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    September 18, 2017

    Wits researchers succeed in connecting the human mind to the Internet

    WITS researchers ai human mind

    A team of researchers from Wits University has succeeded in connecting a human brain to the internet by way of a Raspberry Pi computer.

    Though artificial intelligence has become a major buzzword and topic of discussion in recent years, there’s still a ways to go in bridging the divide between a human mind and hardware or software – though a new announcement from a team of researchers at Wits University could herald the beginning of a closer form of connection to the internet.

    A team of neuroscientists and researchers at the university have succeeded in using an electroencephalogram (EEG) to detect and transmit signals from the human brain to a Raspberry Pi computer. The Raspberry Pi is then capable of streaming that information to a website, where it will be publicly available.

    Read: An artificial intelligence is attempting to write the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire

    Thus, Brainternet – as the outcome of the project has been called – essentially turns the human mind into an Internet of Things node, where electrical activity can be measured and converted into data.

    The advent marks the first time that researchers have been able to monitor someone’s neural activity and transmit that information to the internet – cementing what could be the first rudimentary (and very direct) form of access a human mind has had to the world wide web with measurable outcomes.

    While the project is fascinating in principle, it has implications that span well into the next century of development of both artificial intelligence and deep learning systems. Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer at Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering, cited that “…ultimately, we’re aiming to enable interactivity between the user and their brain so that the user can provide a stimulus and see the response”.

    The news means that recordings gleaned through the system might one day help refine artificial intelligence through providing much-needed data for a machine learning algorithm, and might – in the far-flung future – enable a direct input for information to reach the brain from either hardware or software.

    Read: Mark Zuckerberg unveils Jarvis; his own, self-built artificial intelligence

    What are your thoughts? How could ‘Brainternet’ shape our daily lives in the future? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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