Common Problems in a Memory and Intelligence Amplified Future

A 34-year-old store clerk in Japan stole and abused 1300 credit numbers by using his perfect memory. The clerk has eidetic memory. He would memorize the customers name, credit card number, expiration date and security code for a few minutes. He would then record this information in a regular paper notebook.

Eidetic memory is typically found only in young children, as it is virtually nonexistent in adults. Children possess far more capacity for eidetic imagery than adults, suggesting that a developmental change (such as acquiring language skills) may disrupt the potential for eidetic imagery.” Eidetic memory has been found in 2 to 10 percent of children aged 6 to 12.

In a small test of 15 patients at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, this prosthetic memory system helped the patients improve their short-term memory by an average of 35 percent.

The researchers constructed a model of processes by which the hippocampus encodes memory items via spatiotemporal firing of neural ensembles that underlie the successful encoding of short-term memory. A nonlinear multi-input, multi-output (MIMO) model of hippocampal CA3 and CA1 neural firing is computed that predicts activation patterns of CA1 neurons during the encoding (sample) phase of a delayed match-to-sample (DMS) human short-term memory task. Main results. MIMO model-derived electrical stimulation delivered to the same CA1 locations during the sample phase of DMS trials facilitated short-term/working memory by 37% during the task. Longer-term memory retention was also tested in the same human subjects with a delayed recognition (DR) task that utilized images from the DMS task, along with images that were not from the task. Across the subjects, the stimulated trials exhibited significant improvement (35%) in both short-term and long-term retention of visual information. These results demonstrate the facilitation of memory encoding which is an important feature for the construction of an implantable neural prosthetic to improve human memory.

Simple Recording and Getting into the Zone Where You Learn Better and Are More Focused

If someone was wearing Google Glass, then they could record their interactions on video. This would enable them to record credit card information in their field of view. There is also work on memory and intelligence enhancement. Simple recording devices and there is the scam of having a false or duplicate reader attached to the regular credit card reader.

There are lifestyle modifications to improve memory and learning and increasing the ability to get into the zone. There is a state of flow where you can be more focused and more productive and have improved memory.

The following activities help:
* Fasting (removal of food)
* Nutritional Ketosis (removal of carbs)
* Meditation (removal of thoughts)

There are online guides on how you can manage your day and life to improve your ability to access the flow state.

Technology to Enable Boosted Memory or Learning

tDCS (trans direct-current stimulation) has been shown to increase memory and learning. DARPA added tDCS electrodes to the brains of novice military snipers and increased their learning ability by 230%.

Defense Advancement Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has an $80 million project to improve memory. This is to help injured soldiers who have memory problems.

Elon Musk’s Brain-Computer-Interface Company could begin implanting high-density brain sensors into people starting next year.

Neuralink believes the key to high fidelity brain interfaces is to precisely reading the electrical spiking of the brain.

They call this roughly ten thousand probe sensors as the N1 system. Clearly the N2 system would be at least 10 times or 100 times higher in channel count. They want to reach the entire motor cortex and decode all signals. The current system would maximally scale to a few million probes and connections but they will have to get much smaller for billions of connections and sensors.

Neuralink wants to implant the system into a human by the end of 2020. Elon Musk described a 2-millimeter keyhole incision that would be created to implant the devices in under one hour. The hole would be glued shut with surgical glue. The needle of the surgery robot currently has a 24-micron needle.

SOURCES – Neuralink, DARPA, Sankei
Written By Brian Wang,

23 thoughts on “Common Problems in a Memory and Intelligence Amplified Future”

  1. Impact is, of course, huge. Remembering credit cards is just the tip of the iceberg.

    How about people recording what they see in places like locker rooms and sharing it? Going to make bionic eyes illegal? I can imagine the high school crowd doing it just to shame and bully people they don’t like. Or otherwise harmless people doing it to amuse their significant other. Once stuff is recorded and in “the cloud” it’s never going away completely.

    Casinos will be shutting down a lot of their games other than slot machines when everyone can card count, or instantly compute probabilities in other games, as easily as they can form the thought to do so.

    Schools and education would have to change radically. More than ever the emphasis would need to be on what students can do with information, not storing it away. That seems like a good thing until you think about how slowly a lot of schools are going to react. I recall my high school algebra teacher refusing to let us using our calculators in class because: “It’s not like you all are going to go through life with calculators in your pockets.” Hello, smart phone . . . no one can leave home without one these days.

    It affects everything and for every negative there is probably a positive. It just comes down to how we deal with it. And the folks that don’t deal with it at all will be left out of mainstream humanity.

  2. Bypassing “judgment” is basically what advertising does. By trying to trigger the reward systems, it systematically alters perception and behavior through repeated training. The difference between an implant and the current method may only be the way the input signals enter the brain. Ads go through our natural senses and the implant bypasses the outer sensors that convert sound and light into signals.
    We are probably just simulations anyway so I’m not sure any of this matters.

  3. In addition, ordinary advertising is obvious enough that everyone can see it happening, and will step in to take their cut of the pie.

    If say Apple discovered advertising and nobody else knew about it or understood what was happening, then

    1. Newspapers and TV stations would be happy to let Apple give them “free content” and not charge them money to display it.
    2. Nobody else would bother with any competing ads.
    3. Even if there was a cost to some ads, that cost would be very low because of the Apple monopsony.
    4. Apple would have millions of brainwashed zombies spending ridiculous amounts for perfectly ordinary products. I mean even more than currently.

    But in reality everyone understands advertising so Apple has huge costs associated with it.

    If you have your direct-to-brain ad campaign that nobody else knows about, you’d have all the above advantages even if it was no more effective than normal ads.

  4. True, and I suppose that if the implant is given to someone who is in some way “unwell”, it isn’t really surprising if they use their newfound wellness to drive sports cars or climb mountains.

  5. I would worry that it is going to be impossible, or at least too difficult, to

    • stop the sort of thinking that leads to “what if the world is really not a sphere, the way all the experts say”
    • DOESN’T stop the sort of thinking that leads to “what if the world is really not the centre of the universe, the way all the experts say?”
    • even more troublesome: “what if the world is really not the 40 000km in circumference, the way all the experts say? Then you can reach China by sailing west! I wonder if Queen Isabella wants to finance my expedition?”
  6. That’s why I went with risk taking being encouraged.

    If traffic accidents went up a lot, then yes there are people who would look at that.

    But if traffic accidents go up a bit. And drug overdoses go up a bit. And bar fights go up a bit. And rock climbing tragedies go up a bit. And people eating deep fried sugar until they have a heart attack goes up a bit…

    It gets very hard to nail anything down. Or to get anyone to take it seriously if you do.

    We already have a list of things that move the needle on “overall mortality” for reasons that are too much trouble for people to do the work to nail down exactly why.

    Being married, regular religious participation, a whole list of various drugs, seemingly random foods, being left-handed.

  7. The difference is that a neural implant might allow somebody to bypass your judgment and just directly alter your preferences. Whereas ordinary advertising you can evaluate and reject.

  8. You mean advertising and propaganda?
    What’s really the difference between different, unwanted methods of training our neural networks?
    Perhaps there is a workaround. The implants may provide us with backup and fault tolerance. If anything in the brain is re-programmable, then the implant can help protecting certain networks from manipulation. Perhaps we can select which views and opinions we want protected. Like a spam filter that makes us immune to selected influence.

    The ultimate question is really if our minds and self awareness are anything more than complex neural networks. If not, there is no obvious reason the evolution will favor us over the coming artificial systems.

  9. “Scale” just means you can excute it against multiple people easily.

    I’d be more concerned about more subtle attacks, like changing somebody’s political views for pay.

  10. Good scenario, but there is a profession that specializes in finding common factors behind inexplicable increases in particular cause of death. Epidemiologists would be on the cause of the suddenly statistically charitable, statistically risk-taking population, and they would notice that they all have the same model of brain implant. Considering these implants would be regulated as medical devices, the patients would be an automatically scrutinized group.

    Still… if Raj isn’t too greedy, and makes sure that a random seed skips implementing the protocol for the vast majority of recipients, he might get away with it. That still sort of automatically means that the exploit doesn’t “scale” though.

  11. What would convince the financial institutions that the security is insufficient? It would be once people start taking advantage of the holes in sufficient numbers for the losses to be greater than the cost of fixing the holes.

    Say what you like about banks, but they do tend to keep a firm grasp on their profit margins.

    They are however, large bureaucratic organisations, so their response time isn’t THAT good. Like a velociraptor taking a bite out of a brontosaurus’ tail; there can be a few bites in between the predator starting to hurt and the nervous impulses making it all the way to their brains and the resulting response coming back. But when it comes back it’ll be something big, and powerful, and very dangerous to be in the way of.

  12. Nah, people would notice if the suicide rate doubles and 50% of the people had left all their money to the same guy, overseas, who nobody has heard of.

    So: Some of your money is donated to a charity, that happens to be run out of an office that is in an overseas country, so it’s difficult to work out that there is only one person in the office, who is the wife of a computer programmer.

    They weren’t programmed to donate it. They were just filled with super positive feelings whenever they heard the name of the charity, which advertised to them via direct email.

    But not everyone did the donation thing. But they all got the positive feelings.

    • “Hey, she left $50k to the Raji Charitable Fund, have you ever heard of them?”
    • “Yes, I’ve read their emails. They seem fantastic. I’m not sure why but I get a great feeling about them.”
    • “Well then, that was nice of her to donate so much to such a good cause. Pity she was driving so fast.”

    And these people didn’t commit suicide (which would be super difficult to program). Instead they just get a big shot of adrenaline and pleasure whenever they take risks. That will crank the death rate way up while looking like a series of completely unrelated deaths.

  13. Do you think this process could eliminate some of the persecution conspiracy traits in wackos that hold civilization back? You know the what if guys. Example – What if the world is really flat and we have been lied to all this time just so some rich guy could sell more pogo sticks.

  14. Sure it does, unless you posit that the Raji from Bangalore was hired to write a totally custom driver for just your particular implant. No, he’s writing a driver for all implants of your model, and that’s how HIS exploit scales.

  15. Neither can the first one as people might notice. And really the first example misses a easier idea-simply make you believe in his religion that he runs via changing your brain function.

  16. And where is the draw back? Any stimulant has a draw back to the body, even Coffee. Best in the long run is to nurture your body and spirit naturally and use it in the best manner possible.

  17. “”some Raji from Bangalore” shouldn’t even pass the security checks.”

    “Some programmer in Beijing” shouldn’t have passed the OPM’s security checks, either. China is pretty good at buying security breaches these days.

    My concern about computer-brain interfaces is that violating customer privacy isn’t a mistake or accident today, it’s a business plan. Keeping the manufacturer of your neural link from planting some kind of hidden back door isn’t going to be easy. You know they’re going to want to route some key functionality through a remote server, or reserve the capacity to push out firmware updates, or sneak in a “diagnostic mode” accessible by you seeing a specific QR code.

  18. These and similar examples are why I think any BCI code needs to be fully published to the public. More eyes on the code to find security and other problems.

    And of course, it should be written to a very high security standard. The hardware would be subject to strict medical standards, so there’s no reason the software wouldn’t be subject to very strict standards as well. “some Raji from Bangalore” shouldn’t even pass the security checks.

    (I was initially going to suggest the code should be open source, but that poses some difficulties with the security background checks of contributors, and with enforcement of coding and security standards. Edit: Then again, Linux is open-source, and so far is more secure than certain closed-source OS(es?), for the most part. So it’s not impossible.)

  19. I had a “photographic” memory as a child, it finally faded halfway through college. Too bad, it was really handy. I think in practice it really had more to do with recall than storage; People with “photographic” memories have the trick of accessing a memory without ‘contaminating’ it with crosstalk from related memories. Eventually, though, you’ve got so many related memories that becomes infeasible. At least that’s my theory, looking at it from the inside.

    You don’t need brain implants for this to be a problem, there are sunglasses with built in cameras that could pull it off.

    The problem here is that the financial system has been designed on the assumption that obvious security holes are acceptable, because they won’t be exploited often enough to be a real problem. The financial institutions need to be somehow convinced to take security more seriously.

    I mean, I’ve got a chipped card that requires a PIN. Well, it SHOULD require a pin, but the bank is allowing vendors to complete ever larger transactions without the PIN being entered. Really pisses me off, what’s the point of a PIN if they’ll run the transaction without it?

    It’s a lack of interest in making the transactions really secure.

  20. Lets say some hillbilly jim from Kentucky who was hired to babysit the kids for $7:50/hr, while potted up on meth, decided to “help” you commit suicide and leave a suicide note leaving him your life savings for being a good friend.

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