The Art of Thinking: Will Development of Neurotechnology Force Us Become Thought Diplomats


Neurotechnology offers vast potential. In one futurist’s words, “Our understanding of our limitations will be shattered, and new vistas will open up, as we explore the possibilities that arise when we bring minds, machines, and the material world together.” However, to bring these disparate elements together harmoniously means that all three components will need to “give a little” and this is where the novel notion of thought diplomacy comes in.

The secret ingredient to unlocking the full potential of neurotechnology may simply lie in finding a way to meet halfway. So how do we do that when we’re talking about something as innate and instinctual as thinking?

Diplomacy with other human minds

As humans begin to network their thought processes via brain-computer interfaces, futurists predict that we will achieve a state of “cyberthink”, a form of group intelligence where the combined experience and knowledge of an integrated team of people becomes something far greater than the sum of its parts.

While it’s challenging to intuitively understand what that would look or feel like, it’s pretty fair to say that it would lay the foundations for problems being solved very differently. Imagine having access to crowd-sourced problem solving, where ideas and strategies from a score of minds flow together seamlessly: an amazing notion.
I imagine this utopia of thought would surely depend on god-level networking skills and the ability to synergize ideas with those whose minds you are networked with. In this sense, we may well all need to become thought diplomats, carefully shielding out unnecessary or unproductive thoughts while also remaining open to a frenzy of fresh and challenging ideas. But if an increased pressure to be diplomatic with our thoughts is the cost, imagine the gain.

What about diplomacy with artificial intelligence?

The neurotechnology industry is moving forward quickly. We will soon see devices that can be implanted in the human brain that can greatly augment our intelligence. Indeed, Elon Musk, CEO of Space and Tesla, recently stated that these kinds of neurointerfaces are the best chance we have of keeping pace with artificial intelligence.

Companies like Neurogress are working to make this thought diplomacy between humans and computers easier and more detailed than ever before. They’re achieving this through developing software which can utilize artificial intelligence to learn to understand each individual’s unique brain signals.

The results are fascinating and striking. Here’s how Neurogress describes the experience. “A person is tentatively asked to imagine the desired motions in mind many times, and the algorithmic image recognition systems find a match between these intentions and … the electrical activity of his/her brain. In the future, the algorithms reliably recognize signs of a person’s intention … , this time through free expression of the person’s intentions in the course of the movement.

So what this means is that using this technology, the process of thought diplomacy becomes an amazing dance of give and take. As we endeavor to embrace harnessing our brains to communicate with technology, Neurogress’ software will be ensuring that the technology in turn adapts right back.

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Controlling the world with the power of thought.

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