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

Courtesy Cesare Abbate (ANSA).

The jewelry will go on display soon at Pompeii’s Palestra Grande in an exhibition set to be a follow-up to its recently closed show on Roman jewelry called “Vanity.”

The Takeaway

Though the past potential usage for these items is stressed to be simply a hypothesis at this time, it is incredible to simply see and imagine the time they existed in through these images.

As humans in a material, physical, 3D world, we ourselves are continuously building our own treasure troves in a way. Every piece of jewelry or product we purchase, find, or create flows its way into our homes, cars, pockets, backpacks, etc. and in the end shall remain and live on well beyond us to share a glimpse into our story. What would you like to leave behind? A trunk filled with magical amulets, or a legendary story (or both)?

Though it is nearly impossible to always be thinking of this when adding more ‘stuff’ into our lives, I do believe it serves as a good reflection point that these things are simply that – things – and that the real magic lies within each and every one of us. Remember that the energy and intentions that we at times give to others, things, or tools, is always coming from & through US.

Now, this is not to say that treasures themselves can not be treasured. If you just so happen to love the look, feel, and energy that they give off or wish to utilize these physical objects as an extension of yourself, by all means (and I get it – I’m with you!). As a final note, however, from a real-life gem collector to the hearts of all of you,  know that the answer, the love, the magic IS YOU.

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Consciousness

Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.

  • Reflect On:

    We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.

The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’

One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.

Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.

In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.

“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI

Horses were more wary of people they previously saw in a photo with an angry expression on their face. Photo by University of Portsmouth/University of Sussex

UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.

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“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”

Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.

“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”

This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.

The Takeaway

With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.

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