How will we interact with the intelligent machines of the future? If you’re asking Bryan Johnson, founder of startup Kernel, he’ll tell you those machines should be implanted inside our brains.

His team is working with top neuroscientists to build a tiny brain chip—also known as a neuroprosthetic—to help people with disease-related brain damage. In the long term, though, Johnson sees the product applicable to anyone who wants a bit of a brain boost.

Yes, some might flag this technology as yet another invention leading us toward a future where technology just helps the privileged get further in life.

But helping restore brain function in stroke survivors or memory for those with dementia would be life changing for those individuals and their families.

In her article, “Putting a Computer in Your Brain is No Longer Science Fiction,” Elizabeth Dwoskin from The Washington Post takes a fascinating in-depth look at Johnson’s journey to founding Kernel and the potential of the technology.

“Kernel is cognitive enhancement of the not-gimmicky variety. The concept is based on the work of Theodore Berger, a pioneering biomedical engineer who directs the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, and is the start-up’s chief science officer.

For over two decades, Berger has been working on building a neuroprosthetic to help people with dementia, strokes, concussions, brain injuries and Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts 1 in 9 adults over 65.

The implanted devices try to replicate the way brain cells communicate with one another. Let’s say, for example, that you are having a conversation with your boss. A healthy brain will convert that conversation from short-term memory to long-term memory by firing off a set of electrical signals. The signals fire in a specific code that is unique to each person and is a bit like a software command.”

Read the full story here.


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Alison tells the stories of purpose-driven leaders and is fascinated by various intersections of technology and society. When not keeping a finger on the pulse of all things Singularity University, you'll likely find Alison in the woods sipping coffee and reading philosophy (new book recommendations are welcome).

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