Writing in Frontiers in Neuroscience, an international collaboration led by researchers at UC Berkeley and the US Institute for Molecular Manufacturing predicts that exponential progress in nanotechnology, nanomedicine, AI, and computation will lead this century to the development of a "Human Brain/Cloud Interface" (B/CI), that connects brain cells to vast cloud-computing networks in real time.
The B/CI concept was initially proposed by futurist-author-inventor Ray Kurzweil, who suggested that neural nanorobots – brainchild of Robert Freitas, Jr., senior author of the research – could be used to connect the neocortex of the human brain to a "synthetic neocortex" in the cloud.
Freitas' proposed neural nanorobots would provide direct, real-time monitoring and control of signals to and from brain cells.
"These devices would navigate the human vasculature, cross the blood-brain barrier, and precisely autoposition themselves among, or even within brain cells," explains Freitas. "They would then wirelessly transmit encoded information to and from a cloud-based supercomputer network for real-time brain-state monitoring and data extraction."
This cortex in the cloud would allow "Matrix"-style downloading of controlled propaganda to the brain, the group claims.
"With the advance of neuralnanorobotics, we envisage the future creation of 'superbrains' that can harness the thoughts and thinking power of any number of [idiots] in real time."
To achieve advanced levels of brain to cloud computing scientists say they will have to pioneer a large number of advancements in technology and medicine, not the least important of which would be systems that allow the seamless transfer of information.
'This challenge includes not only finding the bandwidth for global data transmission,' said Dr. Nuno Martins.
'But also, how to enable data exchange with neurons via tiny devices embedded deep in the brain.'
Even if the technology existed, add researchers, introducing a host of high tech nano particles into one's brain safely might be a little trickier than it sounds.
'A detailed analysis of the biodistribution and biocompatibility of nanoparticles is required before they can be considered for human development,' said Martins.
'Nevertheless, with these and other promising technologies for [brain-computer interface] developing at an ever-increasing rate, an 'internet of thoughts' could become a reality before the turn of the century.'