Future of BMI Is Connecting the Brain to the Internet
Brain-machine interfaces (BMI) is being developed to connect people's brains to the internet in order to make the metaverse more immersive. We think that the fusion of the brain and the internet will come about in the following four stages.
The first stage will be internet searches and chatting via brain waves. While it involves an invasive method, the technology for producing sentences from brain waves is improving, and we think that commercialization of this technology is not far off.
The second stage will be producing artificial sensory perception by stimulating specific parts of the brain to reproduce the sense of taste, smell, and touch. The technologies for reproducing vision can be applied to artificial eyes for the visually impaired. At present, invasive devices can be used to send dot patterns slightly more complex than braille to the brain as images. We think it is possible that in the future visually impaired people will be able to see again by playing back high-resolution color images in the brain.
The third stage will involve reading and writing memories. We think that this would be possible if advances in brain science can unravel the mechanisms involved in memory, and brain waves can be linked to the contents of memory using AI. Such a development would enable people to take in and store the information that they need directly from the internet, and share their own knowledge and experiences over the internet.
The fourth stage will be uploading and reproducing personalities. It is still not understood how human consciousness comes to be, but there have been moves in the IT industry to use the integrated information theory proposed by US neuroscientist Giulio Tononi to quantitatively measure and explain consciousness. Research is also being conducted on creating an artificial replica of the personality of a deceased person, for instance by analyzing the writing of the deceased person using AI. Advances in AI and brain science could open the door to people being able to upload the contents of their brains, including their memories and personalities, to the internet.
Summary from Nomura report “The metaverse and the SPE industry (5): Future of brain-machine interface is connecting the brain to the internet” (April 2022)