In a previous blog post, I wrote about the possibility of implementing a chip in a human brain, which would make us hybrid humans. This would allow us to increase our cognitive abilities, strengthen our senses, and improve our communication. But how far along are we with this technology? And what are the ethical and social implications of creating a new species? Hybrid humanity: the future is now!
The state of play
One of the most ambitious projects in this field is Neuralink, a company founded by Elon Musk.
Neuralink aims to develop a wireless brain-computer interface, consisting of thousands of tiny electrodes that are implanted in the brain. These electrodes can pick up and send electrical signals from the brain, creating a direct connection between the brain and a computer or smartphone.
Neuralink has already shown that it works in animals, such as monkeys and pigs, and hopes to start the first human clinical trials in 2022.
Another example of a brain-computer interface is the BrainGate, a system developed by a consortium of universities and hospitals in the U.S.
BrainGate uses an implant that is placed in the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for movement. By means of a cable, the implant is connected to a computer, which can decode the signals from the brain and convert them into commands for an external device, such as a robotic arm or a wheelchair.
BrainGate has already helped several patients with paralysis or ALS to control their environment with their thoughts.
In addition to the invasive methods, which require surgery, there are also non-invasive methods to realize a brain-computer interface. One of them is the EEG, or electroencephalography, which uses electrodes that are stuck to the scalp.
The EEG can measure and analyze brain activity, and thus recognize certain mental states or intentions. The EEG is already used for medical diagnosis, neurofeedback and gaming, but it also has limitations, such as low resolution and sensitivity to noise.
Another non-invasive method is the fNIRS, or functional near-infrared spectroscopy, which uses light to measure blood flow and oxygen levels in the brain. The fNIRS can map brain activity and thus detect cognitive processes or emotions.
This method is used, among other things, for research into social interaction, learning and attention, but also has disadvantages, such as limited depth and a slow reaction time.
The challenges and opportunities
Creating a hybrid human being brings not only technical, but also ethical and social challenges.
One of the most important questions is: who has access to this technology, and who controls it? Is it a privilege for the rich and powerful, or a right for all? And how do we ensure that the data that is collected and shared via the brain-computer interface is not misused?
Who is responsible for the security and privacy of the users, and how are they safeguarded?
Another question is: what does it mean to be a hybrid human, and how does that change our identity and relationships? Which brings up new questions!
How do we deal with the potential benefits, but also the risks, of enhancing or altering our cognitive and emotional capacities? How does that affect our personality, self-image and self-confidence? And how do we relate to the other people, who may or may not be hybrid? How do we preserve our humanity, our autonomy and our values?
Despite the challenges, creating a hybrid human also offers many opportunities and possibilities. It can help us to improve our health and well-being, increase our creativity and productivity, and strengthen our communication and collaboration.
It can even help us to protect our planet, by making us more aware of the impact of our actions on the environment.
Hybrid humans are no longer science fiction, but a reality that is getting closer and closer.
The technology to implement a chip in a human brain already exists, and is constantly being developed and tested.
The question is not if, but when and how we are going to use this technology for humanity.
That depends on the choices we make, as individuals, as organizations, and as a society.
We need to be aware of the challenges and opportunities that come with creating a hybrid human, and deal with them in a responsible and sustainable way. Because in the end, it’s not about the technology, it’s about people.
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In this blog we will discuss the new employee of Generation Z, this is a generation that seeks balance in work and private life and that wants to contribute to a purpose.
As a result, the labor market is changing because long-term employment contracts are becoming less and less common as we have described in this article.
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Customer review of Didacticum
We experience the cooperation with CareerTracker as very pleasant.
It is a new way of working for us, so good communication is important here.
You help both the field managers and the consultants with examples, tips & tricks and to safeguard our new HR cycle.
The feedback we provide is immediately picked up, followed up and you also keep us continuously informed of the progress.
At Didacticum, everyone is at the wheel of their own career and partly due to the use of CareerTracker, our colleagues are able to do this optimally.
Zeljko Bondzulic, Field Manager Didacticum