If a useful brain-computer interface was available sometimes in your lifetime (and secure and safe) would you get one?

submitted by merari42

Background to this slightly weird question: I found one of my old an English exams on science fiction and dystopian literature from the 11th grade in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany (ca. 2004) and found a similar question. The idea back then was to discuss the pro- and cons of a BCI (and I objectively did not do to well back then) . I am interested about people's opinions.

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Assuming the implementation is done in such a way that I am not indirectly owned by the manufacturer of the BCI and am capable of maintaining its software and firmware myself...yes yes absolutely yes stick that shit in my head.

But if it is not open source and I'm expected to be tied to some corporate entity just to utililze it, no, absolutely not.


Similar feelings. I'm far less worried about the tech than the corpos behind the tech. There are other concerns, like immune system going haywire, constant EM radiation, etc. But the capitalist tech bros would be my chief concern.

TootSweet , edited

I can imagine a world in which I'd be willing to do so. But there's no way in fuck that that world is ever going to happen.

For sure it'd have to be as open source as it gets. With a solid user base that would maintain the device should the entity that made it end support. No dependency on a remote service that, if it was shut down, would cause problems. No DRM. No tracking. At least the option to disable *all* "phoning home". No ads. Hardware off switches for any wireless connectivity interfaces. I'd have to be able to turn off basically *all* notifications. Decent data backup strategy options. As little vendor lockin as can possibly be achieved for such a use case. All that sort of stuff.

The payoff for having it would have to be pretty great for me to be willing to get it if it required an invasive surgical procedure.

And I sure as fuck wouldn't be an early adopter. I'd definitely wait a good long while to see what issues early adopters developed.

So, all that to say "realistically, no way in hell." But in a magical fairly land where every product *isn't* made specifically to enslave consumers... there's a very very small chance I'd consider it.


This is the exact answer I was going to write, it's an awesome technology, and sometimes I'm cooking or doing something random and thinking that if I had a neural interface with my computer I could keep doing what I was doing, or taking notes or anything which would be great... But there's no way in hell I'm going to trust any of the companies that could produce this, and I doubt that even if one came out soon there would be a viable open source alternative any time in my lifetime.

If anyone thinks we're just crazy open source guys, consider that both Adobe and Microsoft just changed their terms to include owning essentially anything you do inside their platform to train AIs.


No way, it would be cool at first then after awhile they would start with the freaking ads and subscriptions

pivot_root , edited

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Yes but only if it's actually secure and safe ie. fully open source


This. We already have cybernetic eyes, but the company went bellyup, so once the ones already installed stop working, the users are fucked. If it were open source, they'd be some effort, either corporate or community to create an update.


Agree. I would also insist on it being supported by a socialised health system with control over pharmaceutical pricing.


If we're talking about the neural lace from the Culture Sci-Fi series, hell yeah. It's all nanotech that could be installed and removed in a non-invasive way. You get a lot more control over your body, enhanced cognition, mental backups so you're really hard to kill permanently, comms, all the knowledge, VR more real than reality, control a robot as an extension of your body, etc.

They were still vulnerable to remote takeover in extreme and unusual situations. I think an EMP like thing would switch them off.

Realistically would I let somebody put something running binaries written in C and ad supported apps in my head? Not happening.


(and secure and safe)

…is what’s getting me. Secure and safe for whom? Secure and safe for the company? Then fuck no. Secure and safe for me? Then yeah, implant that thing!


The venn diagram of "wireless connectivity" and "secure and safe" is two non-overlapping circles. Now, consider that something crammed inside your brain probably won't have a USB port protruding from your skull.


After 45 years of living I've learned that the future sucks and capitalism ruins everything. So no, I'll pass on the brain ship. If I'm disabled enough to need one, I live in America and there's plenty of gun stores.


Judging by how tech has basically used it to spy, control, and advertise to people, there is no way I would let more of my data get in the hands of these ghouls. The only way this could happen is if there were stringent government controls that put the ownership of data into the hands of people with walls around that data preventing governments from accessing it. At this point, none of this seems possible.


The way the world is moving towards the subscription model - no way. Imagine some company having the ability to remotely disable the chip.

If the BCI was implanted with no external communication, perhaps. Depends on how it will benefit me.




Despite my best efforts to get *away* from computers, I still find myself attached to them in one way or another during most of my waking hours. Lemmy is my computer time that acts as a mental break from other computer time. Connecting in an even more intimate way sounds horrible.


I don't think that I would ever trust this, considering the state of everything currently. But yeah, if it was secure and safe. I think it would be cool to have things like better storage capabilities, eyesight enhancements, auxiliary sensations, etc.

It probably wouldn't be cheap either though, which already puts the concept out of my reach.


🇰 🔵 🇱 🇦 🇳 🇦 🇰 ℹ️ , edited

I already have one. It came out in the 90's. It's called MindDrive. I'm sure that similar devices made in the modern day are way better.

But that's not really what I want anymore. Being able to control the PC with my thoughts is a novelty for me. Far more useful to the disabled. What I want is the reverse; I don't want to send signals from my brain to the computer, I want computer signals to my brain. Like a VR system that uses your visual cortex to directly generate images in your perception and send other feedback to trick your brain ala Total Recall.

Or being able to give myself entirely new senses with an implant (possible right now; but there's no commercially available products I am aware of).

bizarroland , edited

I'm hoping that by the time I'm ready to retire I can just throw my shambling soon to be corpse into a pod and Jack into the matrix for the last 5 to 10 years of my life.

If I have kids or grandkids or whatever they can all come and visit me while I'm out fighting demons with my harem of ultra-powered sword mage catgirlfriends.


useful brain-computer interface

It's called a keyboard, and I already have one.

Vanth , edited

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Musk probably says his neuralink is already safe and secure.

If Elmo says something is ready now/soon, it's nowhere close.


That depends on what it could do, and how granular it could be programmed.

I don't want any active interface, it should just be passive.

If I had a small chip in my head that I could program to reward a healthy lifestyle but nothing else, then yes I would be interested.

I mean something that would give me a slight dopamine hit when making healthy choises would be fantastic.

Now, that would be impossible to make, but that is the only kind of BCI I would accept


Blessed be the omnissiah! But no, in this world companies would ruin it in some way by making the T&Cs insane and loading ads into your brain or something


No, i don't need that. It was a fun fantasy when I was younger, but unless I end up losing use of my limbs or something, cyborging it up seems like a bad move in our nonfictional world.

TheGalacticVoid , edited

Any such interface needs to be non-invasive/removable for me to use one.


Probably but I'll wait a bit. Google glass was insanely popular for a hot minute.


Depends on the capabilities. If i can automatically open my garage door with my mind or draw a bath, or control a cursor on a screen, then no. If it enables entire new ways of experiencing sensations or memories, or ways to share them, or fully immerse you in a virtual world indistinguishable from reality, then maybe. If it's not from a company Musk has any hand in.

merari42 [OP] , edited

Not from a Musk company or equivalent is a minimum requirement for secure and safe.


"Secure and safe" is doing a lot of very heavy lifting here. But, taking that at face value - it cannot be compromised by malicious third parties, it will not break like having the wires retract and has no capacity to cause damage to my person, the worst thing that can happen is that it deactivates and my body dissolves it and absorbs or passes the remains, etc etc - sure, of course.


No. Just no.


Can add a few more nos to that


Is it an open hardware and software interface?


Like a Focus? As long as it's 100% local, I think it'd be cool and *probably* not dystopian. Maybe. Possibly.

rufus , edited

Entirely depends on how it'd work. If it's a good one and makes me able to access all of humanity's combined knowledge... Sure, why not? If it's a bad one and makes me hooked on some virtual world, or I have a good chance of getting hacked and walk around like a zombie or ends me in a scifi dystopia... No. I don't think I can decide without knowing more details.


I'd love to have access to the tech, but not if it meant corporate data-miners having access to my every thought and sensation.

EleventhHour , edited

i'd really have to know more about it, but, yeah, sure. i'm all for the idea of cybernetic enhancements, but, as i said, i'd have to know a lot more about it before i ever committed to anything.


I prefer my electric meatball to be fully organic.


If it was open source and I controlled it input output wise then yes.

PhlubbaDubba , edited

I'm pretty sure the ability to integrate computer processing with human thought is what will actually signal the point of singularity in "AI" development, an entity capable of both the mass data tabulation of binaric computing and the incredible abilities of pattern recognition only found in the brain.

If it was safe and secure I'd *absolutely* be interested in seeing how that fusion of ways to process the world around us would change how we understand it.


If it was secure and safe being the key words there. I’m not sure how that could be demonstrated to a high enough degree for me to feel comfortable with it.


No, one need only look at the windows recall debacle to see how corporations would abuse the chip, not to mention the potential for advertising beamed directly to your brain and the possibility of malware. Hell even discounting all of that, not that you should by any means, how would upgrading work?


There is no such thing as a secure brain-computer interface. That's like asking if there is a safe tiger-butt interface.

Color 🎨

Nope. I'll never get cosmetic surgery, body modifications, piercings, or implants for non-medical reasons... I take pride in living authentically



So, you're suggesting one I can only use on alternating days, or something like that?


100% want one. Being able to interface better with my computers and machines is a dream to me.

It would have to opensource, self hosted processing though. I really don't need my every whim hoovered up to sell me crap I don't need or to justify literal thought police.


You've reminded me that I've been meaning to look more seriously at an Ultracortex.


Only if it could upload my consciousness to the cloud after I die like in that one episode of *Black Mirror* where the old women end up dying together but they end up living in a custom-built paradise forever.


We already use them. Any interface between a brain and computer is a BCI. But as for a futuristic brain implant -- absolutely not. We need to go the opposite direction and return to nature.