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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?

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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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Consciousness

The Study of Fundamental Consciousness Entering the Mainstream

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Consciousness is appearing to be a fundamental property, just like liquids, solids and gas, consciousness and its connection to the physical material world is now gaining big time credibility.

  • Reflect On:

    How much do we have yet to discover? Are we ready to abandon what we thought we knew in light of new discoveries and evidence?

The world-renowned neuroscientist Christof Koch, spent nearly two decades working alongside the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule, Francis Crick. Their mission was to find the neurobiological basis of consciousness. They discovered many insights into cognition and the functioning of perception, yet the central enigma, the nature of consciousness itself, remained mysteriously elusive.

In 2009, Koch shocked the scientific community by publishing his conviction that consciousness probably isn’t just in brains, but is a fundamental feature of reality. This is a view known to philosophers as ‘panpsychism.’ The theory Koch is now dedicating his research to is called ‘Integrated Information Theory’ or ‘IIT.’ It is the brainchild of neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In explaining his theory, Tononi asks us to consider a simple light sensitive photo diode like those found in a digital camera. A simple diode might respond to just two states: light or dark. We could present our diode with any number of images, yet regardless of the picture, the diode conforms to one of only two possible states. Is it light, or is it dark?

Now consider yourself looking at the same picture, lets say, of the Eiffel Tower on a beautiful spring day in Paris. For us, looking at this image results in a reduction from a near infinity of possible states. Not an image of the Andromeda galaxy, not a childhood picture of your mother, not cells dividing in a Petri dish and so on.  Because of the vast number of images we are capable of recognizing, each one is highly informative. For Tononi, the vast amount of information capable of being integrated in the brain means that we have a comparatively huge capacity for consciousness.

Tononi’s theory, that consciousness is born out of networks with high integrated information, has novel ways of being tested in the laboratory.

In studies with sleeping participants, Tononi and his colleagues used transcranial magnetic stimulation to send a ripple of activity through the cortex of sleeping participants. The researchers found that when dreaming, this ripple reverberated through the cortex longer than when participants were in stages of dreamless sleep. This demonstrated that during dreaming, when the brain is conscious, the cortex has a higher degree of integration.

In another experiment, the researchers built tiny robots known as ‘animats’ that were placed into mazes. The animats used simple integrated networks capable of evolving over sequential generations. To their surprise, the greater the degree of integration that the animats evolved, the quicker they were able to escape the mazes. For Tononi this finding suggested that consciousness may play a more central role in evolution than had previously been thought.

The mathematical value of integrated information in a network is known as phi. But Tononi’s theory, now the topic of serious mainstream discussion, has an extraordinary implication. Phi didn’t just occur in brains, -it is a property of any network with a total informational content greater than its individual parts. Every living cell, every electronic circuit, even a proton consisting of just three elementary particles have a value of phi greater than zero. According to Integrated Information Theory, all of these things possess something, albeit but a glimmer of ‘what it is like’ to be them. Tononi states:

“Consciousness is a fundamental property, like mass or charge. Wherever there is an entity with multiple states, there is some consciousness. You need a special structure to get a lot of it but consciousness is everywhere, it is a fundamental property.”

Integrated information theory is in its infancy and there are still many questions it must face. Did the information of brains operate at the level of the neuron, or the protein, or something deeper still? The electromagnetic field of the brain, as observed by psi researcher Dean Radin, is always re-establishing its quantum connection to the entire universe. Could a much richer informational interaction exist than has yet been imagined?

Physicists such as John Wheeler have laid the groundwork for a radical new understanding of reality, in which matter, the laws and constants of nature, and indeed the entire universe is best described, not in terms of physical objects, but through the play and display of a fundamental dynamic information.

Quantum mechanics suggests that at the deepest level of nature, the entire physical universe is interconnected. Might the total information of the universe be integrated in some deep sense? Is it in a mysterious way conscious of itself?

As spiritual traditions throughout the ages have long asserted, instead of isolated and separate experiencing beings, we may experience on behalf of the greater evolving system in which we find ourselves.

In Koch’s highly anticipated 2012 book, ‘Consciousness – Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist’, he states:

“I do believe that the laws of physics overwhelmingly favored the emergence of consciousness. The universe is a work in progress. Such a belief evokes jeremiads from many biologists and philosophers but the evidence from cosmology, biology and history is compelling.”

Regardless of the validity of Tononi’s theory, today increasing numbers of scientists and academics are convinced that the existence of consciousness simply cannot be sensibly denied. The study of fundamental consciousness is now entering the mainstream. This movement consists of thinkers in and outside of the mind sciences. Yet despite their different academic backgrounds, they are united by two common convictions: that consciousness is an intrinsic rather than incidental emergence in the universe, and that any complete account of reality must include an explanation of it.

 Sources:

 Koch, C. (2009, August 18). A complex theory of consciousness: Is complexity the secret to sentience, to a panpsychic view of consciousness? Scientific American.

 Tononi, G. (2008). Consciousness as integrated information: A provisional manifesto. Biological Bulletin, 215(3), 216-242.

 Edlund, J. A., Chaumont, N., Hintze, A., Koch C., Tononi G., & Adami, C. (2011). Integrated information increases with fitness in the evolution of animats. PLoS Computational Biology, 7(10).

 Radin, D. I. (2006). Entangled Minds: Extrasensory experiences in quantum reality. New York: Simon & Schuster.

 Koch, C. (2012). Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist. MIT Press Books.

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US Gov Grants Patents For An Anti-Gravity Craft That Alters The Space-Time Around It

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The US Government has granted patents to multiple inventors, including the US Navy for technology that breaks the laws of physics.

  • Reflect On:

    How many technological developments are in existence that we don't know about?

It wasn’t long ago when government agencies and scientists would simply reject even talking about inventions that defy our known laws of physics, but things are changing because science is progressing, and if there’s one thing that’s constant, it’s change. Change is even constant in physics–a great example I like to use is of the prominent physicist Lord Kelvin, who stated in the year 1900, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is a more and more precise measurement.” It wasn’t long after this statement when Einstein published his paper on special relativity. Einstein’s theories challenged the accepted framework of knowledge at the time and forced the scientific community to open up to an alternate view of reality.

A paper titled “Outside The Box” Space & Terrestrial Transportation & Energy Technologies For The 21st Century written by Professor Theodore Loder of the University of New Hampshire reviews the development of anti-gravity research in the United States and emphasizes how “research activity seemed to disappear by the mid-1950s.” It then looks into recently reported scientific findings and witness testimonies “that show us that this research and technology is alive and well and very advanced. The revelations of findings in this area will alter dramatically our 20th-century view of physics and technology and must be considered in planning for both energy and transportation needs in the 21st century.”

As far back as 2005, patent 6,960,975 was granted on 1 November to Boris Volfson of Huntington, Indiana. It describes a space vehicle propelled by a superconducting shield, which alters the curvature of space-time outside the craft in a way that counteracts gravity. The device builds on a claim by the Russian physicist Eugene Podkletnov that superconductors can shield the effects of gravity.

A patent filed by the United States Navy in 2016 describes a design for a craft as follows:

A craft using an inertial mass reduction device comprises of an inner resonant cavity wall, an outer resonant cavity, and microwave emitters. The electrically charged outer resonant cavity wall and the electrically insulated inner resonant cavity wall form a resonant cavity. The microwave emitters create high frequency electromagnetic waves throughout the resonant cavity causing the resonant cavity to vibrate in an accelerated mode and create a local polarized vacuum outside the outer resonant cavity wall.

Shortly after the patent for the hybrid craft was approved in 2018, the inventor, Salvatore Cezar Pais presented another related paper, “Room Temperature Superconducting System for Use on a Hybrid Aerospace Undersea Craft” at the 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum in San Diego this past January. In the paper, Pais writes that “the achievement of room temperature superconductivity (RTSC) represents a highly disruptive technology, capable of a total paradigm change in Science and Technology,” and adds that its “military and commercial value is considerable.”

The capabilities described in the paper should certainly sound familiar to anyone who’s been following the Navy UFO stories over the last several years:

It is possible to envision hybrid aerospace-undersea craft (HAUC), which can function as a submersible craft capable of extreme underwater speeds (lack of water-skin friction) and enhanced aerial/underwater stealth capabilities (non-linear scattering of RF and sonar signals). This hybrid craft would move with great ease through the air/space/water mediums, by being enclosed in a Vacuum/plasma bubble/sheath, due to the coupled effects of EM field-induced air/water particles repulsion and Vacuum energy polarization. (source)

These types of technologies, or potential technologies, seem to be bringing up what’s known as warp drive, or the Alcubierre Drive. The concept involves basically placing a craft within a space that is moving faster than the speed of light. Therefore, the craft itself does not have to travel at the speed of light from its own type of propulsion system. It’s easier to understand if you think in terms of a flat escalator in an airport. The escalator moves faster than you are walking. In this case, the space around the ship would be moving faster than the ship could fly, keeping all the matter of the ship intact. Therefore, we can move faster than light in a massless cloud of space-time.

So, rather than exceed the speed of light alone in a craft, a spacecraft would leap long distances by contracting space in front of it and expanding space behind it. This would result in travel faster than light. (source) Physicist Miguel Alcubierre was the first (that we know of) to identify this possibility. He described it as remaining still on a flat piece of space-time inside a warp bubble that was made to move at “superluminal” (faster than light) velocity. We must not forget that space-time can be warped and distorted, it can be moved. But what about moving sections of space-time that are created by expanding space-time behind the ship, and by contracting space-time in front of the ship?

Here’s another great paper on faster than light technology regarding altering the quantum vacuum by legendary physicist Dr. Eric Davis.

The key is developing technology that can alter-space time, but also detecting that space time, or as some like to call it “aether” or “dark matter” in some cases, so it can be engineered.

A similar concept was also recently illustrated by Mathematician James Hill and Barry Cox at the University of Adelaide. They published a paper in the journal proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical and Physical Sciences (source).

“By creating a ‘warp bubble’ that expands space on one side of a spaceship and contracts it on the other, the spaceship will be pushed away from the Earth and pulled towards a distant star by space-time itself.” – Dr. Alcubierre (source)

But do these technologies actually exist?

The defense patent applications are quite intriguing, and it means that the Navy is actually taking the concept quite seriously, but is there any evidence at all of their existence?

That depends on what you consider to be evidence.

We have statements from previously retired Directors of Lockheed Martin Aerospace programs (including the most recently retired), like Steve Justice.  So, what did Mr. Justice have to say? Well, a lot of things. One of the first statements he made using the To The Stars platform is that, when it comes to the technologies he’s been around, worked with, and seen, it would be an understatement to call them revolutionary. He’s stated that the technologies that him and his team at To The Stars are working on now are the same technologies that are employed by Unidentified Flying Objects.

“In some cases, according to incident reports and interviews with military personnel, these vehicles descended from altitudes higher than 60,000 feet at supersonic speeds, only to suddenly stop and hover as low as 50 feet above the ocean.” – Christopher Mellon, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Intelligence from 1997 to 2002 (source)

Justice has said that he has had “glimpses” of how this type of technology works, and that his current team needs to “harvest” these technologies from the Science Division to realize their capabilities.

Justice and his team have admitted to having access to materials from these UFOs, wherever they are from and whoever is making them.

Over the last three months, To The Stars Academy has collected seven pieces of material, from multiple sources, to study for The ADAM Research Project.  Each sample represents different elements of potential Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and how they operate.

According to the accompanying provenance documentation, there are two classes of samples:  material that was released as the UAP was hovering and material that makes up parts of the structure or systems.

According to Justice,

The structure and composition of these materials are not from any known existing military or commercial application. They’ve been collected from sources with varying levels of chain-of-custody documentation, so we are focusing on verifiable facts and working to develop independent scientific proof of the materials’ properties and attributes. In some cases, the manufacturing technology required to fabricate the material is only now becoming available, but the material has been in documented possession since the mid-1990’s. We currently have multiple material samples being analyzed by contracted laboratories and have plans to extend the scope of this study. If the claims associated with these assets can be validated and substantiated, then we can initiate work to transition them from being a technology to commercial and military capabilities.”  (source)

On multiple occasions Justice has spoken of technologies that can alter the space-time metric. The mainstream has picked up on this multiple times, and here’s an example from The New York Times.

Again, it’s unclear because there just isn’t any solid proof, although I have no doubt that these technologies exist within the black budget world. After all, the “Invention Secrecy Act” written up in 1951 states that patent applications on new inventions can be subject to secrecy orders. These orders can restrict their publication if government agencies believe that their disclosure would be harmful to national security. (source)(source)

These days, national security seems to be used to protect elitist and corporate interests.

That being said, it seems that they do exist if we consider the technological capabilities that have been observed in thousands of cases of UFO sightings and incidents.

Related CE Article: 

Earth, Water, Air & Fire: Why Is The Fifth Element (Aether) Completely Ignored?

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If You Could Power Your Entire Home With 60 Minutes Of Cycling, Would You Do It?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Mechanical energy, converted into kinetic energy can provide the energy that we use on a regular basis to power our homes and electronic devices.

  • Reflect On:

    Rather than focusing on the current problems in our world it is great to change gears and have a look at all of the solutions that are popping up all over the world.

Imagine if your morning workout could power your home for the entire day, all the way until your next morning workout. Well, you may not have to imagine, as this technology exists now. Manoj Bhargava has invented a new exercise bike that can power some homes for 24 hours after use for only sixty minutes per day.

This invention was a part of a new initiative to bring electricity to places that undergo frequent power outages or may only have access to power for a few hours during the day. In our modern age, going without electricity can really separate a person from the rest of the world. Bhargava’s mission is to bridge the gap for those who suffer from poverty and make it easier for them to access the same information as the rest of the world, potentially giving them more opportunities in life.

The Free Electric

The above heading is also the name of this awesome and innovative bike serving as a solution to a pretty significant issue in the underdeveloped nations of the world.

According to Bhargava, the Free Electric is meant to lead to “better health, more leisure time, better access to education and opportunities for entrepreneurship.” He also feels that it could, “literally change the world.”

Power to change the world? Bold statement, but if this is able to be implemented worldwide, I would absolutely have to agree with him. This technology not only has the capacity to assist those in poverty, but can also be used by the rest of the world as well as more and more people around the world who are aiming to reduce their usee of fossil fuels. I have a feeling that Millennials (such as myself) and younger generations would be all over this if its made available! Not only is it a great way to get your cardio in, but it provides FREE electricity that produces no other pollution.

As mentioned in the video, it is also a great solution in the face of natural, or even man made disasters because this type of electricity would not rely on that generated and sold by power companies. Perhaps even one day a way to stock up and store this energy will be possible — then, the opportunities here will be much more plentiful and could be a huge factor in reducing the amount of pollution our current methods of energy production are creating.

The Future Is Friendly

As much as there is sometimes destruction all around us, there is also innovation and ingenuity. Human beings have tremendous potential. Even though there are many problems that we as a society are facing, solutions are popping up and fast, and in most cases they already exist. Finding solutions doesn’t seem to be the problem, so ask yourself, what is?  It’s so great to see ideas such as these being conceptualized and then created and put into use so efficiently, it shows how our species is capable of stopping and potentially reversing some of the destruction that we have caused over the years.

This is absolutely a double win! We are constantly bombarded with news stories and articles that are telling us to be more active, stop sitting so much, and now with the Free Electric, we will have to be active before we can relax and enjoy the use of our precious technology.

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