From Stephen Hawking to Matrix: Making Science Fiction Come True (4)

Making Matrix Come True

BCI is also controversial, often criticised as being a form of brain control. In fact, our society used to experience similar ethical dilemmas with human cloning and gene editing. The technology we are talking about today has not reached the level of reading and manipulating minds. Only with the unbroken cooperation from users can this technology decipher their thoughts, not to mention implant any new ideas. To further complicate things, our thoughts are continuous in time and thus won’t not be editable like genetic information at least in the foreseeable future. Even though it is difficult, there are still people who keep trying. For example, after three years’ research, the Tonegawa Laboratory of MIT is already capable of deleting, modifying or writing one bit of fear information in transgenic mice though optogenetic technology. They hope to use this technology to remove people’s pathological fears or help Alzheimer's patients treat memory impairment. There are still obstacles to this technology though. It’s not as close at hand as the media has made it appear.

People may ask: what will BCI be like in its ultimate form? We know BCI is a futuristic technology that, just like space exploration, has been depicted in many sci-fi films. In the Matrix trilogy, human thoughts are directly uploaded to the Matrix through BCI, and people will have their own digital avatars in the Matrix as well. This is what we are ultimately aiming for.

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